Quantcast

Americans in Biggest Cities Driving Less

Business

Even if you saw agitating, bumper-to-bumper traffic during your morning commute, know that the numbers say things are changing.

The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004, according to a report issued today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (PIRG). The study is a review of data from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Census Bureau on the nation's 100 most populated, urbanized areas, which are home to more than half of the U.S. population.

From 2006 to 2011, the average number of miles driven per resident fell in almost three-quarters of the country’s largest city's, according to the report.

Graphic credit: U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund

“There is a shift away from driving,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst for the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “The cities in this report are home to most of America’s population and are engines of the economy.

 

"Policy leaders need to wake up and realize the driving boom is over. Instead of expanding new highways, our government leaders should focus on investing in public transit and biking for the future.”

 

Here are some standout facts from the report:

  • The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of the most populated areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period averaged in U.S. Census data.

Table credit: U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund

  • The proportion of households without cars increased in 84 out of the 100 largest urbanized areas from 2006 to 2011. The proportion of households with two cars or more cars decreased in 86 out of the 100 of these areas during that period.

  • The proportion of residents bicycling to work increased in 85 out of 100 of America’s largest urbanized areas between 2000 and 2007-2011.

  • The number of passenger-miles traveled per capita on transit increased in 60 out of 98 of America’s large urbanized areas whose trends could be analyzed between 2005 and 2010. 

The study also found that cities with the largest decreases in driving weren't the same ones hit hardest by the recession. Instead, their economies appear to be the least affected by the recession according to unemployment, income and poverty indicators. PIRG hopes policymakers examine these figures when considering transportation investments of the future.

 

“Government should support transportation initiatives that reflect these travel trends,” said Baxandall. “Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars continuing to enlarge our grandfather’s Interstate Highway System, we should invest in the kinds of transportation options that the public increasingly favors.”

Visit EcoWatch’s TRANSPORTATION page for more related news on this topic.

  

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less

Mitshu / E+ / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism is a way of living that tries to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty.

Read More Show Less

6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A federal judge ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration must begin implementing regulations for the many types of e-cigarettes now on the market in the U.S.

Read More Show Less