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Vehicle miles traveled is decreasing

A brief report of October 1, 2012 by the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) entitled “Have we hit Peak Car? What VMT data tell us”, shows a recent graph by Doug Short (see at the right). The author states: “Nationwide, the decline in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is well documented, as is the decline in automobile ownership.” Click here to read the full report.

Note that the report contains a link to a longer article that recently appeared in The Economist, which notes that the decrease in VMT is worldwide. Also, an increasing number of younger people, particularly those in urban areas, are opting not to purchase cars.

What does all this mean? Perhaps we should be planning for fewer cars, not more.

Below are additional charts displaying the decline of VMT.

Additional charts

The first chart on the right (or below) shows the decrease in VMT for Santa Cruz County, from 1990 to 2009.

Below that is another chart from Doug Short's web page, showing that the decrease in VMT is not correlated with gas prices.