Are We Reaching Peak Driving?


There have been a series of articles addressing an emerging trend in personal transportation. In transportation planning, it has always been assumed that the demand for vehicles and road space would continue to grow, but research seems to show that personal vehicle travel (as measured in vehicle miles traveled) is either growing at a decreasing rate or even stabilizing. Have we reached peak driving?

As for reasons for why this might be happening, The New Republic writes, “Researchers think there’s quite a few reasons–slowing demographic shifts, like women entering the workforce; rising levels of ecommerce; sustained jumps in real gas prices–but another alternative is that younger generations simply aren’t driving as much as their forbearers. Is that just a change in the economic climate, or does the upcoming generation really value driving less? We’ll have to wait and see if they sustain these attitudes as more enter the workforce.”

This last point also supports Zipcars findings, which we posted on earlier this month:

Of course, we’d like to think it also means that people are adopting a more flexible approach to getting around, and choosing the best,  most convenient means to get where they need to go depending on the situation. Be it bike, walk, bus…or drive.