Urban Fold

Has VMT Peaked?

A new study in 8 countries says yes, contrary to government predictions.

From the report's abstract, authored by Adam Millard-Ball and Lee Schipper:

"Through decomposing passenger transport energy use into activity, modal structure and modal energy intensity, we show that increases in total activity (passenger travel) have been the driving force behind increased energy use, offset somewhat by declining energy intensity. We show that total activity growth has halted relative to GDP in recent years in the eight countries examined. If these trends continue, it is possible that an accelerated decline in the energy intensity of car travel; stagnation in total travel per capita; some shifts back to rail and bus modes; and at least somewhat less carbon per unit of energy could leave the absolute levels of emissions in 2020 or 2030 lower than today."

Melinda Burns at Miller-McCune writes:

"Most of the eight countries in the study have experienced declines in miles traveled by car per capita in recent years. The U.S. appears to have peaked at an annual 8,100 miles by car per capita, and Japan is holding steady at 2,500 miles."

Full Story: A Road Less Traveled



It may be to early to tell

VMT is affected by economic cycles, often declining in recessions. I'd wait until the economy recovers before making any pronouncements.

Irvin Dawid's picture

Apparently Not - at least not in U.S. (Has VMT peaked?)

TRB report: Traffic Volume Trends: October 2010
"According to the report, travel on all roads and streets increased by 1.9 percent (.49 billion vehicle miles) in October 2010 as compared with October 2009...."
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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