Economist Joe Cortright doesn't seem to think so. According to his findings, Americans are driving less, with Millennials leading the way, and this unprecedented trend is here to stay.
Though Americans have been driving less since 2005, predating the Great Recession, "the question of whether the decline in driving marked a sea change in the way we get around or simply reflected a drop in economic activity has been a matter of considerable debate," reports Stephen Miller.
According to findings presented recently by Cortright, that question may now be settled. When charting federal data on vehicles miles traveled (VMT) before and after the last 5 recessions, Cortright finds that the patterns following the most recent recession were exceptional. "In four of the five recessions, driving was either increasing or stagnant in the two years before the economic slowdown, and it quickly picked up steam during the recovery," reports Miller. "The only exception was the most recent recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Before the recession, driving per person was dropping. After the recession, driving continued to fall."
Cortright's findings indicate that, "economic and cultural changes are leading to less driving."
"Many people who might otherwise live in the suburbs are choosing instead to live in places where they can get around by walking, biking, and taking transit," writes Miller. These trends are also corroborated by private data, which shows that "congestion in U.S. metropolitan areas has been dropping as well," adds Miller.
Planning for Congestion Relief
The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.
Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think
Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.
New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives
The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.
Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport
Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.
Strip Malls as a Housing Solution
The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?
Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’
A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.