Why are we driving less?

Brad Plumer of The Washington Post investigates why the number of miles being driven on our roads keeps dropping so dramatically.  In this article he attributes the change to rising gas prices, aging baby boomers, and the tendency of younger Americans to drive less.

Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent.

Miles driven vs gas pricesHe adds that “public transportation use is up 40 percent per capita in this age group since 2001. Bicycling is up 24 percent overall in that time period. And this is true even for young Americans who are financially well off.”

He lists five factors that contribute to this phenomenon:

  • The cost of driving has gone up.
  • The recession.
  • It’s harder to get a license.
  • More younger people are living in transit-oriented areas.
  • Technology is making it easier to go car-free.

If we want to attract and keep young workers in our state, we should be paying attention to these trends, or we’ll find ourselves with a stagnating economy unable to meet the needs of a greying population.

Come discuss this and other transportation issues at a regional listening session near you April 30 through May 16.  Click here to register.

What if you couldn’t drive?

Concerns about Public Transportation in New Hampshire:Transit_7

  • 19% of New Hampshire residents are concerned about losing their ability to drive in the next few years.
  • 53% of New Hampshire adults would find getting things in the community difficult if they needed to use crutches or a wheelchair for at least 4 weeks.
  • No public transportation system exists for more than 80% of New Hampshire’s communities.

Data Source: Feb. 2006 Granite State Poll

From the Institute on Disability at UNH

Public Transportation Increases Real Estate Values and Development

I recently came across a brochure from the American Public Transportation Association and was fascinated to read the following:

Residents and community leaders across the nation are recognizing that high-capacity, regional public transportation services are essential to grow America’s communities in a way that enhances and promotes real estate development. In addition, communities that invest in public transportation attract more visitors and shoppers, public events, commercial businesses, and employers, realizing enhanced development and high economic returns. Continue reading