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Will You Be Driving Twice As Far In 21 Years?

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on the impact of transportation on climate change. At that hearing, the first witness to testify was Michael Replogle, the policy director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Replogle offered some testimony that was, for me, alarming. He spoke about the way that increases in the amount that we travel have overwhelmed the benefits from increases in fuel efficiency. Replogle reported,

“Between 1977 and 2001, the U.S. population increased by 30 percent; driving rates, measured in vehicle?miles traveled (VMT), grew by 151 percent. In this same time period, average trip lengths, trips per capita, and the proportion of drivers travelling alone all increased to varying degrees. Freight trucking has seen a similar increase, with truck ton?miles growing by 56 percent between 1993 and 2002. Driven by these trends, the growth of national VMT is projected to continue increasing into the foreseeable future, doubling nationwide by 2030, barring changes in policy.”

Is it part of your vision for your future? Do you dream of driving in the car twice as much as you do today?

If not, what kind of changes are you willing to make in your life to ensure that you won’t be doubling your driving time in 21 years? What kind of changes would you support in your community to see that your neighbors won’t suffer

2 comments to Will You Be Driving Twice As Far In 21 Years?

  • Tom

    i’d like to see more community based co-op goods and services and a garden in every backyard (even if it’s just a collection of pots) – walkable distances (ok, bike too).
    i’m hoping we don’t devolve into armed camps killing each other off for remaining resources.

  • Mark

    Did you notice the time periods cited (ending in 2001 or 2002)? A lot has changed since then and I doubt that the trends cited have continued. Trucking miles may continue to increase as our population grows and needs more goods, but I don’t think that personal miles will continue to grow at the same rate. As gasoline prices increase miles driven will decrease. We’re seeing the end of cheap and readily available oil. If carbon taxes are initiated and a higher national gasoline tax is enacted we will see dramatic cuts in miles driven because alternatives to the family car will be much more economical.

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