Sweden and Virginia: Messaging and variable tolls can influence mode choice

Two recent studies demonstrate two approaches to reducing driving. A Swedish study looked at what types of messages influence the choice to drive, while a report from Virginia shows that tolls on the I-66 corridor outside Washington have made a difference in both mode choice and when drivers travel.

Netflix-of-transportation app guiding users toward sustainable mode choices

The Whim app, launched a year ago in Helsinki, partners with local public and private transportation providers, bundling transit and taxi fares, bikeshare trips, and other mobility services into a monthly subscription, with tickets based on the regional mode choice and travel behavior. A recent analysis of the data shows that this Mobility as a Service app allows residents to use the existing system more efficiently and improve their choices for each trip.

California travel surveys show big shift away from driving

Last year the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) released the findings from its decennial household travel survey. The 2012 survey shows that the average California household made about 25 percent fewer trips by automobile than it did in 2001, and 65 to 75 percent more trips by walking, biking, and public transit. Those changes mean the shares of the three non-auto modes doubled. While the new survey better accounted for non-auto trips that may contribute to the increase in those modes, the major factor in the mode shift seems to be a decline in driving, a mode that was measured with GPS in both surveys.

Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset (APTA, 2013)

Recent news reports and studies have outlined changes in how Millenials travel and live. These have focused on the implications for all transportation modes as well as land use and economic activity. This APTA/TCRP report seeks to further understand the mindsets behind the trends and understand their implications for public transportation in the United States. This study utilizes a mixture of in-depth interviews in five cities and a survey of 1,000 people in six cities that are representative of the types of cities Millennials find attractive.

Time Pollution (John Whitelegg, 1993)

In his 1993 essay, originally published in Resurgence & Ecologist, the author tries to explain why the more people try to save time, the less time they seem to have. This is true of transportation as well, and he uses travel time as an example of this phenomenon. Regardless of what mode people chose, they tend to average the same amount of time traveling. He also points out that there is a fundamental difference between speed and access. This is an interesting read when considering performance metrics for transportation systems.