Tolling strategies may mitigate the impact of AVs on VMT and congestion

The anticipated shift to autonomous vehicles raises several concerns, among them are whether AVs will increase total vehicle miles traveled, exacerbate congestion, or replace the use of transit and active modes. A new study focused on Austin, TX, models the effects that two adoption scenarios may have, comparing the results to current conditions. The experiment shows a jump in VMT, increased congestion, and a shift away from public transportation. The authors then mitigate the scenarios by applying four tolling schemes, and examine the results.

Is working from home really reducing VMT?

With advancement in technology and telecommunications, teleworking is becoming easier for a variety of professionals. Cities and administrations support these initiatives with the understanding and hope that they’ll reduce congestion and total vehicle miles traveled. But do they really reduce VMT? A recent study disputes the assumptions and finds that for most households, teleworking has a positive relation with VMT.

Study finds improving bike, pedestrian infrastructure cuts driving, CO2 emissions

In an attempt to meet CO2 reduction targets, both mandatory and self-administered, cities worldwide are attempting to overhaul their transport infrastructure to limit private vehicle use and encourage more active forms of travel (i.e., walking and biking). While the common assumption among planners is that greater rates walking and biking will lead to subsequent decreases in driving, there is in fact very limited evidence to suggest that this is the case. A new study from New Zealand, however, may shed light on the matter.

Back to the new normal? Post-recession VMT uptick wanes

In the second half of the 20th century it was pretty easy to predict how much driving Americans would do. Vehicle-miles traveled rose steadily year-by-year, with only temporary blips around fuel shortages or recessions. In the 21st century, the pattern has been much harder to discern. The growth of VMT first slowed, then actually went into reverse during the recession. After the recovery took hold, VMT growth spiked to 20th century levels. And now, with FHWA’s VMT totals available through the first half of 2018, it appears the post-recession spike is over, and VMT is returning to a slow-growth pattern.

Travel time peaked in the 1990s, new research shows

Americans spent more than 10 hours per week traveling in the early 1990s—the highest amount in two decades—but that number has since dropped below 1975 levels to less than 8.5 hours, according to a new study published in Transportation Research Part A. The resulting travel time peak, mirrors a similar peak in average vehicle miles traveled that occurred roughly a decade later. This earlier peak, however, suggests that important shifts in travel behavior were already underway well before the recession took hold around 2007.

Estimating the amount people drive based on accessibility measures

How does the built environment influence the amount people drive? Research by SSTI’s Logan Dredske worked to answer this very question. The focus of his research was to create a framework for estimating vehicle miles traveled based on conditions of the built environment. His goal was to use measures of accessibility as the principal proxy for the built environment. The research also converted vehicle miles traveled into greenhouse gas emissions and evaluated the ability of transportation projects to reduce emissions.

To reach clean energy goals, Hawaii needs to address VMT

Ten years ago, the State of Hawaii set an ambitious goal to reduce their dependence on imported oil and create a clean energy future by 2045. The Elemental Excelerator commissioned Rhodium Group and Smart Growth America to analyze specifically what it will take for Hawaii to reach that goal. The report on that analysis—Transcending Oil: Hawaii’s Path to a Clean Energy Economy—was released on Earth Day and explains that transitioning Hawaii off of oil will pay many benefits.

Millennials are driving more, but only those making the least money

The new 2017 National Household Travel Survey gives us our first look at changing travel habits since the recession. From what we can tell, the average American drives less in 2017 than eight years earlier. Driving also seems to have increased considerably among Millennials—but mostly among those with the lowest incomes—bucking expectations. The results may indicate that those with higher incomes are now choosing to live where they need to drive less.

Does telecommuting increase vehicle miles traveled?

Recent research looks at the impact telecommuting has on vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The research used the 2009 National Household Travel Survey to compare daily VMT for those who frequently telecommute to those who do not telecommute or only telecommute occasionally. Results indicated that more telecommuting was associated with higher levels of annual VMT. However, increased driving can be avoided with housing close to jobs, improved transit options, and support for transit-oriented developments.