Since 1991, the Washington State DOT has been working with employers to reduce the number of people driving to work alone through the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program. The program has had a significant effect on congestion and the rate of solo commuting among employees at large companies in the state, as highlighted in a recent CityLab article.
Last year, after nearly a decade of declining automobile use, several key agencies revised their forecasts of future travel demand. FHWA’s annual Conditions & Performance report to Congress has grossly overestimated future growth in vehicle travel demand since as early as 1999. However, in its 2013 report released last February, FHWA included a low-end scenario in which the annual growth rate was reduced. Then in May the agency released a separate report containing even lower predicted annual growth rates.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows fewer commuters carpooled to work in 2013 compared to 2012. Rather than signifying the beginning of a shift away from sustainable transportation, carpooling may just be ceding ground to biking, walking, transit, and telecommuting.