Transportation

Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Moving Off the Road

After sixty years of almost constant increases in the annual number of miles Americans drive, since 2004 Americans have decreased their driving per-capita for eight years in a row. Driving miles per person are down especially sharply among Millennials, America’s largest generation that will increasingly dominate national transportation trends. But some skeptics have suggested that the apparent end of the Driving Boom might be just a temporary hiccup in the trend toward more driving for Americans. By the time Americans took notice of the decline in driving, the economy was in deep recession. Would economic growth bring back rapid increases in driving? Doubts about whether the Driving Boom has ended make it easier to postpone choices about transforming our transportation system or enacting reforms that disrupt well-established interest groups.

 

This report for the first time presents government data on state-by-state driving trends. It analyzes which states drive more miles per-person, which states have reduced their driving the most since the end of the national Driving Boom, and how state changes in driving behavior correspond to other changes such as growing unemployment or urbanization.

Forty-six states plus the District of Columbia witnessed a reduction in the average number of driving miles per person since the end of the national Driving Boom. North Dakota, Nevada, Louisiana and Alabama are the only states in the nation where driving miles per capita in 2011 were above their 2004 or 2005 peaks. Meanwhile, since 2005, double-digit percent reductions occurred in a diverse collection of states: Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, Georgia, Wyoming, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Florida.

The fifty states plus the District of Columbia offer a useful natural experiment to examine different factors behind America’s reduction in driving since 2004. Examining the commonalities and differences in driving trends among states can provide insight into the potential causes behind the downturn in driving and the direction of future trends.

 

This study finds that declining rates of driving do not correspond with how badly states suffered economically in recent years. On the contrary:

• Among the 23 states in which driving miles per person declined faster than the national average, only six saw unemployment increase faster than the nation as a whole.

• Among the 10 states with the largest declines in driving per person, only two rank among the ten with largest increases in unemployment.

• Among the 23 states where driving declined faster than the national average, only 11 saw faster-than-average declines in the employed share of their working-age population.

• Among the 10 states with the greatest reductions in the employed share of population, only two were also among the ten states with the largest reductions of driving (Georgia and the District of Columbia).

 

The evidence suggests that the nation’s per capita decline in driving cannot be dismissed as a temporary side effect of the recession. While certainly a contributing factor and an economic rebound could be expected to have some upward lift on driving, the recession does not appear to be the prime cause of the fall off in driving over the past eight years. Nor is it clear that future economic growth would lead to a resumption of the postwar Driving Boom. Policy makers can stop wondering whether American driving trends are changing. They should focus carefully on these trends, and start adapting policies to match them.

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

COLUMBUS ­­—As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the Ohio PIRG Education Fund finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”

Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom – a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States – is over.

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

OHIOANS RELIEVED BY DECISION NOT TO PRIVATE TURNPIKE

 

COLUMBUS –With the recent decision by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission to support Governor Kasich’s plan for the Turnpike, consumer watchdog organization Ohio Public Interest Research Group (Ohio PIRG) joins others around the state in breathing a collective sigh of relief that privatization is officially off the table.

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

OHIO PIRG STATEMENT ON KASICH’S TURNPIKE DECISION

Ohio Turnpike is one of Ohio’s most valuable public assets, built by the people and for the people.  We are glad that Governor Kasich intends to retain public control and make use of the public's lower capital costs. This is a wiser, more sensible option than privatization.

Media Hit | Transportation

Possible lease of Ohio Turnpike raises questions for taxpayers, consumer group says

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A statewide consumer group questions whether a possible lease of the Ohio Turnpike is a good deal for taxpayers.

Media Hit | Transportation

Advocacy Group Warns Against Turnpike Privatization

An Ohio advocacy group is asking whether privatization of the Ohio Turnpike is the best option for taxpayers, warning that it could end up costing travelers and the state too much money.

Media Hit | Transportation

Future of Ohio Turnpike Troubles Consumer Group

A consumer-advocacy group concerned about the potential privatization of the Ohio Turnpike wants Gov. John Kasich’s administration to answer a series of questions before making such a decision.

Media Hit | Transportation

State Weighs Options with Turnpike Lease Deal

As the state nears the end of a study into how it can wring billions out of the Ohio Turnpike, a consumer advocacy group Thursday questioned whether such a deal makes sense and how it might be structured.

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

As Ohio Awaits Study of Turnpike Future, Consumer Group Outlines Need for Answers

With the state-commissioned KPMG report on the Ohio Turnpike due any day, a new report by consumer watchdog organization Ohio Public Interest Research Group (Ohio PIRG) released today confirms that privatizing would not create new value but would merely borrow against future toll revenue.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Transportation

Support Us

Your tax-deductible donation supports Ohio PIRG Education Fund's work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, and to stand up to the powerful interests that are blocking progress.

Learn More

You can also support Ohio PIRG Education Fund’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations.