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Avoiding driving

If you’ve been reading Architect This City since last winter, you might know that every year I go on one big snowboard trip with a group of guys I went to grad school with at Penn. Last year we went to Jackson Hole and Vail, and this year the plan is to go to Banff and Revelstoke.

We start planning it by the fall and so already we’ve been trying to sort out the details for this winter’s trip. But as we finalize the plans, one thing I’ve noticed is how I’ve automatically been trying to minimize the amount of driving that we’ll need to do. In fact, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to rent a car at all.

Now, small mountain towns aren’t usually the best for public transit, but there are often ways to get around that. When we were in Jackson, we took the public bus to get to the mountain every day, as did most people who lived or stayed in town.

This winter, the plan is to fly into Calgary and stay in Banff for the first leg of the trip. So I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s a train that can get us from Calgary to Banff and which hotels offer shuttle buses to the mountains. Because I’d rather not drive, and I know many of my friends feel the same way. It’s an added cost and it gets in the way of après ski.

What’s interesting about this, is that not only do I try and minimize the amount of driving I do here in Toronto, but I do it when I travel as well. And if you’ve been following the macro trends, you might know that many other people feel the same way. That’s why total Vehicle Miles Traveled in the US has been in falling since about the mid-2000s:

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People are falling out of love with driving, and many believe that this shift is permanent. Here’s a recent report from the US PIRG Education Fund talking about just that:

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I also think this shift is permanent – until maybe the nature of driving changes and cars start driving themselves. But at that point, it won’t be called driving anymore and there will probably be many other changes. So on this rainy Wednesday morning, my big bold prediction is that future generations will no longer drive.

What do you think?

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