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We’re driving again

For a number of years now, urbanists – including myself – have been thinking about “peak car.” And that’s because if you looked at vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the United States since about 2007, the trend line was more or less flat. 

This had us wondering whether or it was simply an outcome of the recession or some sort of broader shift.

Well, if you look at the December 2015 numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation, VMTs are once again growing. In fact, it’s now above the 2007 “peak.” Compared to December 2014, travel on all roads and streets in December 2015 was up by 4.2% or 10.6 billion vehicle miles traveled. 

Here’s the chart:

A lot of this could be because of lower gas prices. But I would be curious to hear your thoughts in the comments about whether or not you think 2007 to 2014 was (1) a recessionary blip or (2) a longer term trend in the making.

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