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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Joanna (at) marylandpirg.org
Report Shows Baltimorians Driving Less, Using Transit and Alternatives More
Rise in Public Transit Miles Follow National Trend
Baltimore – A first-of-its-kind report by Maryland PIRG Foundation shows reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in Maryland’s urbanized areas—including Baltimore —and greater use of public transit and biking
“There is a shift away from driving in our cities here in Maryland and across the country,” said Joana Guy, Program Associate for the Maryland PIRG Foundation. “Policy makers need to wake up and realize the driving boom is over. Based on these national and local trends, we should be investing in public transit and biking for the future.”
The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available government data. It is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America’s largest cities. Among its findings:
· The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period.
· In Baltimore, there was a 1.8 percent decrease in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) per capita from 2006 to 2011. Washington D.C. saw a 4.9 percent decrease in the same measurement.
· The number of passenger miles travelled on transit per capita increased 12.1 percent in Baltimore between 2005 and 2010. In Washington D.C., transit passenger miles per person increased by 7 percent.
· The proportion of commuters travelling by bicycle grew in Baltimore, as it did in 85 of the most populous 100 urbanized areas between 2000 and 2010.
· The proportion of residents working out of their home increased in all 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and 2010, including in Baltimore and Washington D.C. which saw .5 and .7 percent increases, respectively.
The study found that cities with the largest decreases in driving were not those hit hardest by the recession. On the contrary, the economies of urbanized areas with the largest declines in driving appear to have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment, income and poverty indicators.
“It’s time for politicians in Annapolis to support transportation initiatives that reflect these travel trends,” said Guy. “Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars continuing to enlarge our grandfather’s Interstate Highway System, we should be investing in the kinds of transportation options that the public increasingly favors.”
Across the nation, young people have shown the steepest reductions in driving. Americans 16 to 34 years of age reduced their average driving miles by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.
Download the report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities” here.
To read an earlier Maryland PIRG Foundation report on the implications of the national decline in driving, download, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future” download here.
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