The SF Examiner posted a story the other day citing a new study that indicates that people are driving less. This may come as a surprise to anyone that ever sits in traffic that tops out at a slow crawl, but there it is. From the Sf Examiner:
The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Transportation in Transition report.
San Francisco and Oakland ranked third among urban areas in the nation in biking to work, with a 0.6 percent increase, and fifth in proportion of workers who commuted by car from 2000 to 2007-11, with a 3.9 percent decrease. The two cities ranked 18th with an 8.3 percent drop in vehicle miles traveled per capita from 2006 to 2011, and 55th with a 1.6 percent increase in passenger miles traveled by transit per capita from 2005 to 2011.
While Bay Area households with no vehicles increased 1 percent, there was a 0.8 percent decrease in households with two or more vehicles from 2006 to 2011.
According to the PIRG website, what these national numbers tell public officials is a few things when it comes to policy decisions are transportation and future development:
Revisit transportation plans. Many existing transportation plans continue to reflect outdated assumptions that the number of miles driven will continue to rise steadily over time. Officials at all levels should revisit transportation plans to ensure that they reflect recent declines in driving and new understandings of the future demand for travel.
Reallocate resources. With driving stagnating in many areas and demand for transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure increasing, officials should reallocate resources away from wasteful highway expansion projects and toward system repair and programs that expand the range of transportation options available to Americans.
Remove barriers to non-driving transportation options. In many areas, planning and zoning laws and transportation funding rules limit public officials’ ability to expand access to transportation choices. Officials at all levels should remove these barriers and ensure access to funding for non-driving forms of transportation.
These are especially important because we’ll be seeing, according to the Alameda Point Impact Study, about a 10K increase in the daytime population of Alameda. It looks like they just added the number of potential residents to the number of potential employees, but it sounds about right. Even though Alameda Point appears to be on the right track with parking maximums and market rate parking the infrastructure to get to Alameda Point still doesn’t support alternate forms of transportation. Such as the lack of dedicated bike lanes on Stargell between 5th and Main Street. Because of the lack of a critical mass of people, bus service is still pretty spotty. Appezzato has only one walkable side of the street — however that should change once the Beltline parcel has been developed into the Cross Alameda Trail.