New Report Shows Georgians Are Driving Less

Georgians’ Driving Is Down Almost 12 Percent, Ahead of National Trend

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta – Georgians have cut their per-person driving miles by nearly twelve percent since 2005, while the nation’s long term driving boom appears to have ended, according to a new report from the Georgia PIRG Education Fund. Georgia’s double-digit decline in driving rates is almost five percentage points above the national average.

“In Georgia, even more so than elsewhere, people just aren’t driving as much,” said Michael Sikora, Associate for the Georgia PIRG Education Fund. “It’s time for policy makers to realize the driving boom is over. We need to reconsider expensive highway expansions and focus on alternatives such as public transit and biking.”

With a decline of 11.68 percent, Georgia has the fourth largest dip in driving rates in the nation.

“It is encouraging to see Georgia ranked among the states where driving has fallen the most,” said David Emory, President of Citizens for Progressive Transit. “This trend clearly aligns with the growing demand for quality transit options and walkable communities, and we hope that local officials consider it carefully when making transportation investment decisions.”

The report, “Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving”, is based on the most current available government data. Among its findings:

·         In Georgia, people have reduced their driving miles by 16.6 percent per person since 2001, when Georgia’s per person driving peaked.

·         This decline in driving is a national trend. Forty-five other states have reduced per-person driving since the middle of the last decade.

·         After World War II, the nation’s driving miles increased steadily almost every year, creating a “driving boom.” Driven by the growth of the suburbs, low gas prices, and increased auto ownership, the boom lasted 60 years. Now, in stark contrast, the average number of miles driven by Americans is in its eighth consecutive year of decline, led by declines among Millennials.

·         The states with the biggest reductions in driving miles generally were not the states hit hardest by the economic downturn. The majority—almost three-quarters—of the states where per-person driving miles declined more quickly than the national average actually saw smaller increases in unemployment compared to the rest of the nation.

“Given these trends, we need to press the reset button on our transportation policy,” continued Sikora of Georgia PIRG. “Continuing to pour taxpayer dollars into costly highway projects isn’t a smart investment in Georgia’s future.”

Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, said, “This report should make Georgians think twice about continuing to fund expensive highway projects that barely meet today’s needs, much less those of the future. We should invest instead in low-cost, high-quality projects that give Georgians a choice when it comes to how they spend their transportation time and dollars.”

Download the report, “Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis on the National Decline in Driving.”

Download the infographic we created to illustrate the end of the Driving Boom.

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Georgia PIRG Education Fund works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation. www.georgiapirgedfund