Chuck Marohn has a new post at streets.mn lamenting the long-term inaccuracy of modeling and projections – in this case, traffic projections. Without commenting on his critique (ok, maybe a little: I think projections can be useful in many circumstances, especially when paired with scenarios), I wanted to update my old peak travel post from 2011.
The peak of auto travel in Minnesota is still 2006, with per capita travel peaking one year later. For 2011 total auto travel continues to decline, although the decline is slowing (-0.15% versus -0.37% for 2009 to 2010). 2011 population estimates for Minnesota aren’t out yet, but I imagine the flatline trend is the same for per capita miles. I’m told the Metropolitan Council (and MnDOT?) project growth in VMT in the 7-county metro to increase 1.5% annually through 2020.
Have we reached peak travel? I’m not sure, but it sure is interesting to think about the reversal of an assumption (ever-growing auto travel) that’s been held for a generation or more.