Study: Americans Biking More, Driving Less

Green transportation is on the rise, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The study found that between 2000 and 2011, 99 out of 100 of the largest urban areas in the US saw a decrease in the percentage of workers commuting by car. In 84 of the 100 largest urban areas, the percentage of households without a car increased, and in 91 of them bike commuting became more common. Meanwhile, the number of miles traveled on public transit increased by 20%.

“There is a shift away from driving,” said a Senior Analyst for the US PIRG Education Fund. “The cities in this report are home to most of America’s population and are engines of the economy. Policy leaders need to wake up and realize the driving boom is over. Instead of expanding new highways, our government leaders should focus on investing in public transit and biking for the future.”

The Millennial generation is primarily responsible for the shift away from driving. Between 2001 and 2009, Americans 16 to 34-years-old reduced their driving miles by 23%.

Unfortunately, as Americans shift away from driving and towards public transportation, funding for public transportation continues to get squeezed. According to the report, “In many places, the biggest barrier to non-driving transportation options is a lack of funding. Many cities that were forced to cut back on transit service during the recession experienced discouraging declines in ridership—even as transit ridership boomed nationwide.”