This post on ULI’s Ground Floor blog goes into the data showing reductions in vehicle miles traveled, or VMT and increases in transit ridership. Basically, VMT is going down more than transit ridership is growing. Kaid Benfield follows up on Robert Dunphy’s ULI post and makes the point that compact communities can allow people to drive less even without the added benefits of transit. This comes from having to drive fewer miles to get from place to place, but also can include the ability to bike and walk to retail areas, parks, a friend’s house and other destinations.
We’re reminded of a Rails to Trails report issued recently making the case for a stronger federal involvement in walking and biking. In Minneapolis, Minn., 20 percent of all trips are taken by bicycling or walking alone (another 8 percent involve transit), and the city’s extensive park system and trail network of over 80 miles is likely a large part of this.
Along with compact communities, by making modest investments in walking and biking infrastructure, communities can significantly reduce their reliance on automobiles. See the chart below from the RTC report showing the level of investment and return in commuting (not all trips) mode share of the U.S. in general compared to Portland and other European cities.