Changing Transportation

U.S. PIRG has published a series of reports on the dramatic changes underway in how Americans travel. The reports cover the causes, consequences and policy implications from different generational perspectives, different levels of government and covering the particular roles of technologies and universities. Our research has led the way in showing how billions in recent and proposed highway-expansion projects don’t make sense in light of prevailing travel trends.

Highway Boondoggles 2 looks at twelve proposed highway projects across the country – slated to cost at least $24 billion – exemplifying the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending. These projects, some originally proposed decades ago, are either intended to address problems that do not exist or have serious negative impacts on surrounding communities that undercut their value.



Who Pays For Roads? How the ‘User Pays’ Myth Gets in the Way of Solutions to America’s Transportation Problems researches how with less driving growth keeping down gas tax revenue, the myth that user fees pay for the roads makes less and less sense, and its existence is a problem for improving transportation.


The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car researches how rapid technological advances have enabled the creation of new transportation tools that make it possible for more Americans to live full and engaged lives without owning a car. This report reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services – including online ridesourcing, carsharing, ridesharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing – in 70 U.S. cities.



Millennials in Motion: Changing Travel Habits of Young Americans and the Implications for Public Policy explains what's behind the Millennial generation's shift away from driving, and why it's likely to be lasting. 




Searching For A Better Ride: Ohio Students Want to Live in Communities with Transportation Options uses surveys of Ohio students to describe how Millennials are deciding where to live after college based partly on the desire to live car-free or car-light lifestyles. 




Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America's Transportation Future identifies 11 examples of wasteful highway expansion, based on outdated assumptions about America's driving habits, that could cost at least $13 billion.



Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities? examines four unnecessary Wisconsin highway expansion projects slated to cost $2.8 billion, money that could instead provide more than half a billion extra dollars in each of the next five state biennial budgets. The study also examines how this money could better meet a series of unmet transportation needs.



Bikes, Trains and Less Driving: Transportation Trends in Arizona presents the evidence that Arizonans are driving less and using other forms of travel more, a trend that should be reflected in state investment priorities.




Driving Wisconsin's "Brain Drain": How Outdated Transportation Policies Undermine Wisconsin's Ability to Attract and Retain Young Talent for Tomorrow's Economic Prosperity reports on a survey of Wisconsin college students, and analyzes whether Millenials consider transportation options when making decisions about where to live in the future.



A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy looks at how innovative university programs are reducing driving on campus and creating new models for transportation policy.




Road Overkill: Wisconsin Spends Big on Questionable Highways, Even as Driving Declines , examines seven Wisconsin highway expansion projects, premised on big driving increases and representing over $1 million in taxpayer investment, that have not seen the traffic that justified the spending. Building Boondoggles? Is Governor Walker Spending Billions on Four Roads to Nowhere? shows the shaky foundations justifying $2 billion in recently prioritized highway-expansion projects in Wisconsin. 




Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities, examines the data on declining driving and increasing transit and biking in America’s 100 largest cities. It documents how broadly shared the shift away from driving has been and how sharper declines in driving do not correspond to larger increases in unemployment or poverty.


A New Way to Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less, explores how new technologies and changing technological habit connected to the nation’s decline in driving and make possible less car-dependent lifestyles in the future.




Moving Off the Road: A State-By-State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving documents the state-by-state differences in declining driving, exploring a variety of causes for differences between states, and showing how these differences do not correspond to how hard states were hit by the economic recession.




A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future examines the causes of declining driving and the implications for future transportation policy. The report is accompanied by an easy-to-read infographic and a video of a webinar describing its finding.




Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People Are Driving Less and What It Means for Transportation Policy, documents the dramatic decline of driving among Millennials since the middle of last decade as the leading edge of a broader decline in American driving. 

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