Wednesday, January 28, 2015
AASHTO Completes Series of Reports Tracking Commuter Trends and Behavior
WASHINGTON - America is a nation on the move - rarely more so than during its daily
commute to work, which comprises approximately 28 percent of all daily trips on U.S.
roadways and transit systems, according to a new research paper. Understanding how
individual commuters get to work is critically important for transportation decision
makers tasked with operating and maintaining the nation's transportation
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has
released the final installment in a series of 16 "Commuting in America" briefs
that examine a significant and evolving segment of the nation's traveling public.
The final brief<http://traveltrends.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspx#table>
points to slowing growth in commuting due to the aging of the American worker and declines
in the number of younger people entering the workforce. U.S. Census Bureau projections
suggest the population in the working age group 18-64 will see a sharp decline over the
next 20 years-approximately 6 million new potential workers from 2015 to 2030, in sharp
contrast to 26 million during the period 2000 to 2012.
In addition to age demographics, the authors point to potential impacts of technology and
land use decisions that are likely to affect future commuting trends. For instance, recent
growth of wireless devices allows transit riders to work or communicate while on buses or
subways, and fast-developing technology for autonomous cars and connected vehicles could
soon let roadway commuters tend to other tasks while their cars drive themselves.
"Regardless of how these phenomena play out, the boom in commuting growth is behind
us, at least at the national level," the brief claims.
In spite of some rather significant changes in demographics, the economy, technology, and
the culture and values of residents, a long-term study of available transportation data
shows that commuting behaviors have changed modestly over the past decade.
The Commuting in America 2013 series is used by public policy, planning, research, and
education practitioners to better understand the patterns and trends in the nature of work
and commuting that are influencing critical transportation policy issues and investment
The briefs include topics such as worker trends, vehicle and transit availability, vehicle
ownership and licensure levels. It tracks population trends and the use of transit
services, biking, walking and carpool commuting options.
Alan Pisarski, a transportation consultant and co-author of the series, said: "By
better understanding how commuters select the mode of transportation they use, decision
makers can create policies and programs to increase transit ridership, target traffic
congestion and enhance the commuting experience."
"Our research finds that commute trip travel time and the pattern of commute
traveling have remained remarkably stable over the past decade; However, employment
conditions and consequently the nature of commuting continue to be in a dynamic
period," said co-author Steve Polzin, Ph.D., of the Center for Urban Transportation
Research at the University of South Florida "Over time, these changes may continue to
alter work-trip commuting trends and it's important to continue track this data moving
This is the fourth edition of Commuting in America reports published since 1987. The
latest series is supported by the AASHTO Census Transportation Planning Products Program
and it was developed in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research
Download the briefs at:
Penelope Z. Weinberger
CTPP Program Manager