January 3, 2011

WITH EVERYPLACE INCREASINGLY THE SAME AS EVERYWHERE ELSE, WHY GO ANYWHERE?:

A Road Less Traveled: Passenger travel in the industrialized world has been stagnant for nearly a decade, researchers say. (Melinda Burns, 1/02/11, Miller-McCune)

Amid the planes, trains and automobiles of the holiday season comes a surprising finding from transportation scientists: Passenger travel, which grew rapidly in the 20th century, appears to have peaked in much of the developed world.

A study of eight industrialized countries, including the United States, shows that seemingly inexorable trends — ever more people, more cars and more driving — came to a halt in the early years of the 21st century, well before the recent escalation in fuel prices. It could be a sign, researchers said, that the demand for travel and the demand for car ownership in those countries has reached a saturation point.

“With talk of ‘peak oil,’ why not the possibility of ‘peak travel’ when a clear plateau has been reached?” asked co-author Lee Schipper, who shares his time between Global Metro Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2011 6:22 AM
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