Vehicles miles declining relative to GDP
While vehicles miles traveled (VMT) have risen in 2015 in the last three years after nine years of historic lows, the nation is still in a 20-year downward trend relative to economic growth, according to Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative. "The number of miles driven per $1,000 of GDP dropped from 240 in 1995 (where it had hovered since before 1970) to 190 in 2016," he writes. "We should expect to see driving continue to rise as the economy grows and gas prices remain low, but that growth will likely be slower than in the past if current trends hold. Continued cultural and demographic shifts paired with new technologies such as autonomous vehicles could push that trend in either direction."