The break in the relationship between VMT and GDP
Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative explains how vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has become decoupled with Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
While Americans’ driving habits have long been linked to economic activity, this relationship has weakened considerably over the past roughly 20 years. 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. 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.
Read Chris's full blog.