BREAKING: People Like to Walk
This study from the Frontier Group about how people are driving less has gotten a fair amount of play lately, as people struggle to interpret what it means. The most-clipped chart of the week is clipped again below, in case you missed it.
It seems you have to either be in the camp that this is all about the economy, and thus a temporary blip, or some magic of demographic change. For example, it’s because the population is getting older, or because there’s more people living in cities. Since the majority of people who live in metro areas actually live in suburbs that are geared towards cars, I really don’t understand the latter. For example, you’ll drive far more living in a suburb of Atlanta than if you live in a small town in rural Georgia.
How about the obvious answer? People are starting to walk and bike more, and find that they actually like it. It’s a fun and rewarding way to live.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how trends come and go in society, and how quickly things can change because of technological change or just that we get sick of something and are “over it” as people like to say.
The car culture took about 100 years to fully mature, and what we have in the US from the late 1990’s through today is its full flowering. In fact, it took until the mid-1990’s before women had driver’s licenses on par with men, and thus equal and full participation in the same auto-oriented way of life.
Maybe what we’re learning is that now that we all have access it, we really don’t like it so much. We don’t like sitting on out asses all the time in traffic, and we actually enjoy using our bodies the way they were meant to be used: upright.