Peak vehicle miles traveled and postpeak consequences?

Steven E. Polzin, Xuehao Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to summarize changes in travel that account for the decline in total roadway vehicle travel from the previous decade's peak levels and, second, to speculate on the implications of postpeak vehicle miles traveled trends. Both sections of the paper are speculative. The lack of available data makes it difficult to diagnose fully the changes in travel behavior that result in lower levels of roadway travel. Planners are only beginning to think about the impacts of no growth in roadway travel. The paper evaluates travel trends, by addressing freight versus passenger travel, urban versus rural, mode choice, age, income, communication substitution, and logistics as factors affecting vehicle miles traveled. Consequences include transportation capacity requirements, transportation infrastructure productivity, induced demand, transportation land use, transportation and economic development, challenges for traditional planning processes, equity implications, and risk and uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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