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Wiki Wednesday: Vehicle-Miles Traveled

4:04 PM PDT on July 23, 2008

highway_vehicle_miles_traveled.gif
Until recently, VMT had been rising steeply in the U.S.

In the second installment of our serialized tour through StreetsWiki, we turn to DianaD's entry on Vehicle-Miles Traveled:

Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) is the total number of miles driven by allresidential vehicles within a given time period and geographic area.

We're seeing more about VMT in the national media as rising gas prices cause people to drive less. Largely absent from the coverage -- so far -- is a discussion about intentionally reducing VMT through policy. Will that change soon? It should: A landscape that's easier to navigate without a car is one where expensive gas won't put such a crimp in household budgets. Diana's wiki entry highlights one avenue to explore in particular:

Land use -- namely sprawl development -- is the main culprit. Americansare living farther from work, school, shopping and basic services. Evenin higher density areas, where amenities may be closer to home, theroad framework can be punishing for pedestrians. It is nearlyimpossible to walk in areas that cater to cars instead of people.Autocentric street design therefore forces even more cars ontoroadways, which further impedes walkers and bicyclists. The viciouscycle continues and local governments turn to the only “quick fix” thatthey seem to know: build bigger highways (at enormous taxpayer expense)to accommodate the increased traffic.

Got more to add? Any member of the Livable Streets Network can edit a StreetsWiki entry. 

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