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Long-run Trends in Travel Demand

Paris, 29-30 November 2012

Jaap de Wit, Professor of Transport Economics at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (KiM).

Final Report

Long-Run Trends in Car Use
Roundtable 152, January 2014
Go to Report

Summary and Conclusions

Recent Trends in Car Usage in Advanced Economies – Slower Growth Ahead?
Kurt VAN DENDER & Martin CLEVER, International Transport Forum
Go to Discussion Paper  (2013-09)

Papers and Presentations

Peak Travel, Peak Car and the Future of Mobility: Evidence, Unresolved Issues, and Policy Implications, and a Research Agenda

Phil Goodwin, Professor of Transport Policy, Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England, UK
Go to Discussion Paper  (2012-13)
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Are we Heading Towards a Reversal of the Trend for Ever-Greater Mobility?
Jean-Loup Madre, Directeur, Département Economie et Sociologie des Transports, IFSTTAR, and Yves D. Bussière, Professor – Researcher, BUAP, Puebla, Mexico.
Go to Discussion Paper  (2012-16)
Other languages:  Va-t-on vers une inversion de la tendance à toujours plus de mobilité ? Docucment de Réference 2012-16

Have Americans Hit Peak Travel? A Discussion of the Changes in US Driving Habits
Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
Go to Discussion Paper  (2012-14)

New drivers in mobility; what moves the Dutch in 2012 and beyond?
Jan van der Waard, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Ben Immers, Scientific Director, TRAIL Research School, Delft, and Peter Jorritsma, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis.
Go to Discussion Paper  (2012-15)
Other languages: Les nouveaux déterminants de la mobilité aux Pays-Bas, en 2012 et au-delà.  Document de référence no 2012-15
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Japanese Facts on Car Demand
Tetsuro Hyodo, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan
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Related Information

Thinking About Growth in (car) travel demand
K.W. Axhausen, OECD, Paris, France
Go to Slides 

Traffic Growth Modelling: a Global Phenomenon
Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Australia
Go to Website

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be Changing Trends And Their Implications For Transport Planning
Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Australia
Go to Document

‘Peak Car Use’: Understanding the Demise of Automobile Dependence.
Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Australia,
in World Transport, Policy and Practice. Volume 17.2 June 2011 p.31
Go to Document

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Designing good transport policies, including but not limited to planning infrastructure development, requires insight into the likely development of the demand for transport. In the past decades, the aggregate demand for passenger travel has long developed in line with per capita GDP and population growth, but there are strong signs that this close connection is weakening in advanced economies. In particular, car travel volumes in some countries are no longer growing or have declined despite continued growth in GDP. It is important to understand why this is so. Is the phenomenon transitory or is it permanent? Are changes in relative prices the explanation, or is it that higher GDP no longer translates into more disposable income for many households? Have attitudes towards car travel changed, perhaps in combination with increased availability of non-car transport modes, or are socio-demographic factors (e.g. ageing, urbanisation) responsible?

All explanations are plausible and probably a combination of them explains the aggregate trend. Furthermore, the relative importance of different factors may differ among countries and between places within countries (e.g. urban and rural regions), as a quick glance at available evidence indeed suggests. Separating out the various driving factors is important for making good projections of travel demand as well as for other facets of transport policy (emissions, congestion management, etc.). This holds for the economies where the demand for car travel appears to be levelling off, but also for developing economies as they may be confronted with similar changes at lower levels of incomes (e.g. because of more rapid urbanisation and different policy incentives). The aim of the roundtable is to further the emerging understanding of the drivers of changes in passenger travel and to discuss policy implications.