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Project Type
Faculty-Initiated Research
Project Dates
06/01/2015 - 08/31/2017
Project Status

This project assembles long-run historical data of American vehicle ownership, travel behavior, and attitudes about travel, in order to cast light on the recent downturn in American driving. The project will make three contributions to our understanding of travel behavior. First, assembling heretofore neglected historical data will provide an unprecedented view of how American travel has evolved over the last 80-100 years. Second, using panel data that begins in the 1960s, the project will test the idea that people who come of age when driving is more expensive will drive less even after the economy has recovered. Third, by incorporating long-run data on consumer sentiments about both vehicles and the broader economy, the project will shed light on an important contemporary question: to what extent are attitudes about vehicles and driving formed independently of attitudes about broader economic conditions, and economic conditions themselves?


Michael Manville , David A. King & Michael J. Smart (2017), The Driving Downturn: A Preliminary Assessment, Journal of the American Planning Association, 83:1, 42-55, DOI: 10.1080/019443632016.1247653 To link to this article: