A new traffic study released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund last week indicates that more and more Maryland residents, particularly young adults, are leaving their cars in the garage and using public transportation to get around. With the Maryland legislature due to unveil its new six-year transportation plan next week, advocates are hoping the bill reflects this shift.
The PIRG report revealed that the average number of miles driven in the state per person fell 4.1% between 2005 and 2011. At the same time, U.S. Census data shows Maryland’s population grew by 100,000 between 2010 and 2012. These numbers together seem to indicate a growing trend toward public transportation and other options besides cars.
PIRG’s report points to several possible factors for the new emphasis on public transportation, including rising gas prices, demographic shifts and changes in technology.
The Pennsylvania legislature’s new travel bill is expected to include a wide variety of improvement projects, including a new east-west metro rail line in Baltimore. All projects will be funded by an increase in the state gas tax enacted earlier this year.