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Commuting To Work Gets Lonelier with Auto Transportation

Auto transportation and public transit are just the tangible system for commuters -- the real system is what we value.

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Auto Transportation with Carpooling for Commuters

A Census Bureau report (June 2007) notes that the share of people driving alone to work in autos increased slightly to 77 percent from 2000 to 2005. Carpooling dropped and the share of commuters using public transportation stayed the same.

Auto Transportation Costs

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline increased from $1.50 a gallon at the start of the decade to $2.28 a gallon in 2005, according to the American Automobile Association. Gasoline prices have since topped $3 gallon.

During the same period, the share of people carpooling dropped from 12.2 percent to 10.7 percent. The nation's public transportation systems report that ridership is up, but the share of commuters using transit stayed the same at 4.7 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

Public and Auto Transportation Systems Matter

It's all about the system. Housing and work patterns make it hard for suburban commuters to change their gas-guzzling ways.

Mass transit is most popular in older cities such as New York, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago, according the Census Bureau.

Carpooling is most popular in the West, driven in part by immigrants. Seven of the top 10 metro areas for carpooling are in California. Most are in the center of the state, where a lot of immigrant farm workers share rides.

A AAA auto transportation spokesman said commuters are willing to drive more fuel-efficient autos but are loath to give up the keys entirely, regardless of gas prices. Many people equate carpooling and mass transit with "a decline in their personal standard of living."

It's all about the auto transportation system...both physical and the intangible system of what is socially acceptable.

Auto transportation is heavily affected by the cost of fuel and availability of auto financing. The 2008 financial crisis is expected to roll through the auto transportation industry much like the housing industry, making public transportation and carpooling more of a necessity or cost saving strategy.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| auto transportation | commuting | carpool | urban planning | transportation solutions | public transit |

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