The debate about the future of the car continues; Derek concludes his post on Ford with "the reality is that our car culture is here to stay." However the data say otherwise. Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in the New York Times about the end of car culture, noting that the numbers of miles driven per person peaked in 2005 (well before the recession started, so it isn't just the economy) and is now 9% below the peak. Reasons:
“Different things are converging which suggest that we are witnessing a long-term cultural shift,” said Mimi Sheller, a sociology professor at Drexel University and director of its Mobilities Research and Policy Center. She cites various factors: the Internet makes telecommuting possible and allows people to feel more connected without driving to meet friends. The renewal of center cities has made the suburbs less appealing and has drawn empty nesters back in. Likewise the rise in cellphones and car-pooling apps has facilitated more flexible commuting arrangements, including the evolution of shared van services for getting to work.
Rosenthal notes that this trend will give a "fortuitous assist" to President Obama's goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More in the New York TimesSee related stories to the left for a lot more on this subject.