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Travel time peaked in the 1990s, new research shows

posted Jul 23, 2018, 2:23 PM by Chris McCahill

Americans spent more than 10 hours per week traveling in the early 1990s—the highest amount in two decades—but that number has since dropped below 1975 levels to less than 8.5 hours, according to a new study published in Transportation Research Part A.

The resulting travel time peak mirrors a similar peak in average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) that occurred roughly a decade later. This earlier peak, however, suggests that important shifts in travel behavior were already underway well before the recession took hold around 2007. Demographic trends and changes in leisure-related travel are among the main reasons, but their effects have changed considerably over time.