Seattle Bike Angst

So, the US metropolitan areas with the largest percentage jump in commuters that bike to work are Portland, Madison, San Francisco and Denver. Now that we've gotten the "no duh" portion of the US Public Interest Research Group's (PIRG) recent study on urban driving habits out of the way, we can dig further into a report that argues that we're about nine years past the year when "peak car" happened.

The percentage of driving-age Americans with licenses is at a 30-year low.

Here's how the numbers play out. PIRG says US vehicle miles per capita reached a zenith of about 10,000 miles in 2004 and has since fallen to closer to 9,000 miles. Almost three-quarters of the largest US cities had a drop in average miles per capita. Moreover, the number of vehicles per licensed driver is down four percent since 2006, and the percentage of driving-age Americans with licenses is at a 30-year low.

Geographically, the New York City area, Washington, D.C. and Austin, TX, were the metro areas with the largest declines in private-car commenting. Biking to work is pretty much universally on the upswing, even beyond the granola-heavy areas, but more importantly, about 60 percent of US cities have seen a rise in recent years of public transit commuting. If you'd like to know more than these Peak Ca highlights, so grab yourself a cup of coffee and check out PIRG's 62-page report here and check out another definition of "Peak Car" here.