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Even with population up, car trips in Twin Cities are down

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A once-a-decade study by the Metropolitan Council finds that, even though there are more people in the Twin Cities, the number of car trips declined over the ten years.

MinnPost reports the study found use of public transit increased, but analysts say telecommuting, the recession, and high gas prices were also likely contributors. One-third of the survey's respondents told the Met Council they work from home at least once a month.

MinnPost's story highlights a Woodbury commuter who estimates his use of a park-and-ride lot is saving him about $70 a month.

In announcing the findings, the Met Council noted the Twin Cities' population increased by 200,000 during the decade. The agency says there's evidence that the Millennial generation - born between 1983 and 2000 - is more open to forgoing cars in favor of transit, bikes, or good old shoe leather. That age group is also waiting longer to get driver's licenses and purchase cars, the report says.

As a Met Council graphic illustrating the results shows, private vehicles still account for 84 percent of the trips taken by Twin Citians. Transit nudged up to three percent, but still trails walking and school buses, which account for 6 and 5 percent, respectively.

The drop in car trips reverses a trend that dates back to the mid-20th Century. According to the Economist, car ownership and miles (or kilometers) driven have leveled off in recent years in a handful of developed countries, such as Great Britain, France, and Sweden.

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