Friday, May 8, 2009

Another perspective on whether cars are loosening their grip …

Atlanta-highway    Are Americans forsaking their cars – at least to some extent?  I’ve had a number of posts on this over the past year or so.  Here’s an interesting perspective from super statistician Nate Silver, in Esquire, who reports on his creation of a regression model that takes into account both gas prices and unemployment in predicting automobile usage.  Applying this model, Silver asserts that driving is down significantly in 2009 from what would be expected.  He speculates that this might be a delayed reaction to 2008’s spike in gas prices.  But it also might be “a paradigm shift in Americans’ attitude towards their cars.”  The plummeting sales figures for automobiles of all kinds over the past year also appear to be deeper than most models would predict.  Certainly a combination of a weak economy, decreasing retirement portfolios, foreclosed exurbs, and fluctuating gas prices might be forming a perfect storm for questioning the car … and stoking interest in high-density land use.  Stay tuned …

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