Emergent long-term trends in population and automobile owner-ship are examined, and some implications for urban transportation are drawn. Population trends include (a) a strong national trend toward zero population growth, at a pace well above demographers' expectations; (b) an inverse relation between growth and urban size, where the largest metropolitan areas exhibit little or even negative growth; and (c) a general shift in population from higher to lower density areas, with associated lower congestion, and some reversal of migration flows from nonmetropolitan to metropolitan places. Statistical analysis of growth rates shows two key relations: high rates of growth in three subregions (Pacific Southwest, Florida, and middle-sized Texas areas) and an inverse relation between size and growth for both the high-growth and low-growth areas of the country. Despite the continuing shift of population from central cities to suburbs, available evidence suggests some current diminuation of suburban sprawl and a likely buildup of population densities in urban areas, a development that can be related to a corresponding movement toward saturation of automobile ownership. Data on intraurban density relations and rates of automobile ownership are presented in support of these predictions. The discerned trends in population and automobile ownership are likely to reduce traffic congestion and hence the needed highway investment and improve the viability of public transit in the large urban areas investing in such systems.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 196-213
  • Monograph Title: Better use of existing transportation facilities
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00099512
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 5 1981 12:00AM