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Apps, Services Enable Less Driving: Report [AUDIO]

The way people travel is changing, and it has been for a while. The shift is largely due to upgrades in technology, as well as programs that past generations never could have imagined.

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In New Jersey, people reduced their driving miles by 2.1 percent since 2005, according to federal data. Today, especially for younger people, owning a car has become quite the hassle on the mind and the wallet. Technology like real-time apps, and services like carsharing, have started making it easier for folks to rely on other forms of transportation.

“Personal auto ownership used to be the clear ticket to mobility,” said Jen Kim, State Director for the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG). “The new tools make it easier not to own a car or own fewer cars. New apps make it easy to catch a bus and ride unfamiliar routes. NJ Transit is installing Wi-Fi service in trains and stations.”

NJPIRG’s new report noted roundtrip carsharing services, such as Zipcar, enable subscribers to access cars located in their neighborhoods. More than 30 cities have programs where users can access bikes by the minute or by subscription.

“Approximately 40 percent of bikeshare members report reducing their driving, according to a survey of members,” the report indicated.

Young Americans have consistently been the first to adopt and test these new technologies and practices, according to the report.

“This is the future,” Kim said, adding that policymakers should “catch up” with the transportation shift.

The report provided a number of recommendations moving forward, aimed at steering funds toward programs and services the public clearly wants.

“Highway expansion projects should be reconsidered and canceled if no longer justified,” the report suggested.

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