Drivers across the country are logging less miles according to a study from New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG), but New Jersey motorists are falling behind the pack.

NJ Turnpike
Flickr User MPD01605

According to the study "Moving Off the Road: A State by State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving," the average motorist in the country has cut their annual miles by 6.9 percent since 2005.  In New Jersey, drivers were only at 2.1 percent.  Nontheless, New Jerseyans have reduced their miles driven by 5.5 percent since 2007.

Despite the decrease, the Garden State pales in comparison to its tri-state neighbors for reducing miles driven. The study found New York saw its per-person vehicle miles driven since 2005 down by 8.1 percent.  In Pennsylvania driven miles fell by 10.4 percent, and Delaware dropped by 11.7 percent.

NJPIRG said it's clear the country as a whole is moving away from a driving boom that's been going on for decades and that policy makers need to start focusing on stronger public transportation, biking, and pedestrian systems.

"We stopped diverting transportation dollars to build new and wider roadways while ignoring road repairs and expansion of public transit," said Bersi Megsna, NJPIRG campus organizer for Rutgers Newark.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit dedicated to reducing car dependency in the tri-state area, agreed that public transportation is woefully underfunded in New Jersey.

"Bike and pedestrian investments and the most recent draft capital program from the New Jersey of Transportation represents only 2.5 percent of all transportation infrastructure dollars being spent in the state of New Jersey," said Ryan Lynch, associate director for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

He said residents have shown that if options are presented, they will often opt for public transportation.






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