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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
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Study: Americans driving less due to technology, vehicle sharing

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Transportation apps and vehicle sharing programs are enabling Americans to drive less, a study released Tuesday by the Florida PIRG Education Fund showed.

The public interest research group in a report titled “A New Way To Go: The Apps, Maps and New Technologies That Are Giving More Americans Freedom To Drive Less,” said people nationwide have been driving less for eight consecutive years, while Floridians have reduced driving miles by 11 percent since 2005.

“For baby boomers, driving your car represented freedom and spontaneity,” said Dalyn Houser, program supervisor for Florida PIRG. “But today, especially for younger people, owning a car increasingly represents big expenses and parking hassles. Technology and vehicle sharing services have started to make it easier not to own a car or for households to own fewer.”

The report cited smart phone apps that help transit riders navigate their systems. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in August inaugurated its OneBusAway smartphone app that provides real time information on bus locations to riders to improve travel efficiency.

Next year, a start-up called Tampa Bay Bike Share is planning to rent bikes in Tampa and St. Petersburg in a service including a mobile app to search for available rentals.

Other concepts the report cited are one-way and round-trip car sharing services, used by 800,000 people nationwide, and peer-to-peer car-sharing networks enabling people to rent vehicles they are not using.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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