US: study sees motorists social networking instead of going on daily trips image

Although the tally of new cars continues to soar in the US and traffic jams in metropolitan areas are getting worse, motorists are striving to lower the count or combine daily trips in a bid to cut back on the time spent behind the wheel.

According to the latest research conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the average American driver has been in his or her car 10 percent less time when it comes to handling daily errands compared to a decade ago. UMTRI researcher Michael Sivak, the author of a series of reports that seek to look at the modern motorization trends in the US, comments the average time travelling in the car each day has gone down from 1.23 hours in 2004 to 1.11 hours in 2014. In a recent study he also pointed out that 2004 was also the peak year in terms of total miles driven – as the numbers slowly decreased ever since.

The data was collected from within the American Time Use Survey, a representative nationwide study, which included the total travel time for people aged 15 and above and using all means of transportation – not just using the personal vehicle. It appears that motorists are driving less to activities such as dining out due to increased penalties for drunk driving, They have also lowered the time for shopping or purchase of goods and services – mainly because of the rapid rise of Internet’s online shopping. The findings tend to indicate that social media, online shopping and other virtual activities have an impact on car-oriented socialization.