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Research Recap, August 29: Commuting in Canada, Fewer Young Drivers, Data Visualization Challenge

Most Canadians commute to work by car, according to a new study. Photo by Doug.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

Commuting in Canada

A new survey by Statistics Canada about modes of commuting in the country found that 82 percent of Canadian workers drive to work, 12 percent use public transit, and 6 percent walk or bike. Of the 10.6 million workers commuting by car, only 15 percent had ever tried commuting by public transit. The survey also investigated average commute travel times in 2010 and found that commuting to work by car took 26 minutes, commuting by public transit took 44 minutes, and walking or biking took 26 minutes.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

More than 1.5 million vehicle charging stations will be available in the United States by 2017, and more than 7.7 million charging stations will be available worldwide by 2017, calculates a new study by Pike Research. The growth in charging stations is expected in part because of anticipated decreases in the price of electric vehicle supply equipment. The sales of such equipment is highly correlated with the sales of the actual plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), according to the new research. Pike previously forecasted that more than 5.1 million PEVs will be sold worldwide by 2017. The study did not incorporate standard plug-in electrical outlets positioned near parking spots in the calculation but only PEV charging facilities that feature safety equipment adaptations.

Fewer  Young Drivers

Survey data from the Transportation Research Board revealed that Americans drove less in 2008 than 2001, with people between 20 and 40 years of age reporting the largest decrease in driving out of any age group. A possible explanation for this dramatic decrease in driving among young Americans is that the 2008 economic recession affected younger individuals more than the 2001 recession did. Other reasons include an increase in environmental concerns, the number of people who want to live car-light lifestyles, and the surge of internet popularity displacing lives behind steering wheels with lives behind computer monitors.

Apathetic Climate Concern

Nielsen’s newly released 2011 Global Online Environment and Sustainability Survey ranks the global internet communities’ environmental priorities and reveals that the top environmental concerns are air pollution, followed by water pollution, and then pesticide use. The survey polled 25,000 internet respondents from a total of 51 countries. Climate change/global warming dropped by three percentage points since the 2007 survey, with 69 percent of respondents now identifying themselves as “concerned.” Across the survey’s worldwide respondents, the United States displayed one of the highest decreases in percentage points of respondents “concerned” about climate change/global warming, with a 14 percent decline from 2007 to 48 percent.

Data Visualization Challenge

The U.S. Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Committee on Visualization in Transportation are sponsoring a student challenge to create data visualization products that address transportation policy or investment questions related to transportation safety or economic development. The competititon is open to students currently enrolled at an accredited public or private university or college, or community, junior or vocational college. The winning entries will be honored at the 2012 TRB 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 22-26, 2012. The winning entries’ teams will be awarded $2,000 each. Contest entries are due October 31, 2011.

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