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Thread: Predicted VMT

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    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Predicted VMT

    Found this picture today and thought it was funny. This is a history of different predictions made by the DOT at the federal level for future VMT. The black line is actual.

    The dates don't exactly line up, you'll see that the 2010 prediction was made in 2008 on the chart, and this has to do with some weird way that information is released by DOT. I don't fully understand it, you can google it for an explanation if you want.

    Essentially, these predictions have been so terrible because they aren't made at the federal level, they're an aggregate composition of all the predictions made at the state or even more local levels. If you ask Wyoming what they expect their VMT to do, and then hinge road funding on the answer, they're of course going to say something along the lines of, "it's gonna go way up." The same thing happens in counties in Virginia, cities in California, and the state of New Jersey, because nobody wants to be told they're not getting as much money as last year because VMT is expected to go down for their region. This results in everybody giving inflated estimates, and the federal total being way out of line.

    VMT-C-P-chart-big1-541x550.png


    The following link leads to information from the Department of Energy. It's not in a pretty graph like the last one and I'm lazy and you can just look at the raw data yourself. If you read the preliminary report though, you'll see that, "AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated U.S. Census Bureau projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the AEO2014 Reference case average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year in AEO2013 over the same period."

    They've essentially accounted for the fact that Baby Boomers are retiring and Millennials will drive less as they age. I think the prediction is something like, "if Millennials drive %30 less now at 20-30 years of age than Baby Boomers, they'll continue to drive %30 less at 30-40 compared to Baby Boomers based on technology, lasting urbanization, and the fact that they're hippie environmentalist liberal vegan feel-goods." (I'm paraphrasing.)

    Based on the data given here, total VMT will hit previous peak somewhere between 2016 and 2017.

    Raw Data:
    http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebro...014er-d102413a

    Preliminary release from DOE:
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/...83er(2014).pdf

    Bottom line: I think the disparity here is neat and thought people here would appreciate it… also, that DOT graph… I mean seriously?

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    Found this picture today and thought it was funny. This is a history of different predictions made by the DOT at the federal level for future VMT. The black line is actual.

    The dates don't exactly line up, you'll see that the 2010 prediction was made in 2008 on the chart, and this has to do with some weird way that information is released by DOT. I don't fully understand it, you can google it for an explanation if you want.

    Essentially, these predictions have been so terrible because they aren't made at the federal level, they're an aggregate composition of all the predictions made at the state or even more local levels. If you ask Wyoming what they expect their VMT to do, and then hinge road funding on the answer, they're of course going to say something along the lines of, "it's gonna go way up." The same thing happens in counties in Virginia, cities in California, and the state of New Jersey, because nobody wants to be told they're not getting as much money as last year because VMT is expected to go down for their region. This results in everybody giving inflated estimates, and the federal total being way out of line.
    Your explanation that local governments are padding the figures to get more money--is there any objective confirmation for this?


    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    "AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated U.S. Census Bureau projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the AEO2014 Reference case average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year in AEO2013 over the same period."
    I guess I'm not understanding this either. Figure 2 from the EIA is not even showing a return to the 2007 historical VMT up to 2040. Both AEO2013 and AEO2014 are showing small but steady declines in VMT. What am I missing?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Your explanation that local governments are padding the figures to get more money--is there any objective confirmation for this?
    The local governments are the entities way overestimating VMT, it's just inherent in the structure of how the forecast is made. I'd be willing to bet that it's either due to money or laziness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I guess I'm not understanding this either. Figure 2 from the EIA is not even showing a return to the 2007 historical VMT up to 2040. Both AEO2013 and AEO2014 are showing small but steady declines in VMT. What am I missing?
    The decline in figure two is energy consumption, not mileage. They predict mileage to increase very slowly, but MPG to increase fairly dramatically.

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