, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 521–537 | Cite as

Not driving alone? American commuting in the twenty-first century



This paper investigates recent commuting trends by American workers. Unlike most studies of commuting that rely on data from the American Community Survey this study utilizes the American Time Use Survey to detail the complex commuting patterns of modern-day workers. Changes in the price of gasoline in recent years suggest that the incidence of “driving alone” should be on the decline. Indeed, results show that the sensitivity of modal commuting with respect to changes in gasoline prices appears to be relatively large. We estimate the gasoline-price elasticity of driving alone to be 0.057 and the gasoline-price elasticity of carpooling to be 0.502. Additional factors also affect commuting, including socio-economic characteristics and social desires. However, it is changes in gasoline prices that appear to account for nearly all of the recent variation in the mode chosen for commuting.


Ride sharing Carpooling Commuting Gasoline process Social capital 



We are grateful to the numerous and thoughtful comments of colleagues during presentations at Elon University, the Eastern Economics Association annual conference, and RWTH Aachen University in Germany. We especially thank the three anonymous referees and the Editors of this journal for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Elon UniversityElonUSA

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