What if VMT per capita has not peaked?

APA Colorado Chapter


Wednesday, October 4, 2017
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. MDT

CM | 1.50

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In 2004, the historic trend of increasing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita peaked and began declining. However, recent data shows VMT per capita again increasing. Numerous explanations have been put forth, yet the future remains murky. In this session, we will dive a little deeper into the trends influencing VMT per capita, use keypad polling to gauge attendees’ view of the future and facilitate an interactive discussion on what this means for Colorado communities.

Learning Objectives:

1. Demographic, housing, economic and transportation trends impacting VMT

2. Consensus on future trends impacting VMT per capita in CO

3. What these trends will mean for communities in Colorado, how they will impact VMT in the future and what we as planners can do to address the factors influencing VMT


We anticipate this session to be interactive and dynamic and much of what we will learn will be from discussion with the audience. Patrick will begin the session by presenting a short background on historic vehicle miles traveled (VMT) trends in Colorado and the U.S. and provide context on VMT and how the measure is used in the planning circle.

Each of the panelist will then give a brief presentation (based on their area of expertise) on the factors influencing VMT per capita. Patrick will focus on transportation and technological trends, including multimodal transportation, commuting, bike/car sharing the integration of smartphones, TNC’s, home delivery and autonomous vehicles. Jay will focus on land use and development trends, including school size, employment development patterns, housing design/location, and the relationship of land use to transportation. Andrew will focus on demographic and economic trends, including population change, demographic cohorts, real estate trends, and other economic factors influencing travel patterns.

After the panel presents recent trends, we will poll the audience (using keypad polling) on what they think the future trends will be in Colorado for each of the factors that influence VMT and travel behaviors. We will analyze the outcome of the polling exercise using Fehr & Peers’ TrendLab+ tool to predict a future VMT per capita in Colorado. TrendLab+ is a tool developed by Fehr & Peers that allows users to compose scenarios for 16 factors related to trends that influence VMT, including job market health, fuel prices, social networking, autonomous cars, and vehicle ownership. You can  instantly see the effects on VMT per capita (based on public research) conducted for each factor, which enables a range of scenario testing to inform decisions about future transportation investments (see www.fehrandpeers.com/fpthink/trendlab/).


Based on the outcomes all three panelist will jointly facilitate a conversation with the audience on:

·         Why the audience thinks certain trends are going to occur;

·         Which trends have the least and most consensus (and why);

·         What members of the audience are doing in their communities or planning field to address the trends impacting VMT; and

What (if anything) we can or should be incorporating in future plans given the trends forecast.

CM Criteria:

This session will meet all three criteria for CM approval as described below.


  1. Through a series of brief presentations, a polling exercise and facilitated discussion, attendees will gain a better understanding of the factors influencing VMT, where the trends are likely headed and what strategic approaches they can use to plan for and mitigate future VMT trends in the communities and applications in which they work. Content will be unbiased and non-promotional and objectives of the session will be clearly presented from the onset.
  2. Three panelists with over 40 years combined experience in the transportation, land use and economic planning fields will lead the session. The format will combine traditional slide-format presentation of facts and relevant trends with an interactive polling exercise and a lively facilitated discussion that will allow the audience leeway in deciding the trends/topics that are most relevant to them. The presentation will not use or reveal proprietary information. Each section of the session will be allotted a specific amount of time to ensure the session stays within the 90-minute timeframe. We will use all 90 minutes to cover topics related to the learning objectives.
  3. A sign-in sheet will be provided to record attendance. Patrick Picard, AICP will be the point of contact for proper administration of the CM activity and will be responsible for evaluating content and/or working with APA Colorado to ensure the session meets AICP requirements.


Patrick Picard, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Patrick Picard, AICP, is a transportation planner in Fehr & Peers’ Denver office with seven years’ experience developing and managing multimodal transportation planning efforts throughout Colorado and the western United States. Patrick’s professional background includes a diversity of experiences in the transportation planning sector ranging from bicycle planning projects, multimodal ... Read More

Jay Renkens, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Jay Renkens, AICP, is a Principal at MIG, Inc., a national, multidisciplinary planning and design firm. He specializes in planning for neighborhoods, districts, cities and regions; transit-oriented development; and public realm, streetscape and plaza design. Jay's passion is creating environments that support individual and community innovation, health and well-being ... Read More

Andrew Knudtsen

Confirmed Speaker

Andrew Knudtsen is the Managing Principal for the Denver office of Economic & Planning Systems. He is a planner and economist with 20 years’ experience addressing the full range of economic issues related to real estate development, including market analysis, financial feasibly, public finance, redevelopment strategies, fiscal balance assessment, affordable housing ... Read More

Contact Info

Shelia Booth, sbooth@apacolorado.org