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Auto Usage Breakdown By Purpose Of Trip

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Auto Usage Breakdown By Purpose Of Trip

(Source: "Personal Travel in the U.S., vol. 2," Federal Highway Administration, 1983-84 Nationwide Personal Transportation Study, Tables E-16 through E-18.)

Average Vehicle Occupancy for all purposes in 1977 was 1.9 people. In 2009 it was 1.67 people. Families are smaller and people own more vehicles per family. (Source: SUMMARY OF TRAVEL TRENDS: 2009 National Household Travel Survey) And the three most popular destinations in studies are, go home (34%), go shopping (12%), and go to work (11%). (Source: How People Use Their Vehicles: Statistics from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey)

Interesting history: Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle. In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. Neither were unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods, and were of little practical use. Beginning in 1807 there were quite a few people inventing vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, but none used gasoline and none were useful.

Diesel automobile 1938 Mercedes-Benz 260D
Diesel automobile 1938 Mercedes-Benz 260D

Around 1830, practical steam locomotives for railroads were developed and from 1830 to 1945 these locomotives made transportation in Europe and America much faster and easier and more convenient. Diesel locomotives began to appear in mainline service in the United States in the mid-1930s. The diesel reduced maintenance costs dramatically, and smelled better and was not as noisy. Diesel automobiles got going in 1933 and from 1967 to present, their manufacture and usage took off.

Early steam-powered road vehicle
Early steam-powered road vehicle

In November 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouvé invented a working three-wheeled automobile powered by electricity—it was the first electric car. Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern automobile—it was 1885. In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. Studebaker Automobile Company commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904. The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles was debuted by Ransom Olds in 1902 at his Oldsmobile factory located in Lansing, Michigan. Henry Ford used the assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts in 1914 and his factory made a new Ford car every 15 minutes—much faster than anyone else anywhere. And the rest is history. (Source: Automobile)

Of course, all these cars needed lots of good roads. The Interstate System has been called the greatest public works project in history. From the day President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the Interstate System has been a part of our culture. Before the Interstate, interstate travel was often easier by train, state maps were a pain, and crummy roads were an even bigger pain. The glut of cars was increasing and even though paved roads kept improving, they were built for convenient local travel, not convenient cross-country trips. Ike fixed this lack handily.

One of the first cars
One of the first cars