Seven factors that will change how we move around this year.
1. The higher cost of driving Gas taxes haven't been raised in 15 years, despite an inflation rate that has turned that 1993 dollar into 70 cents of buying power. Transportation construction costs have almost tripled in that same time period, so expect to see every possible way of raising funds, like more tolling, higher tolls, and more talk about congestion pricing.2. Government spending on infrastructure The economy, unemployment, and the sorry state of our transportation infrastructure are aligning to get some big projects fast-tracked with money that doesn't come from gas-tax dollars. Will it be new highways, new transit, or bridges to nowhere? Politics will tell.3. Public transportation getting more popular 2007 saw a 50-year high in U.S. transit ridership numbers. The first quarter of 2008 beat that record by 3.3 percent. Ironically, transit agencies had little ability to expand capacity, as they had to absorb the rising fuel costs without raising the price of travel.4. More people riding bikes Forward-thinking jurisdictions have been improving bicycle access and safety, making more people willing to hop on a bike, the solution to several personal problems: improving health and fighting obesity through exercise, and finding an easy way to reduce their carbon footprints.5. The rise of electric and motorized vehicles Because they are cheaper to park, drive, maintain, and fuel, an increase in popularity is inevitable. If you keep your eyes open, you'll see the swelling numbers and real diversity of possible vehicles like electric bicycles and three-wheeled motorcycles.6. More sharing As we try to squeeze value out of every asset and deal with the high prices of car travel, every major city is discussing bike sharing, following the success of Paris's program. Car-sharing and ride-sharing services are also growing steadily.7. Planning for the $5 gallon We all-individuals, cities, states, nations-need to start building a world in which we can comfortably deal with this impending reality.by ROBIN CHASENOW WHAT Welcome to the future of carpooling. Check out Robin Chase's new ride sharing venture at goloco.org. See also: zimride.com.