Oct 23, 2023 - News

New Orleans households drive enough miles to circle the globe each year

Average annual miles traveled per household, by metro area
Data: Brookings; Note: Includes all biking, walking, transit and vehicle miles; Map: Alice Feng/Axios Visuals

The average household in New Orleans metro travels 29,303 miles annually, per a new study, compared to the national average of nearly 30,000, Axios' Ben Geman reports.

Driving the news: The Brookings Institution study explores household auto, biking, mass transit and walking data for the 110 largest U.S. metro areas to measure how close people are to where they work, eat, play and shop.

  • "For the average driver, living closer to multiple activity centers can save around $920 to $1,200 in annual transportation expenses, and reduce their carbon footprint by 2,455 to 3,020 pounds of carbon dioxide," the researchers found.

By the numbers: Residents in metro New Orleans drove more in 2022 compared with 2019, averaging an additional 1,000 miles annually.

  • Baton Rouge households racked up more miles than New Orleanians, averaging 31,692 miles annually as of last year.

Why it matters: "Helping people live closer to the centers of economic activity ... should reduce the distances people need to travel for many of their essential trips," the analysts wrote.

  • "Shorter trip distances, in turn, make walking, bicycling and transit more attractive and can improve quality of life."
  • "In other words, greater proximity could lower environmental emissions, create safer streets, and unlock financial savings," the study added.

Yes, but: Only 37% of residents in the metro areas studied live within three miles of five activity centers.

The bottom line: The analysts argue for "building for proximity" to lower overall trip distances and make walking and biking more feasible.

Go deeper: The many benefits of "building for proximity"

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