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A contentious Farm Bill heads to U.S. House for debate. Also on our rundown: gaps cited in protections for small-business employees and nonprofit volunteers; plus power out for much of Puerto Rico; and some warning signs, that increased youth activism may not correspond to voter turnout.

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New Study: Marylanders Driving Less

PHOTO: A new study shows Virginians have cut their per-person driving miles about six percent since 2005. Photo credit: Virginia DOT
PHOTO: A new study shows Virginians have cut their per-person driving miles about six percent since 2005. Photo credit: Virginia DOT
August 30, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – You might find this hard to believe if you're often stuck in traffic, but a new study reveals Marylanders aren't driving as much as they used to.

The study from the consumer group U.S. PIRG finds Marylanders drove about 10,000 miles per person in 2011, a nearly 4 percent decline over a six-year period.

Study author Phineas Baxandall says there are a number of reasons why people are driving less.

"Some of them probably have to do with technology, and people shopping and socializing more online, environmental sensibilities,” he explains. “Some of it has to do with the economy, but certainly not all of it."

In Washington, there was a 14 percent decrease in the number of miles driven per person. Baxandall says the information about driving trends is critical as transportation planners make decisions about future projects.

He adds the report means new toll roads in Maryland might not be as profitable as the state had hoped.

"If driving is going to keep declining,” he explains, “it's going to mean either they're not going to be making as much money as authorities thought, or they're going to have to charge a whole lot higher rates to get the money that they intended."

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD