January 12


Demograghy and Traffic

By Mike Spack

January 12, 2012

I attended the NCITE luncheon yesterday where Tom Gillaspy (MN State Demographer) was the featured speaker.  It was very scary and informative.  The scary/informative part (true for both the United States and Minnesota) –

  • The babyboom generation (began in 1946) is magically turning 65 (age when they can collect Medicare in addition to Social Security).  Huge wave of retirements coming.
  • The current twenty-somethings (GenY) strongly prefer dense/urban living.
  • The above factors are driving a resurgance of inner-city/first ring suburbs.
  • GenX (me) is the smallest generation out there.  Retiring babyboomers plus small generation of forty-somethings means potentially huge shortage in leadership.

Scary slide (because it leads to Medicaid type services totally engulfing Federal and State spending on our current trajectory – this slide is for MN, but Tom says MN is very representative of U.S.):


What does this aging population/change in demographics mean for traffic engineers?

  • Need to be better with signage (size, location, etc.).
  • Need to design facilities keeping longer reaction times in mind.
  • Peak hour traffic will plateau or decrease, but non-peak traffic will go up.
  • Transit plays a much bigger role moving forward.



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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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