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Transportation Behavior

This summary focuses on transportation behavior trends prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. People’s travel shifted dramatically in 2020 at the start of the pandemic and continue to change. MnDOT is closely monitoring changes and will update this paper as post pandemic transportation behavior trends become clearer.

Transportation behavior describes when and how people travel. Changes during the 19th and 20th centuries shifted how people travel in Minnesota and across the country. This included shifting from walking and horseback to rail transport and to the adoption of the automobile.

The adoption of the automobile caused many cities across the country to disinvest in their urban cores and demolish inner-city neighborhoods for freeways. Many cities, including Minneapolis and Saint Paul, saw large population declines as people moved to previously undeveloped suburban and rural areas. This move was possible due to the automobile. For example, multiple inner-city freeway projects in the seven-county metro area demolished thousands of homes and businesses, primarily in neighborhoods with large population of people of color. These changes brought on by the automobile also led to people driving more.

Today, Minnesotans are again changing how they travel. The last decade has seen renewed interest in cities and denser living across the country and in Minnesota. These changes affect how people travel and how agencies invest in transportation infrastructure. This paper explores recent trends in how Minnesotans travel and how the state’s transportation system is adapting to serve these needs, including auto travel, public transit, walking, bicycling and micromobility.

Trends in how freight is shipped to, from and within Minnesota are discussed in separate Logistics Trend Analysis.

Related Trends