Higher gas prices are causing Americans to alter their driving habits and to either use or consider using transit if the option is available, according to a consumer survey released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). According to representatives of ULI, the survey results reinforce the need to build and rebuild urban regions in ways that offer alternatives to car-dependent development. "The findings of this survey clearly show that consumers are rethinking how much money and time they are spending getting from one place to another," said ULI Senior Resident Fellow Edward McMahon. "It underscores the need for more efficient development." He also noted that the survey findings suggest that higher gas prices may be the "tipping point" that causes a general shift in consumer attitudes regarding development that is more concentrated and which mixes uses, versus sprawling, isolated-use development that is heavily reliant on autos for mobility. Although the survey was conducted soon after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when gas prices had jumped higher than their current level, the cumulative effect of rising prices "may ultimately help make the case for more dense development that saves both land and gas," McMahon said.
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