Air Travel Predictions Were Wrong Too

There have been a number of reports about those wildly inaccurate predictions of future highway travel demand. Motor vehicle travel is declining, but highway agencies keep planning more highways.

The same can be said for air travel. A decade ago, transport planners were predicting unlimited growth in air travel. Their estimates seem crazy now. Consider what happened with airports in the SF Bay Area. The region’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) predicted SFO would grow to 46 million passengers by 2010 (up from 37 million in 1998). In fact,  SFO last year had just 30 million passengers — a significant decline from the 1998 level.

Similarly, Oakland was predicted to increase from to 16 million passengers by 2010. In fact, the airport had only 10 million passengers in 2012. And San Jose airport was supposed to reach 18 million passengers by 2010 — way more than the 8 million passengers that currently use it. San Jose has fewer passengers now than it did in 1998.