The author concludes that our best hope to fix this trend is a return of high gasoline prices.
IMO, that's ONE way it might change, but pretty much the WORST option.
Personally, I'd rather see more people opt for electric cars or public transit because improvements were made in those areas, making them more desirable!
High fuel prices punish the people who are already struggling, on tight budgets. If they need to drive a vehicle for any kind of delivery or taxi job (Uber, Lyft, etc.) - it means their costs go up, because they can't just "drive less". Often, it's the same story for someone who relies on a car to commute to/from work. All those people telling you to carpool to work or take a bus aren't being that realistic. In many cases, you need the ability to haul things around in a trunk or back seat of a car that you don't get when using a bus or other mass transit, and you can't always find a workable carpool. It makes everyone pay more for package delivery too, harming your ability to get your asking price when you sell used goods on the Internet via sites like eBay. (It actually hurts the whole economy since pretty much every business relies on shipping in some manner. But it hurts individuals the most, IMO. The big companies do enough volume so they can negotiate pretty nice discounts with shippers like UPS or FedEx. They may pay more than they used to to ship goods, but it'll still be far less than you or I pay.)
I know personally, I live around 50 miles from my workplace. I used to take the commuter train, but the combination of increased prices for it and reliability issues forced me to go back to driving. There are just too many times the train is really late due to freight train traffic that gets priority on the rails they use, or mechanical breakdowns. When I was waiting on the last train of the evening and it was one hour, then 1 1/2 hours, then 2, 3 and finally 3 1/2 hours late -- I had enough. (To add insult to injury, it was cold and raining outside, and the station platform is outdoors with no good shielding from the wind or rain.)
What I *have* done is to express my plight to my bosses at work, who finally agreed to let me start working from home more often. That winds up letting me claw back all of that commuting time I lost before - as well as saving on travel expenses. So it's a win all around. But yeah -- I really tried to stick with the public transit option. They just don't have their act together enough to make it attractive.