Todd Litman | Planetizen
A new report, Millennials in Motion: Changing Travel Habits of Young Americans and the Implications for Public Policy by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Frontier Group shows mounting evidence that the Millennial generation’s dramatic shift away from driving is more than temporary. While the 2000s saw a marked decrease in the average number of miles traveled by young Americans, the study explains that those trends appear likely to continue even as the economy improves—in light of the consistency of Millennials’ surveyed preferences, a continued reduction of Millennials driving to work, and the continued decreases in per-capita driving among all Americans.
“Millennials are different from their parents, and those differences aren’t going away,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG and co-author of the report. “After five years of economic growth with stagnant driving, it’s time for federal and state governments to wake up to growing evidence that Millennials don’t want to drive as much as their parents did. This change has big implications and policy makers shouldn’t be asleep at the wheel.”
It includes many findings that suggest that Millennials’ shift away from driving last decade is continuing:
- Census data shows that the share of 16 to 24 year-olds traveling to work by car declined by 1.5 percentage points between 2006 and 2013, while the share of young people getting to work by public transportation, on foot or by bicycle, or else working from home, had increased.
- Young people aged 20 to 30 are less likely to move from central cities to suburbs than at any time since at least the late 1990s.
- Millennials consistently report greater attraction to less driving-intensive lifestyles — urban living, residence in “walkable” communities, and openness to the use of non-driving modes of transport—than older generations.
- Fewer young people are getting their driver’s licenses than even a few years ago. The percentage of high school seniors with driver’s licenses declined from 85 percent to 73 percent between 1996 and 2010, according to the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety, with federal data suggesting that the decline has continued since then. Read more