Over the last decade – after 60-plus years of steady increases – the number of miles driven by the average American has been falling. Young Americans have experienced the greatest changes: driving less; taking transit, biking and walking more; and seeking out places to live in cities and walkable communities where driving is an option, not a necessity.
Academic research, survey results and government data point to a multitude of factors at play in the recent decline in driving among young people: socioeconomic shifts, changes in consumer preferences, technological changes, efforts by state governments and colleges to limit youth driving, and more.
Millennials (those born between 1983 and 2000) are the nation’s largest generation, making their transportation needs particularly important. They have the most to gain or lose from the transportation investment decisions we make today, as they will be affected by those investments for decades to come. If Millennials drive fewer miles than previous generations as they age – and if future generations of young people follow suit – America will have an opportunity to reap the benefits of slower growth in driving. These include reduced traffic congestion, fewer deaths and injuries on the roads, reduced expenditures for highway construction and repair, and less pollution of our air and climate.
Several indicators – including continued decreases in per-capita driving across the whole U.S. population, the continued shift away from the use of cars for commuting by Millennials, and the consistency of Millennials’ stated preferences for housing and transportation – suggest that it is unlikely that the trend toward less driving among Millennials during the 2000s has reversed thus far in the current decade. Moreover, many of the factors that have contributed to the recent decline in driving among young Americans appear likely to last. Now is the time for the nation’s transportation policies to acknowledge, accommodate and support Millennials’ demands for a greater array of transportation choices.
Read the full article at http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/millennials-motion.