In a recent report published by Frontier Group, researchers have found that young people (ages 16-34) are choosing to drive less. The results of the survey, and the trends of young people, could have an effect on current transportation policy.
“From 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita–a drop of 23 percent,” according to the study.
Research found that young people are choosing to drive less for environmental and financial reasons and that they are also prioritizing living in urban areas where there are many transportation options. Young people are consciously driving less to reduce their impact on the environment but they are also reacting to higher gas prices. While the research suggests that driving may increase slightly as gas prices lower, most predictions do not see gas prices ever returning to their low points of the 1990s and therefore predict a long term trend in choosing to drive less.
The study cites technology as a major factor in the shift to sustainable modes of transportation. Not only do transportation-related apps make using alternative transportation options easier to use but using smart phones and other devices is safer and easier (and legal!) in transit rather than while driving.
As this shift continues, or holds steady, transportation planners are rethinking how they design urban areas. Designing less auto-centric communities is becoming a larger priority and the demand for car-specific roads is decreasing as the demand for transit, bicycle facilities and walkable communities is increasing.
View the full report.