According to a study by U.S. Pirg and reported by the New York Times this week, the country’s young people are giving up car ownership in exchange for public transportation and bicycles. Experts consider it the end of the Driving Boom or the 60-plus years of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States.
There are several factors attributing the change in lifestyle for the teenagers to twenty-somethings. The conditions include high gas prices, high unemployment (especially among young people), and increasing use of technology.
“Millennials are more likely to want to live in urban and walkable neighborhoods and are more open to non-driving forms of transportation than older Americans. They are also the first generation to fully embrace mobile Internet-connected technologies, which are rapidly spawning new transportation options and shifting the way young Americans relate to one another, creating new avenues for living connected, vibrant lives that are less reliant on driving,” the report noted.
The decrease in dependency on vehicles has other positive effects on society. Traffic congestion has fallen, America is less dependent on oil, and our roads are getting less use meaning lower wear and tear and maintenance needs.
Finally, the report calls for improvements to transportation policies to adapt to these changes. The request call for prioritizing infrastructure upkeep over building new roads and bridges, improve conditions for those that choose to drive less including increasing investments in public transportation and intercity rail, and investing in research of the changing transportation trends.