Young Americans Driving Less, Using Alternative Transit More

Young adults in America are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of transportation alternatives, according to a new report released April 5.

“Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy,” released by the Frontier Group and U.S. PIRG Education Fund, shows that Americans have been driving less since the middle of last decade.

The report reveals that in 2011, the average American was driving 6% fewer miles per year than in 2004. This trend is even more pronounced among young people, in which the average person aged 16-34 drove 23% fewer miles in 2009 than the average person in this age group in 2001.

The report also notes that a growing number of young Americans do not have a driver’s license; from 2000 to 2010, the share of 14-34-year-olds without a license increased from 21% to 26%.

As well, 18-34-year-olds are choosing to replace driving with alternative transportation. According to a recent survey by KRC Research and Zipcar, 45% of people in this age bracket polled said they have consciously made an effort to replace driving with transportation alternatives — this is compared with approximately 32% of all older populations.

Consciously thinking about the environment is one factor in the study cited by younger generations as to why they make an effort in driving less (click to enlarge chart):

From the “Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy,” report.
From the “Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy,” report.

Technology is also driving use of alternative transportation, according to the study, siting that improvements in technology make these alternative forms of transportation more convenient and has “opened the door” for transit options such as car sharing.  

To view the full report, click here.

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