For the first time since World War II, Americans are driving less—and young people most of all.
In a comparison of the transportation habits of 16-34 year olds in 2009 to those in 2001, a new report by U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group finds that young people in 2009:
- Traveled 23% fewer “vehicle miles”;
- Took 24 percent more bike trips; and
- Walked to destinations 16 percent more frequently.
There is also a trend away from getting driver’s licenses among young people. The share of 14-34 year olds without a license rose from 21% in 2000 to 26% in 2010.
The report finds several long-lasting factors at play, in addition to the recession:
Young people are driving less for a host of reasons—higher gas prices, new licensing laws, improvements in technology that support alternative transportation, and changes in Generation Y’s values and
preferences—all factors that are likely to have an impact for years to come.
Click the markers on this Google Map created for a radio program on why young people are driving less to see reasons offered by listeners.
View Why are Young Americans Driving Less? in a larger map