More Young People Using Transit

“From World War II until just a few years ago, the number of miles driven annually on America’s roads steadily increased. Then, at the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving less. By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004.

The trend away from driving has been led by young people. 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. The trend away from steady growth in driving is likely to be long-lasting—even once the economy recovers. 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,” according to a study titled Transportation and the New Generation by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

The Y Generation is the biggest population bulge since boomers. As Businessweek notes, marketing is beginning to understand “The boomer brands won’t get off so lightly with Gen Y. This is the first generation to come along that’s big enough to hurt a boomer brand simply by giving it the cold shoulder–and big enough to launch rival brands with enough heft to threaten the status quo.”

The report is chock-full of interesting information and insights on how to speak to a new generation that “responds to humor, irony, and the (apparently) unvarnished truth.”
Here is a taste:
“Many young people choose to replace driving with alternative transportation. According to a recent survey by KRC Research and Zipcar, 45 percent of young people (18-34 years old) polled said they have consciously made an effort to replace driving with transportation alternatives—this is compared with approximately 32 percent of all older populations.”

“Many of America’s youth prefer to live places where they can easily walk, bike, and take public transportation.”

“Some young people purposely reduce their driving in an effort to curb their environmental impact.”

“Public transportation is more compatible with a lifestyle based on mobility and peer-to-peer connectivity than driving.”

If 45% of Austin’s Gen Y population took transit 1x per week that would be over 125,000 drive alone trips averted! Imagine the positive impacts on traffic that would have.
2010 Census data) Click here for the full report.

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