What’s Behind the Decline in Driving Among Millennials? This question has been hotly debated in the press and in policy circles, but mostly based on impressions and anecdotes and not solid evidence – until now. The following two recent national studies by ITS researchers shed considerable light on those mysterious Millennials and their travel behavior.
What’s Youth Got to Do with It? Exploring the Travel Behavior of Teens and Young Adults
ITS researchers Evelyn Blumenberg, Brian D. Taylor, Michael Smart, Kelcie Ralph, Madeline Wander, and Stephen Brumbaugh analyze data from the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey in 1990 and the National Household Travel Surveys in 2001 and 2009 to how travel behavior of youth (teens and young adults ages 15–26) compares to that of middle-aged adults (ages 27–61). The team also analyzes whether the basic determinants of youth travel behavior are changing and whether there is evidence that today’s youth are likely to travel differently than adults. Four fundamental outcome measures of travel are focused on:
- PMT – personal miles traveled
- Activity participation – number of daily trips
- Journey-to-work (or commute) mode choice
- Travel mode used for social trips
This study finds that youth travel behavior deviates remarkably little from that of adults, with economic factors like employment status and income predominant in determining the travel behavior of both youth and adults.
The project team would like to thank the Federal Highway Administration and the University of California Transportation Center for their support for this project.
Access the full publication: What’s Youth Got to Do with It? Exploring the Travel Behavior of Teens and Young Adults
Typecasting Neighborhood and Travelers: Analyzing the Geography of Travel Behavior Among Teens and Young Adults in the US
In this study ITS researchers Evelyn Blumenberg, Anne Brown, Kelcie Ralph, Brian D. Taylor, and Carole Turley Voulgaris examine whether Millennials are turning their backs on suburbs for more urban and car-free lifestyles. The team uses individual data from the 2001 and 2009 National Household Travel Surveys and associated neighborhood-level data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Smart Location Database and the Decennial U.S. Census to examine geographic variation in the travel behavior of youth relative to other age groups. These combined data are used to perform five related, yet distinct analyses:
- The composition, character, and distribution of neighborhood types across the entire U.S.
- Changes in the location of young adults across these neighborhood types over time and relative to other age groups
- The composition, character, and distribution of types of youth travelers in the U.S., as well as the relationships between neighborhood types and youth traveler types
- The relationship between neighborhood type and travel behavior (measured by person miles of travel, vehicle miles of travel, trips, access to automobiles, and travel mode) by age group
- The relationship between living in a particular neighborhood type and the likelihood of being a certain type of youth traveler
Among the study’s findings, the researchers note the travel modes preferred by youth traveler types, as seen in Figure 4 below. Drivers and Long-Distance Trekkers rely on private vehicles for their mobility and comprise 82 percent of all youth traveler types. High accessibility Multimodals comprise only four percent of young travelers, while the low-accessibility Car-less comprise 14 percent of young travelers.
Noting that geographically and demographically varied patterns in residential location and travel behavior call into question one-geography-fits-all transportation policies premised on homogeneous characterizations of travelers, the study concludes that for the vast majority of both U.S. neighborhoods and young travelers, a eulogy for cars and suburbs is likely premature.
The project team would like to thank the Federal Highway Administration for their support for this project.
Working on this project: Evelyn Blumenberg, Anne Brown, Kelcie Ralph, Michael Smart, Brian D. Taylor, Carole Turley Voulgaris, Madeline Wander, Steven Brumbaugh
Project End Date: September 2015