In 2011 half of 16 and 19 year olds had driver’s licenses, down from 72 percent in 1983.
What drives Millennials ‘ decisions on where to live? It’s not their car, according to a new survey.
More than half (54 percent) of Millennials in 10 major U.S. Cities said they would consider moving to another city if it had more and better public transportation options, while two-thirds said that access to quality public transportation is one of the top three criteria they would consider when choosing where to live.
The survey, released by the Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America, considered three tiers of transportation systems, including “mature” (Chicago, New York City, San Francisco), “growing” (Charlotte, NC, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis) and “aspiring” (Indianapolis, Nashville, Tampa-St. Petersburg). Almost half of Millennials drivers surveyed (47 percent) said they would seriously consider giving up their car if they could count on a range of transportation options.
Only 27 percent of Millennials living in cities with mature public transportation systems said it was important to have regular access to a car or truck in their city compared with 60 percent of MIllennials living in cities with growing transportation systems and 82 percent living in cities with aspiring public transportation systems.
At least three-fifths of Millennials overall said that it is important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on an automobile.
Transportation for America advocates the preservation, updating and expansion of the nation’s transportation networks, so they would appear to have more than a vested interest in this survey. And a desire for low-cost, reliable and ample public transportation options is certainly not restricted to Millennials.
But the findings are consistent with other trends and surveys that find a generation less reliant on their cars than previous generations. In 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 50.9 percent of 16 and 19 year olds had driver’s licenses, down from 72 percent in 1983.
A recent Zipcar study found that four-in-ten MIllennials survey believe that losing their mobile phone would have a bigger impact on their lives than losing their car.
More than half said that the high cost of owning a car has put the brakes on automobile ownership for now. They are also more willing than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to use public transportation systems, use ride-sharing apps and seek out other forms on non-car ownership.
But lest anyone fear that America’s love affair with the car is on the wane, Larissa Faw, writing in Forbes, suggests this Millennial mindset has perhaps more to do with the “e”-word: entitlement. “They expect to drive their very own fully-loaded luxury vehicle with retractable roof and multi-speaker audio system,” she wrote. “If they can’t have their specific dream car, then they don’t want anything and won’t waste time getting a driver’s license. Past generations of young drivers, by comparison, were satisfied with any piece of metal that moved.”
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Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.