Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Younger Americans are driving less

Chris Yarzab/Flickr/Creative Commons

According to a new study, teens and young adults across the country are choosing alternative means of transportation over hopping behind the wheel of an automobile.

The report, “Transportation and the New Generation,” found that younger Americans are driving “substantially fewer” miles than previous generations, often not even bothering with acquiring a driver’s license, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Released by the CalPIRG Education Fund, the study says that mass transit, biking and walking are the preferred methods of getting around.

In hard numbers, the report details how from the year 2001 through 2009, the average number of miles driven by people aged 16 to 34 fell by 23 percent. Also during that time, the same demographic of people increased their public transit mileage by an impressive 40 percent.

According to CalPIRG consumer advocate John Fox in the Times Herald, it’s a trend than began as far back as 2005. While he cites the economy as a factor, he says that an overall shift of younger people towards lifestyles less reliant on cars is what’s truly driving the change.

“It calls into question the wisdom of our current transportation investment priorities,” added Benjamin Davis, analyst and one of the authors of the report to the Chronicle.

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