"Why Aren't Younger Americans Driving Anymore?"

Posted by Ryan Croft on 4/23/13, 11:56 PM

The Washington Post recently published a story titled: Why Aren't Younger Americans Driving Anymore? . Author Brad Plumer makes three main points: the cost of driving is going up, younger people are living in transit-oriented areas, and technology is making it easier to go car-free. There are many more great points, graphs and statistics that everyone should read on their own, but its the final two points that I'd like to focus on.

Man standing in front of speeding subway

Younger people are living in transit-oriented areas
Young Americans tend to migrate to the urban areas of the country. It's where the majority of jobs are located, its where their peers are living, and its close to all the best entertainment. Consequently, by living in urban areas, younger Americans have much easier access to multiple transportation options. But that alone isn't going to cause this increase in usage of public transportation. Young people have been living in urban areas with easy access to public transportation for generations. Sure, you can delve into how the recession affects young Americans disposable income, or how the rise in oil prices makes driving more costly, but as a company that makes information-rich displays that communicate real-time transit information, let's focus on Mr. Plumer's final point:

Technology is making it easier to go car-free.
If you can take a look at one screen and plan your whole trip down to the minute, wouldn't that be preferable to getting in your car, driving through D.C. traffic, circling block after block waiting and searching and hoping for a parking spot, then driving back home after a fun evening out, only to have every parking spot within a 5-block radius of your home occupied? We think so. Maybe you like having a car for trips to the grocery store. But instead of having to pay that monthly car payment and insurance payment, just find out where your local car sharing port is located, and use that car to pick up all the food and drinks needed for your impromptu apartment party Friday night. With all that money you are saving, you can have a lot more impromptu Friday night parties. And Saturday night parties too. All it takes is a quick glance and you'll know how many cars are available at that very moment. And if it's a hike from home to the nearest car port, make sure to check the exact minute your local bus is scheduled to make its stop.

Wouldn't it be nice to stop having to guess and know, before you even leave the lobby of your apartment or office building, exactly how long it will be until your bus or train is scheduled to arrive? No more waiting impatiently at the station, or rushing down the street for a train that's later than you are. Technology is making the world more advanced, but it's also making the world a whole lot easier. We here at TransitScreen are part of the latter movement. Simplifying your life. Simplifying your commute.