How do “millennials” make their mobility choices? What factors (e.g. lifestyles and personal preferences) affect their mobility-related choices? What are their future aspirations to purchase and use a vehicle vs. to use other means of transportation? How will millennials’ behaviors shape future transportation demand and affect planning needs in the 21st Century?
Young adults (often referred to as “millennials” or “Generation Y”) are increasingly reported to have different lifestyles and travel behavior from previous generations at the same stage in life. Among the observed changes, younger travelers tend to postpone the time they obtain a driver’s license, often choose to live in more central urban locations and choose not to own a car, drive less even if they own one, and use alternative non-motorized means of transportation more often. Several possible explanations have been proposed to explain the observed behaviors of young adults, including their preference for more urban locations closer to the vibrant parts of a city, changes in household composition (e.g. delayed marriage and childbearing), and the substitution of travel for work and socializing with telecommuting and social media. However, the debate in this field is still dominated by speculations about the potential factors affecting millennials’ behavior, and the previous studies that started to investigate millennials’ travel-related decisions have been generally limited by the lack of adequate data.