Millennials, Cars and the Future of Transportation

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Millennial Car Buying Habits

Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the country’s total population. This makes them highly influential in society, which in turn has led to numerous predictions regarding how they’ll shape the future. One of the more prominent forecasts involves Millennials and cars and how their attitudes toward using various modes of transportation could impact the automotive industry.

How Do Millennials Compare to Other Generations?

It’s not uncommon for various organizations to extract information about millennials by comparing them with previous generations. In the case of the automotive industry, comparing the transportation habits of millennials with the Baby Boom and Generation X demographics moves beyond scrutinizing the relationship that exists between Millennials and cars. Comparable generational data on commuting, ridesharing, public transportation, and even living arrangements all factor into industry predictions regarding millennials’ impact on car-buying. While data suggests millennials aren’t going to kill off the concept of car buying, other data does indicate a shift in transportation methods compared to previous generations.

Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Cars?

Although studies indicate millennials won’t stop buying cars altogether, the thought of owning their own set of wheels isn’t quite as desirable as it has been in generations past. Various factors such as the cost and upkeep involved with owning a car, the increased influx of technology related to transportation, and the evolving proliferation of new options for ride-hailing services and ridesharing have made some budget-minded millennials hesitant to make the commitment of owning a car. This is especially the case for those that live in walkable areas or in cities with robust public transportation options.

If Millennials Continue to Drive Less, What Does This Mean for the Future of Transportation and City Planning?

The move away from cars by the millennial market is enough to raise concerns about how cities are planned, including how increased transportation needs within the city can be met. These concerns have given rise to conceptualizing city ideas that cater to millennials and public transportation habits. These concepts could become reality if trends involving millennials and their desire to live in urban environments continue to increase. If this is the case, and if cities are revitalized and reconfigured over time, they can have some profound residual effects on other concepts such as municipal infrastructure, pollution, and more.

In the Next Ten Years

One of the more common projections about millennials and cars was a concern that they wouldn’t be as interested in buying cars compared to previous generations. These concerns have not materialized. Studies now indicate millennials are the fastest-growing car-buying market segment, and they now own just .4% fewer cars than baby boomers. That said, millennials still are projected to impact the way cities plan transportation infrastructure because they have been shown to be more receptive to using alternative modes of transportation to get from point A to point B than prior generations. As the decade progresses, this receptiveness may translate to a significant effect on the future of transportation for everyone.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Ohio University’s Online Masters of Science in Civil Engineering program.

Millennials, Cars and the Future of Transportation infographic

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