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Trends Show Lower-Income Millennials Driving More

Data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey reveals that circumstances may be forcing lower-income young people to drive greater distances.
April 20, 2018, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Donald Rogers

Taking a look through data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey, Chris McCahill discusses several trends, including an overall decrease in driving from 2009 through last year. 

But among Millennials, especially those hard-hit by the 2008 recession, driving has spiked back up. That belies a general trend in which "what we see in comparing age groups in the three periods is that younger people are driving less compared to the population average, while older people are driving more."

McCahill links changes in driving trends to the influx of affluent people into city centers: "In 2017, VMT dropped among those in high- and medium-income groups, relative to the average. A rising average could help explain this, but since average VMT most likely held constant or decreased, this indicates that those with means are possibly choosing to live in places that facilitate less driving and use of alternative modes."

On the flip side, younger people without those means "are forced to drive more, costing them upward of $10,000 per year according to new estimates [...] which include vehicle ownership, lost time, and parking."

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Published on Monday, April 16, 2018 in State Smart Transportation Initiative
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