It seems that, when it comes to making our transportation choices, as we age, we are most likely to rebel against the ways we traveled in our youth.
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These are among the findings by TransitCenter in Who’s On Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey.
There is evidence that Millennials grew up in their early years under a car-centric umbrella but have switched to public transportation and may stick with it into middle age.
Meanwhile, evidence supports that Baby Boomers grew up in a transit-friendly environment but are now very accustomed to their suburban, auto-centric lifestyles and won’t change their ways.
The Baby Boomer generation grew up in denser neighborhoods with more transit, were likely to be encouraged to walk or bike, and less likely to see transit as a social stigma than younger people. They are also the least likely to want to live in urban areas.
Baby Boomers are less likely to want an urban environment, and they are less likely still to live in one. They are also the most likely to have no access to public transportation where they live. Put simply, Boomers don’t live in – and largely don’t want to live in – places well served by transit.
As “aging in place” expert Stephanie K. Firestone has written frequently at Mobility Lab, this seeming stubborness of Boomers to lose the car is going to create major healthcare problems as this massive group ages in isolated geographies connected to nothing but roads for cars they are no longer able to operate.
The vast majority of us will outlive our driving years by about a decade, Firestone notes. Proactively making a plan for driving less and ultimately ceasing to drive can considerably reduce a person’s anxiety (as well as their family’s) about this transition.
TransitCenter’s research in this area begs numerous questions. For Boomers who are willing to relocate, what housing options are available to them in more transit-friendly environments? Will Millennials continue to use transit as they age and how will the handful of cities with excellent transit handle the influx of new young residents?
Another key finding of the report is that parents are not necessarily averse to transit. Parents are no more or less likely than non-parents to use transit, and Millennial parents with children ages 5 to 15 are more likely to be transit users than older parents.
Photo by Gary H. Spielvogel