Carless or car later? Declining car ownership of millennial households in the Puget sound region, Washington state

Laitian Zhong, Bumsoo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Driving has been declining since the mid-2000s after six decades of constant growth, and millennials are allegedly leading the trend. This study investigates the decline of car mobility by using vehicle ownership data in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, where transit ridership is increasing faster than in most other large metropolitan areas. Poisson regression and simple simulation results show that millennial-specific impacts such as changing location and mobility preferences were associated with about 15% to 32% of the reduction in car ownership by young adults between 2002 and 2014; this impact is comparable to the effect of sociodemographic shifts (20% to 28%) and the impact of lowering income and employment (16% to 24%). The combination of the increasing influence of urban form and the increasing share of young adults living in compact neighborhoods was associated with the remaining 6% to 7% of the change. These findings suggest that declining car mobility observed in the past decade or so is likely to persist in coming decades, and the trend will be reinforced where smart growth policies to make more livable and sustainable cities receive further momentum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Volume2664
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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