The ongoing debate about why young Americans are driving less than they once did, and whether or not that trend will continue, often treats all Millennials as the same. Either they drive or they don’t. Either they’ve embraced the multi-modal mindset of city life or they’re just biding time until they become their car-reliant suburban parents.
The truth is that young people, just like actual people, belong to a mobility spectrum ranging from driving-heavy to driving-lite. Right now that scale is still strongly tipped toward the driving-heavy end, even among Millennials. But young people have slid away from car habits in recent years, if only modestly, according to new research from incoming Rutgers planning scholar Kelcie Ralph.