It is our position that the automobile seems to be taking a back seat as the primary form of transportation among the new generation. The August 2012 issue of Motor Trend magazine reported that young people are showing a remarkable decrease in the desire to own a car and even to drive a car. Based on a Frontier Group study, “Transportation and the New Generation” by Benjamin Davis and Tony Dutzik, the article notes that the share of 14- to 34-year-olds without a driver’s license was 26 percent in 2010, up from 21 percent in 2000. The same age group walked to more destinations in ’09 than in ’01, and the distance they traveled by public transit increased 40 percent.
While these statistics among the younger generation are interesting, is a decline in automobile use realistic among the sprawl of the suburbs? Access to the Monon Trail, an increased number of well-marked bike lanes and more sidewalks along main thoroughfares is a good start. More communities (i.e. Frankfort) have adopted Complete Streets policies that promote integrated transportation planning for all modes of transportation; cars, transit, bikes, pedestrians, etc. Mass transit discussions are taking flight, however, can old dogs learn new tricks in their lifetimes by embracing walkable communities?