The largest generation in U.S. history—which is also the most multimodal—could be a game changer for public transportation and the U.S. transportation network.
Nearly 70 percent of the Millennial generation, those persons between 18 and 34 years old, use multiple travel options at least
several times per week, according to a new study released by APTA at its Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset shows that, while car-sharing, bike-sharing, walking, and car ownership will play their parts in the multimodal network, public transportation is ranked highest as the best mode to connect to all other modes, according to 54 percent of those surveyed. In addition, the recent trend of smart phone applications allow public transit users to be increasingly spontaneous and flexible with their travel decisions.
“Public transportation is the backbone of a multimodal transportation system because it provides the opportunity to multitask and socialize online while traveling,” said APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer, The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI. “This study shows that Millennials are leading a trend of Americans who are returning to walkable cities and suburbs with multiple transportation options that include vibrant public transportation. This data is proof positive that America’s future is riding on public transportation.”
According to the study, the top five reasons and motivations for this population to choose public transportation are pragmatic: 46 percent state that a need to save money drives their choices, the same percentage notes convenience, 44 percent want exercise, 35 percent say they live in a community where using public transportation just makes more sense, and 34 percent state their support for the environment.
“Now is the time to be proactive in creating this multimodal transportation system to address the Millennial generation’s demands and lifestyles,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “This generation wants the pragmatic benefits of having multiple ways to get around. The solution is investment in a long-term transportation bill that includes strong investments in a variety of modes including public transportation.”
Millennials say the key advantages of public transportation is the ability to pay per use (58 percent), protecting the environment (50 percent), the ability to socialize online (44 percent), and creating community (44 percent).
Because of the future demands of this Millennial generation, transportation systems—and public transportation systems in particular—are likely to be built around the smartphone. APTA anticipates adoption of features such as smartphone charging stations on board vehicles and at facilities; fare collection via smart phone; Wi-Fi, 4G, and 3G access; apps that connect public transit access to local amenities; seamless multimodal connections such as bike and car share options; and improved pedestrian access to public transit stations.
To download the report, click here