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Taken together, these trends lend credence to the idea that Millennials are increasingly “going nowhere.”
Our analysis demonstrates that both of the theories about the causes of the decline in driving among Millennials are true: Declining travel is due to changing attitudes and perspectives about driving as well as lifestyle changes such as increased schooling, decreased employment, and delay in marriage and childbearing.
This analysis provides evidence of a long-term decrease in automobility that started in the late 1990s with younger members of Gen X and has continued with the Millennial generation. The decrease in driving has not been accompanied by an increase in other modes of travel or a decline in average trip length, meaning that younger Americans are increasingly going fewer places.So there you have it. McDonald’s work isn’t likely to put the debate about Millennial driving habits to rest, but it does add a highly informed layer to the discussion. And her advice about what planners and cities can do while all the data points find their place—encourage alternative travel modes, and improve forecasts about driving trends—is sound regardless of the exact reasons behind the shifts.