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Millennials do not rush to start driving and buying cars

Posted August 27, 2019

Remember when you first learned to drive and got your driver’s licence? That feeling of independence, a step into adulthood, and a huge wish to travel. However, something changes. Millennials don’t seem to want to drive. A new international study led by Monash University showed that Australian millennials do not prioritize starting driving.

Millennials don’t want to own and drive cars – part of the reason is urban lifestyle. Image credit: The Photographer via Wikimedia

Australian millennials take longer to learn to drive, commute using public transport and usually hold off from buying a car until later in life. Scientists compared the travel behaviour of young adults at different life stages and income levels in Melbourne, Brisbane, London, New York and Atlanta. Scientists detected more transit kilometers of millennials in all analysed cities. However, millennials really do not rush getting their driver’s licence – scientists estimate that at current rates only half of 18 to 23-year-olds in Melbourne will get a licence by 2025. Scientists say that millennials are driven away from owning a car due to economic, social and political factors as well as improvements in public transport infrastructure.

The study saw that bus and train usage are increasing significantly, especially in Melbourne – there transit use had increased 45 % since the 1990s. Users of the bus system are probably happy because of the high-frequency SmartBus network and there are more train users because of strong growth in jobs and housing in the city centre. However, public transportation doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle, especially in later stages.  Dr Alexa Delbosc, lead researcher of the study, said: “it appears that the transit supplied isn’t serving the needs of young adults in later life stages. Transit use in Brisbane shows the largest demographic gap of any case study, with students travelling 3862 more kilometres each year than parents of children”.

It is rather interesting, however, that scientists and governments want millennials to stop driving cars. In attempts to improve city air quality and combat global air pollution, we need to use more of public transport. However, scientists have no illusions – once millennials have children, they jump right into cars. Providing a comfortable lifestyle for your family and being more flexible in terms of time, routes and destination is very important.

Also, driving is fun. People may not agree, but it is. You get to choose the route, speed and people you travel with. It is your car, your music and a huge amounts of luggage space. It is convenient and gives you lots of independence. Therefore, it is unlikely that we will reach a stage in our societal development where driving is going to be a rare skill. Well, until autonomous cars take over.


Source: Monash University

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