I am working on our annual Consultant Roundtable for the July issue. One interesting point that has been brought up by many in the industry is the optimism that ridership will continue to grow as baby boomers exit the workforce and are replaced by the younger generation who are more used to utilizing public transportation.
Recently, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor conducted a study on the driving habits of 16 to 39 year olds. The study found that the number of 17-year-olds that had a driver’s license dropped significantly over a period of 25 years, from 69% in 1983 to 50% in 2008. Meanwhile, American aged 20 to 24 saw a drop as well, from 92% in 1983 to 82% in 2008.
Further research conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) found that “Generation Y,” which refers to the generation aged 16 to 34, is driving less. According to the data, primarily culled from Census Bureau and other federal agency findings, between 2001 and 2009 the number of miles young people drove dropped from 10,300 on average to 7,900.
Conclusions drawn from the U.S. PIRG study are that young adults are driving less because of the increased cost of driving and a greater interest in environmental stewardship and personal fitness.
This is all good news for the public transportation industry. For years, the struggle for many agencies is making public transit a preferable option, rather than a last resort. Now, with many from Generation Y entering the workforce, the question seems to be are public transportation agencies prepared to handle and maintain the growth?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Rural transit getting a closer look," here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.