Nearly 70% of millennials, people 18 to 34, use multiple travel options several times or more per week, according to a new American Public Transportation Association (APTA) study “Millennials and Mobility.”
The study shows that while car-sharing, bike-sharing, walking and car ownership will all play a part in the multimodal network, public transportation is ranked highest as the best mode to connect to all other modes, according to 54% of millennials polled.
APTA officials note that the recent trend of smartphone applications allows public transit users to be increasingly spontaneous and flexible with their travel decisions. This is a game-changing element because it closes the gap with the perceived benefit of auto use.
“Public transportation is the backbone of a multi-modal transportation system because it provides the opportunity to multi-task and socialize online while traveling,” said APTA Chair Peter Varga. “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 choosing public transportation are pragmatic, as 46% state that a need to save money drives their choices, 46% note convenience, 44% want exercise and 35% say they live in a community where it just makes more sense to use public transportation.
“Now is the time to be proactive in creating this multi-modal 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 are the ability to pay-per-use (58%), protecting the environment (50%), the ability to socialize online (44%) and creating community (44%).
Because of the future demands of this millennial generation, transportation systems and public transportation systems in particular, will be built around the smart phone. APTA anticipates adoption of features such as: smartphone charging stations on vehicles and facilities; fare collection via smartphone; 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.