The National Academies

TCRP J-11/Task 17 [Final]

Serving the Mobility Preferences of Generation Y

  Project Data
Funds: $49,951
Research Agency: Latitude Research
Principal Investigator: Neela Sakaria
Effective Date: 11/1/2012
Completion Date: 7/30/2013


Generation Y or the Millennial Generation are terms that describe people born in the early 1980s through the 1990s. Recent research suggests that this age cohort may differ from older generations in places of residence and travel habits. Specifically, many adults in their 20s and early 30s frequently live in cities and travel less by automobile than past generations did at that age. Younger adults increasingly make more trips by public transportation, car sharing, bicycling, and walking, and they often telecommute for work or shop on-line, thus avoiding many trips.
Some argue that the changes in residential location and travel preferences of younger adults are an anomaly, precipitated by recent economic factors including higher unemployment rates and gasoline prices that make auto ownership and travel by automobile less affordable, and in many cases, impossible. Others argue that personal priorities – such as concerns for health and the environment, dislike of suburban lifestyles, and a desire to avoid lengthy auto trips on congested highways – are factors influencing younger adults’ residential location and travel behavior choices. Regardless of the forces at work, recent research suggests that younger adults may be an important market that transit agencies should nurture.


The objectives of this research project were to (1) explain trends in residential location, life style, and travel behavior of Generation Y and examine their implications for public transportation and (2) present strategies that transit agencies can pursue to promote increased and sustained use of public transportation by Generation Y. The strategies, which should be targeted to younger adults, may include enhancements to services, increased emphasis on multi-modal connections (e.g., bike-share and car-sharing programs), new technology (e.g., real-time arrival information, fare collection systems, passenger feedback mechanisms), additional passenger amenities, and innovative marketing practices.

This project is complete and has been published as Web Only Document 61. 


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