Such is the title of a new report that shows young Americans are forgoing cars for bikes and buses.
The report, issued by the U.S. Public Interest Group shows that from 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita—a drop of 23 percent.”
And in turn, in 2009, 16- to 34-year-olds as a whole took 24 percent more bike trips than they took in 2001, despite the age group actually shrinking in size by 2 percent.
And the report notes that between 2001 and 2009, higher income young Americans (16- to 34-year-olds who lived in households with annual incomes of over $70,000), increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.”
Given the continuing debate in both our national and state capitol over how to fund transportation and for what uses, the report shows that policy makes need to be aware of the shifts taking place and the preferences of growing numbers of Americans to have other options available aside from the automobile.
The report once again shows that the strategies and tools being advanced through the League's "Center for 21st Century Communities" program, toward creating communities that are walkable and contain multi-modal transportation options are indeed rooted in what the market is calling for.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail
A business environment that is supportive of entrepreneurs and small businesses is a key asset of 21st Century Communities. The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) recently released its newest Entrepreneurship Scorecard, which tracks Michigan’s progress in creating that environment. The report shows progress in a number of areas, but much work in this area remains to be done.
Two projects of the Michigan Municipal League were highlighted by SBAM as bright spots. The Economics of Place was cited several times, including on page 125, highlighting the connections between entrepreneurship, placemaking and economic growth. Our Green Communities program was mentioned on page 140 as a key driver of green economic development. Thank you to SBAM and the report's authors, Mark Clevey and Graham Toft, for the recognition and for continuing to push Michigan in new innovative directions.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him via email or Twitter.