Are the youth of today favoring fixies over Fords? A study conducted by the Frontier Group shows that Americans, especially young Americans, are driving less. The study tracked total use of automobiles across the US and found that total car use peaked around the middle of the last decade. This shift has been largely led by people aged 16–34, whose total car travel has reportedly decreased 23% since 2004.
While the study reviewed several forms of alternative transport, a radical increase in biking is a significant cause of this shift, particularly with the younger generation. Young people were found to be biking as much as 24% more in 2009 than they were in 2001. Interestingly, the study also put forward that the increase in bike use owed as much to conscientious lifestyle choice as it did to economics. In other words, not only is biking cheaper and more accessible to young people than owning a car, it’s also popular because of the benefits that come with it. Changes in communication technology, driving laws and rising fuel costs were also seen as significant factors. That said, even young people with higher incomes are more likely to bike than they were at the turn of the century. This trend shows an important shift in the perceptions surrounding cycling in American culture and could bode well for alternative transportation policy.