Prepared by: US PIRG
America is in the midst of a technological revolution … and a big shift in our transportation habits.
Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996.
Both changes have taken place most rapidly among young Americans, who have been the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of new technologies, as well as the new social networking tools that are the foundation of the emerging “sharing economy.” They have also been the group that has reduced its driving the most, with the average American between 16 and 34 years of age driving a startling 23 percent less in 2009 than in 2001.
Could these developments – the rapid spread of mobile, Internet-connected technologies, the emergence of social networking, and the recent decline in driving – be related? And what does the future hold?