Young People Buying Tech Instead of Cars

Cars may rein supreme in cities, but cracks in their supremacy are beginning to show. While car makers compete to build cars cheap enough to put drivers in poorer countries behind the wheel, a small but growing revolution is heading a more sustainable direction.

Cities are designed for cars, as anyone who bicycles or walks can attest. But the crush of traffic is making a lot of people shift gears.The Globe and Mail reports:

Finding themselves caught in an uncomfortable tangle of urban sprawl, population growth and plain individual inconvenience, people, one by one, are just quietly opting out.

It cannot happen too soon. More than time is lost as cars inch along in traffic jams. Vehicles run less efficiently and spew pollutants. Drivers breathe fetid air. Tempers flare.  Then, too, billions of dollars pour into fossil fuel extraction, mining for materials needed in manufacturing, repair facilities and insurance. With almost seven billion people on the planet, a large percentage of them driving, the economic and environmental costs are enormous.

Car Use Declining

In 2011, researchers in the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute of Perth, Australia, discovered people in eight countries were using their cars less. The Brookings Institution found a similar decline in the U.S. in a study published in 2009.

Young people are a large segment of those abandoning car travel. According to the U.K.’s New Statesman:

Indeed, it seems fewer young people nowadays harbour the ambition to drive. Between 1992 and 2007, the proportion of 17-to-20-year-olds holding a driving licence fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent and that of 21-to-29-year-olds from 75 per cent to 66 per cent .

The costs of motoring are doubtless a factor. For instance, according to an AA study, the average annual cost of car insurance for a 17-to-22-year-old man is £2,457. But young people aren’t simply swapping cars for buses or bikes; they are choosing to own and use other technology instead, such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Boomers are another demographic segment likely to be driving less in future. Most people cut their driving by half after retirement.

Cities with Fewer Cars

Peak car use has major implications for urban planners. As more people opt to cycle or walk to work and services, they will demand better corridors for public transit, cycling and walkways. If they live in suburbs, they will expect to shop and work closer to home.

“Peak oil” carries a hint of loss. “Peak car” sounds like a gain — for harried commuters, traffic-clogged cities, and the planet we share. Maybe cities of the future will be quieter and friendlier. Connecting with another pedestrian is easier than being friendly with a passing car.

Related Care2 Stories

6 Tips to Free Yourself from a Car

Riding a Bike Could Save Your Life (Infographic)

City Seeks to Outlaw Bicycles and Pedestrians

Photo from tejvanphotos via Flickr Creative Commons

12 comments

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago

Thanks.

No Body
Chi Warrior4 years ago

off and out with the cars and on and up with the bicycle or newer trike. I myself would prefer a greenspeed gte

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago

thanks

Steve R.
Steve R.4 years ago

Now if only they had showers in my office when I get to work with smelly sweat dripping off me!

Maybe if we ALL smell bad - we won't notice it so much?

Okay - let me go talk to my boss who lives 25 miles away and tell him he should get a bike!

I wish LOGIC was "green"..... there might be more of it!

William K.
William K.4 years ago

Thank the oil companies for driving oil prices so high.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin4 years ago

I'm actually thinking about buying a recumbent bike as a means to go get groceries. Aldis is only 5 miles from my house. =)

Magdalena K.
Past Member 4 years ago

thanks

Lola H.
Lola H.4 years ago

Good to learn that a greater power of bikes & feet is gaining popularity among the young! Lx

Bob P.
Bob P.4 years ago

thanks for the article good to see this is happening there may be hope yet