As reported by Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) journal Public Square, educated, high-earning young adults have typically had money for cars, and historically they drove the most.
But now that group (mid-20s to mid-30s) is seeking the benefits of urban life; gaining better access to transit, enjoying shorter travel distances, and seeking more opportunities for walking and biking, which lessens their need to drive, are all part of this group’s lifestyle, reports the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI).
A SSTI analysis shows how that trend is impacting driving, as measured by vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita.
Young adults with incomes over $100,000 drive far less than they did in 2001, though they still drive more than the average for all adults. Likewise, the group aged 26 to 33 earning from $50,000 to $100,000 is also getting behind the wheel less often.
Meanwhile, lower-income young adults have seen a surge in driving since 2009, even though they can probably least afford it. That group, mostly without college degrees, is locating in suburban and rural areas.


  1. The yellow data point of 0 in 2009 seems to be a mistake.
    Of course urban affluent yuppies drive less.

  2. I am not sure that much can be confidently drawn from the graphs in this report. I note that the vertical ordinal reflects the relationship to the survey average distance driven, with “0” representing that average. Since this is a moving average over a number of years the actual distance traveled isn’t shown. Plus there have been a bunch of statistical manipulations used in creating the graphs. Quoting from the
    research report
    ” ¹VMT per capita is based on weighted total estimates of VMT and persons. Weights annualize the travel-day trip mileage while adjusting for MSA type, race, ethnicity, sex, travel month, and day of week. None of the values depicted here is based on fewer than 1,000 survey responses.”

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