Millennials and the future of transportation: optimizing technology

June 6th, 2016 | by Diptii Tiiku, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing | Posted in: Insight on Things

millennials transportation

It is no secret that car ownership among Millennials, people between the ages of 18 – 34, has significantly declined over the past few years. And while it is commonly believed that Millennials aren’t buying cars due to cost considerations, as they grow older and more affluent they continue to prefer multi-modal transportation over private vehicle ownership. This generation is different from any other because a car no longer impacts their freedom or defines their personal identity. Instead of worrying about gas, insurance or parking, Millennials prefer to work, to socialize and to enjoy entertainment on mobile devices while riding public transit. Reliable transportation options coordinated by the latest technological innovations are crucial to attracting Millennials and improving the future of transportation.

And why do Millennials matter?

Born between the early 1980s and 2000, Millennials number 75 million and are now the largest generation in the U.S. According to Experian Marketing Services, as they grow older they increasingly influence consumer affairs such as fashion, media and transportation. Because their yearly average discretionary spend is $11,317, they are a hot target for retailers and marketers.

While economics still influences Millennial transportation decisions, technology and a preference for urban living are bigger factors. Millennials prefer multiple modes of transportation, often basing their preferences on the weather, social opportunities or the length of the trip. They may walk to a bus stop or bike to work and ride a subway home. The stereotype of a young person who only uses mass transit until they can afford a car is not true anymore.

According to a study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), “Millennials and Mobility” this generation ranks public transit and biking as much more preferable than owning a car. They want transportation optimized for family and work needs and demand the freedom to choose different options. Many believe these different modes of transportation help reduce their carbon footprint and are better for the environment. Since Millennials are now used to letting someone else do the driving, 40% of them stated that they like to work as they travel. 46% stated the need to save money as a factor that drove their transportation choices while 44% wanted exercise and 35% said they use multi-modal travel because it is convenient or they live in a public transportation friendly community.

Millennials are also the first generation to grow up with the hyper-connected world and embrace technology far more than any of the past generations. The Experian Marketing Services article notes that over 50% of Millennials don’t mind paying more for the latest technology or helping others learn it. This generation uses their love of technology and their willingness to be early adopters as they travel, often using smart–phone apps to help them get around better.

According to the APTA study, innovations in transportation must address the following trends.

  1. Environmental issues
  2. Share-based options, such as ride or bike shares
  3. The ability for riders to work anywhere, at any time
  4. Social connections, both in offline and online

The study notes that public transportation needs full technological optimization to gain an advantage with younger riders. Because they are used to the latest innovations, Millennials don’t want to wait for slow connections between different modes of transportation. Many forms of transportation in cities are uncoordinated. Riders have to study schedules and connections and hope they get where they are going on time. Millennials want to see the following transportation benefits in the next ten years:

  • 44% – more intuitive and user-friendly ways to travel
  • 61% – increased reliability transit systems
  • 55% – real-time updates
  • 55% – WiFi or 3G/4G wherever they are

Clearly, taking full advantage of technology is going to be key to keeping Millennials multi-modal. Transportation of the future needs to be integrated, efficient and autonomous. As we see it high capacity and high speed public transportation will continue to serve as the backbone of the transportation system with on-demand and dynamic transit services serving to solve the first and last mile problem. Transit agencies and cities will need to work with private players to create an integrated system that will ensure a seamless travel experience for Millennials in the coming years.

At RideCell we have built technology that not only automates all operational tasks involved in running large transportation systems but our mobility platform can combine data from mobility apps, infrastructure operators, transit operators, and sensors into a unified view. For cities, RideCell’s dynamic mobility analytics engine allows them to make data driven policy, infrastructure, and technology decisions by providing a real-time, holistic view of the public and private transportation services that constitute the multi-modal transportation fabric of their city. Click here to learn more about how RideCell can help you optimize your transportation service.

Author: Deepti Tiku, Director of Marketing, RideCell

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