There has been considerable publicity to the effect that younger people are driving less than before. In fact, however, among the 16-25 age cohort, solo driving is up as a share of total work trips. According to the 2011 American Community Survey, the share of 16-25 year olds commuting alone by car was 69.6 percent, up from 66.9 percent as reported in 2000 (CTPP) data.
Transit commuting was also up, from 5.4 percent to 5.8 percent, mirroring the national increase for all ages from 4.6 percent to 5.0 percent. Working at home nearly doubled, with 2.6 percent of workers in the 16-25 age cohort working at home. Working at home is the most sustainable form of employment access, because it eliminates the work trip (see Figure).
There are various theories that may explain the surveyed reduction in overall travel by car among 16-25 year olds. Perhaps the most important factor is the near doubling in the unemployment rate for 16-25s. There is also the possibility that, as in commuting, virtual access is replacing travel as circles of friend become more identified though mobile phone and the internet than by physical access. This, of course, suggests greater efficiency, as younger people may be living more rewarding lives, while traveling less.