individual preferences and lifestyles on young adults’ travel behavior in California.
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individual preferences and lifestyles on young adults’ travel behavior in California.

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    • Abstract:
      Young adults (“millennials”, or members of “Generation Y”) are increasingly reported to have

      different lifestyles and travel behavior from previous generations at the same stage in life. They

      postpone the time at which they obtain a driver’s license, often choose not to own a car, drive

      less if they own one, and use alternative non-motorized means of transportation more often.

      Several explanations have been proposed to explain the behaviors of millennials, including their

      preference for urban locations closer to the vibrant parts of a city, changes in household

      composition, and the substitution of travel for work and socializing with telecommuting and

      social media. However, research in this area has been limited by a lack of comprehensive data

      on the factors affecting millennials’ residential location and travel choices (e.g. information

      about individual attitudes, lifestyles and adoption of shared mobility is not available in the U.S.

      National Household Travel Survey and most regional household travel surveys).

      Improving the understanding of the factors and circumstances behind millennials’ mobility is of

      the utmost importance for scientific research and planning processes. Millennials make up a

      substantial portion of the population, and their travel and consumer behavior will have large

      effects on the future demand for travel and goods. Further, millennials are often early adopters

      of new trends and technologies; therefore, improving the understanding of millennials’ choices

      will increase the ability to understand and predict future trends at large.

      This study builds on a large research effort launched by the National Center for Sustainable

      Transportation to investigate the emerging transportation trends and the impacts of the

      adoption of new transportation technologies in California, particularly among the younger cohorts, i.e. millennials and the members of the preceding Generation X. During the previous

      stages of the research, we designed a detailed online survey that we administered in fall 2015

      to a sample of 2400 residents of California, including millennials (young adults, 18-34 in 2015)

      and Gen Xers (35-50 year-old adults). We used a quota sampling approach to recruit

      respondents from each age group (young millennials, older millennials, young Gen Xers, and

      older Gen Xers) across all combinations of major geographic region of California and

      neighborhood type (urban, suburban, and rural).

      The result is the California Millennials Dataset, a comprehensive dataset that contains

      information on the respondents’ personal attitudes; lifestyles; adoption of online social media

      and use of information and communication technology (ICT) devices and services; residential location and living arrangements; commuting and other travel patterns; auto ownership;

      awareness, adoption and frequency of use of various shared mobility services; major life events

      in the past three years; expectations for future events; propensity to purchase and use a private

      vehicle vs. to use other means of travel; political ideas, and sociodemographic traits.

      This report summarizes the analyses of the residential location, travel behavior and vehicle

      ownership of millennials and Gen Xers. In this stage of the research, we augmented the

      California Millennials Dataset with additional variables measuring land use and built

      environment characteristics from other sources including the U.S. Environmental Protection

      Agency’s Smart Location Dataset, and the walkscore, bikescore and transitscore from the

      commercial website walkscore.com. We weighted the data to correct the distribution of cases

      in the sample, and to reduce the non-representativeness of the data, based on the region of

      California where the respondents live, the neighborhood type, the age group, gender, student

      and employment status, household income, race and ethnicity, and presence of children in the

      household.

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