The Millennial Generation, those born between 1982 and 2003, is the largest and most diverse generation in American history. According to Millennial Makeover, a seminal volume on generational change, 40% of Millennials are African American, Latino, Asian or racially-mixed compared to only 25% of the next two older generations.
Millennials are also living through times of economic dislocation and technological change. History shows that the combination of technological change, such as the advent of smartphone technology, television, or radio; combined with macro forces that shape behaviors, such as the Great Recession, the Great Depression, or World War II can lead to societal change that can last generations.
It is in this context that Millennials, with their relative propensity for urban lifestyle components (whether they live in cities or in suburbs), dexterity with technology, while starting careers during economically constrained times can leave a lasting impact on society. In fact, they are already driving trends.
Public transportation options are considered the best for digital socializing and among the most likely to connect the user with their communities. Transit also allows Millennials to work as they travel, a trend noted by 40% of those polled. These benefits of public transit need to be fully leveraged by the industry, as they provide a clear competitive advantage.
Reasons and motivations for transportation choices are pragmatic, with 46% stating that a need to save money drives their choices; 46% also note convenience, 44% want exercise, and 35% say they live in a community where it just makes more sense to use transit.
Millennials would like to see in the next ten years: 1) 61% more reliable systems, 2) 55% real-time updates, 3) 55% Wi-Fi or 3G/4G wherever they go, 4) 44% a more user-friendly and intuitive travel experience. Fully leveraging technology, through real-time transit applications that connect users with community amenities, through smartphone fare payment, and the provision of WiFi and 3G/4G, will allow transit users to be more spontaneous, thus addressing the key competitive advantage of the car.
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