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Colorado Youth Driving Less and Less

Nathan Heffel
Bikes on the Auraria Campus in Denver. More and more young people are choosing to ride a bike than drive a car.

A new report released Thursday by a Colorado consumer advocacy group finds Coloradans have been driving less since the middle of last decade.  In fact, young people in particular are decreasing the amount they drive, and increasing their use of other means to get around town.

For the first time since World War 2, Americans are driving less and less. And it’s not because of the economy and high gas prices. Danny Katz is director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

“You look at now, and more and more young people are wanting a good smart phone, the ability to get on line, and that’s starting to surpass the value young people are putting on cars.”

Young people drove 20% fewer miles in 2009 than their counterparts did in 2001. And overall, Americans drove 6% fewer miles last year than in 2004.

Katz says emerging technology is simplifying how young people access public transportation and bike paths. And ride share programs are allowing them to get more places without the need of a car.

He says this trend will continue as the younger generation matures, and state policy makers need to focus more resources on alternative transportation and smart pedestrian-friendly urban development.

A .PDF file of the report can be found here. 

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