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It seems like the younger generation does just about everything online: shop, watch movies and even find dates. A new study shows that online services are even helping people drive less.
Public interest research group Maryland PIRG found that transportation apps and vehicle-sharing apps such as Zipcar have made it easier for Americans to drive less.
The report concludes that young people's attitudes toward driving are changing. The study defined this group as between the ages of 16 and 34. These young adults drove 23 percent less in 2009 than in 2001.
“Personal auto ownership used to be the clear ticket to mobility,” said Joanna Guy at Maryland PIRG Foundation. “For Baby Boomers, driving your car represented freedom and spontaneity. But today — especially for younger people — owning a car increasingly represents big expenses and parking hassles. Technology and vehicle-sharing services have started to make it easier not to own a car or for households to own fewer. Public transit systems, especially with on-board wi-fi and real-time apps, can be the backbone of this new mobility.”
Some students at Frederick Community College are right with the trend.
Andrew Bautista, a North Caroline State University student taking classes online, visited FCC on Thursday. He said that he does just about everything online, from banking to checking bus schedules.
Bautista, 21, does not have a license, he said, so whether he is checking his university's bus routes or buying a Greyhound ticket to travel, he uses the Internet.
"The easiest thing for me to do is get online," Bautista said.
Having access to online services has made it much easier to get around without a license, he said.
Even students that have a regular ride to school reap the benefits of online mapping services.
Sean Dennis, a 17-year-old student who plans to study chemistry and secondary education, relies on Google Maps to get around.
His mother usually drives him to campus, he said. When he needs to find a bus or figure out how long it will take to walk somewhere, he goes online.
"I walk a lot," Dennis said. "I use Google Maps for that."
Other students followed TransIT on Twitter or downloaded the schedule for reference.
The Maryland PIRG study noted that Americans have been driving less per-person for eight years in a row and driving fewer total miles over 2005. In Maryland, people have reduced their driving miles by 4.1 percent per person since 2007, the report states
Read the full report at uspirg.org/reports/usp/new-way-go.
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