AUSTIN (KXAN) - A research study released from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group suggests more 16- to 34-year-olds are choosing to ditch their cars and either walk, ride bicycles or use public transportation instead.
Between 2001 and 2009, the U.S. PIRG showed a 23 percent decrease in the number of 18- to 34-year-old drivers. In that same age range, there was also a 16 percent increase in the number of walkers, 24 percent increase in the number of bicyclists and a 40 percent increase in those choosing to use public transportation.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, from 2000 to 2010, the share of 14- to 34-year-olds without a driver's license increased from 21 percent to 26 percent.
The U.S. PIRG cited several possible contributing factors for the increases:
- fuel prices which have more than doubled since 2001
- changes in state driving laws between 1996 and 2006 in which Graduated Drivers' Licensing laws were enacted to ensure driver safety, but which also makes it more challenging to get a certificate
- better technology like websites and smart phone apps, which makes public transportation more accessible
"I moved here in December without a car and currently am walking to work everyday," said Jessica Tunon, who lives in Downtown Austin. "It was a lot to do with the carbon copy and not really making that kind of imprint and trying to recycle and healthier for the environment. And also for myself. When I walk more, I feel better."
For those who don't work and live in the downtown area, using a bicycle or walking to get around is more of a challenge.
"I have a sales job, so I'm on the road 8 to 5. So yeah, I would love to be able to ride my bike or walk, but my neighborhood unfortunately doesn't permit me to do that," said Erin Kotzur.
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