Millennial Travelers Are More Multimodal than Older Travelers, but This Trend Might Change as They Age

Millennials, those who were born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, tend to have different travel patterns than the members of the preceding generations when they were at the same age. Among various dimensions of millennial travel, multimodality—the use of multiple travel modes— has important implications for transportation sustainability. Prior research has found that members of this generation travel more by walking, bicycling, and riding public transit. Further, multimodal travelers are usually better informed about and more sensitive to level-of-service attributes of various modes than are habitual users of single modes (especially cars). Therefore, exploring trends in multimodality among millennials could inform policymakers’ efforts to encourage more sustainable travel modes for millennials and shed light on how they might respond to policy interventions.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, compared millennials’ travel behavior to that of members of the preceding Generation X by analyzing data collected from 1,069 California commuters. The researchers analyzed the effects of individual attributes on the likelihood of different components of travel behavior, including multimodal travel. This policy brief summarizes the findings of that research and provides policy implications.