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Why transportation planners should be cautious

July 19, 2013

I missed this report in The Sun when it came out, but this should give anyone pause who extrapolates past trends to predict the driving future.

Fewer drivers among urban youth in Metro Vancouver

Only 50 per cent of young people aged 16-19 and 80 per cent of those 20-29 had a driver’s licence in 2011 — down from 60 per cent and 90 per cent respectively in 1999 — according to TransLink’s latest trip diary, which surveyed almost 18,000 households on their commuting patterns, including how many trips they made in a 24-hour period.

The trend is more pronounced in transit-rich cities like Burnaby and Vancouver, which have more residents in the 20-39 age group than the rest of Metro and recorded the highest volume of transit trips in 2011. …

 There’s no specific reasons given for the decline, but the TransLink analysis suggests it could be attributed to several factors, including a combination of the graduated licensing program and TransLink’s U-Pass program — a cheap universal pass that gives students access to bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services within Metro Vancouver — or a “generational behaviour change because of shifts in values and attitudes.”

Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun, March 20

.

Ah, U-Pass: the little card that does for transit what we’ve tried to do for the car – to make the next trip seem to be free.

And whatever age or interest, we all love ‘free.’ 

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