An occasional update on items from Motordom – the world of auto dominance

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“WHO NEEDS A CAR”

From the L.A. Times: “Smartphones are driving teens’ social lives”

Thirty years ago, nearly half of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license, their passport to independence. By 2010 that figure had dropped to 28%, according to research from the University of Michigan.

The cultural shift is largely the result of technology that keeps teens connectedFewer drivers to one another and the coolest new stuff without ever getting into a car. All the adolescent staples — music, movies, clothes, books — are available with a mouse click or smartphone swipe. …

This generation probably will buy fewer cars over their lifetime than their parents, concedes Jack Hollis, who heads marketing for the Toyota car brand in the U.S. That’s a function of competing interests, increased auto durability and recession-honed pragmatism. …

Part of the auto industry’s problem comes down to simple math. “A smartphone and the bill could be $100 a month. That’s a good portion of a car payment,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet’s director of small-car marketing. …

Ford Motor Co. is trying to recapture young buyers on college campuses by subsidizing rental rates for its vehicles available through car-sharing services such as Zipcar.

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MORE EVIDENCE FROM L.A.

From The Source:

UCLA recently released its annual State of the Commute report. The gist of it: even as enrollment has climbed in the past 20-plus years, the number of car trips to and from campus has fallen. The folks at UCLA credit this drop to several factors, most notably policies to encourage students and staff to take transit to campus or to carpool or vanpool.

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And this is all before rail transit has arrived at the Westwood campus.

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YOUTH LICENSING LOWEST SINCE 1963
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In 2011, the percentage of 16-to-24 year olds with driver’s licenses dipped to another new low. Just over two-thirds of these young Americans (67 percent) were licensed to drive in 2011, based on the latest licensing data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and population estimates from the Census Bureau. That’s the lowest percentage since at least 1963.

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The key question for anyone thinking about the future of the transportation system is whether today’s young people will continue to drive less as they get older and move on to new stages of life. The answer to that question doesn’t just depend on external factors such as the economy or even the preferences of the Millennials themselves.
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It also depends on public policy — specifically, the degree to which we are able to transform our transportation policy infrastructure from an effective machine for the building of lots of new roads into an efficient provider of the mix of flexible transportation options that Americans of all generations, but especially young Americans, now crave.

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