How Millennials Will Shape the Future of Transportation

Comprising those in their late teens to early thirties, Millennials are the nation’s largest generation, shaping lifestyle trends now and for future generations to come. As Millennials are moving to cities, urban communities and driving less, they are increasingly relying on public transit, walking and biking as alternative forms of transportation.

According to a recent report released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, “between 2001 and 2009, the average number of miles driven by 16 to 34 year-olds dropped by 23 percent, as a result of young people taking fewer  trips, shorter trips, and a larger share of trips by modes other than driving.” There are a number of factors that could be contributing to this generation becoming less “car-focused” than previous generations, including socioeconomic shifts, technological changes and shifts in consumer preferences.

With such a large shift taking place, it is important that transit agencies do their part to encourage this group of riders to continue to embrace this lifestyle. Like anyone else, people from the Millennial generation are looking for transit that is easy, fast and reliable, but for this generation, technology is a key part of the transit experience and should be considered as a way to provide a more satisfying ridership experience.

This influential generation is also known for being early adopters of new technologies, and for incorporating technology in almost every aspect of their lives. They expect technology to be available whenever and wherever they go. With this increasing demand and influx of riders, agencies should consider:

  • Digital signage – Riders will want to be able to access real time information and updates. With digital signage, agencies can provide live mapping, announce upcoming stops/delays and provide emergency notifications. The American Public Transportation Association found that “55 percent of Millennials surveyed in selected cities would like to see real-time updates from their transit agency within the next 10 years and the same percentage desire Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connectivity while in transit”.
  • Connectivity – Providing Internet connectivity can also help make transit more appealing to riders. Particularly for long commutes to and from work, Wi-Fi connectivity can help riders be more productive. Beyond work purposes, Millennials are used to living in an always-connected environment and demand the same from their public transportation agency.
  • Upgraded security – As ridership increases and the demand for public transit rises, so will incidents of crimes. Agencies need to prepare by adopting reliable video surveillance technology that can provide security and safety to riders and withstand the harsh environment of a moving bus, train or station platform. Clear HD images, anti-vibration capabilities, and video analytics are all features that agencies should consider when selecting their security solutions to ensure they are prepared for growing numbers of riders.

As transit agencies develop their planning for the upcoming year, they should be sure to consider the transportation habits and needs of Millennials. By investing in technologies that will serve the desires of this group and function to offer the security needs of a growing ridership, agencies can provide the services and security their customers are looking for both now and in the future.