Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published July 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Page modified July 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (3)
  • Print

Is car culture coming to an end in Seattle?

Seattle Times news librarian

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
Is car culture coming to an end in Seattle? Nope MORE
Wait until they have kids, with soccer gear, friends who live across town, and groceri... MORE
Can someone help me with the 'data' percentages? Why do they add up to over 100% for... MORE

advertising

FYI Guy

America’s love affair with the automobile may have finally hit a dead end, according to a recent article in The New York Times. It’s a bold claim, but the data back it up.

The number of miles driven in the United States peaked in 2005 and has been steadily declining since.

In particular, younger people have turned their backs on the car. They are much less likely to get a driver’s license than previous generations, and they don’t romanticize cars in the way that their parents did. Their love affair is with smartphones, not cars.

Is there evidence of this trend at the local level?

Data firm Scarborough Research surveys thousands of people in the Seattle metropolitan area on the ways they get around. The data indicate that among younger people here, there has indeed been a shift away from driving — and it’s happening at a fast pace.

Today, 80 percent of adults under 35 in the Seattle metropolitan area say that driving is a primary mode of transportation for them. In 2008 — just five years ago — that number was at 90 percent.

In this same time, there have been significant increases in the percentage of young people here who walk in town at least one mile per week, and who regularly ride the bus.

By comparison, among those 35 and older in the Seattle area, the amount of driving, walking, and bus riding has remained static between 2008 and 2013.

It may sound premature to declare the end of the automobile to anyone who has to suffer though Seattle rush-hour traffic. But the data suggest that a fundamental shift is under way in the attitude toward personal mobility among younger people — in Seattle and around the nation.

Gene Balk: gbalk@seattletimes.com or 206-515-5052. On Twitter: @genebalk

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Subscribe today!

Subscribe today!

Get 8 weeks of digital access to The Seattle Times for $1

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►