Policy and Literature Review on the Effect Millennials Have on Vehicle Miles Traveled, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and the Built Environment

Research Team: Doug Houston (lead), Stephen G. Ritchie, and Michelle E. Zuñiga

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: The driving habits of U.S. millennials has been identified as having a dampening effect on automobile ownership and passenger vehicle miles travelled (VMT). There is little available information or research to enable a quantification of this effect, and its potential magnitude in future decades. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) need more information to be able to model or otherwise estimate the impact of this effect on regional VMT and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, for purposes of their Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) under SB 375.

Project Description: This policy and literature review project provides a synthesis and discussion of recent policy reports and literature regarding the millennial effect and identifies the prominent themes and gaps in our knowledge. The first section of the report reviews existing research on the millennial effect on vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The second section discusses the influence of the built environment on the travel and activities of the millennial generation. The third section highlights scenarios describing the millennials effect’s potential magnitude and identifies topics for consideration in future scenario planning efforts. The final section discusses the uncertainty that exists regarding the future behavior of millennials and their influence on VMT and greenhouse gas emissions.

Status: Completed

Budget: $28,575