"For generations, the automobile has typified freedom," Bergquist said. "At 16, many people wanted to get their driver's license because that was the way people connected with their friends." Now, she said, "We're seeing people connect through their iPhones. That's their primary motivation _ they want to be in touch with their friends, so they are less focused on buying a vehicle."
Not surprisingly, the number of miles young Americans drive every year has also been declining as measured by the Transportation Department's National Household Travel Survey. From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle miles traveled by drivers 16 to 34 years old decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita _ a drop of 23 percent, Thursday's report said.
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University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute: http://www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php
U.S. PIRG Education Fund: http://www.uspirgedfund.org/