Will millennials save the planet? : generational trends in vehicle ownership & use
Author(s)Murphy, Elizabeth Anne,S.M.Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Generational trends in vehicle ownership & use
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.
Technology and Policy Program.
MetadataShow full item record
Anecdotes that Millennials are fundamentally different from prior generations are prevalent in the American media. One claim often repeated is that Millennials, happy to rely on public transit or ride-hailing, will not purchase personal vehicles. This claim has the potential to both upset the economy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from transportation. This work explores Millennials' preferences for personal vehicles from a quantitative approach utilizing data from the US National Household Travel Survey, Census, and American Community Survey to determine whether observed decreases in vehicle ownership and use by Millennials are due to shifts in preferences, or if demographic changes have altered Millennials' consumer behaviors. I employ econometric techniques to explicitly compare Millennials' vehicle ownership and use to prior generations without the confounding effect of demographic variables using linear regressions, Oaxaca decomposition, and nearest neighbor matching estimators. Additionally, the underlying demographic differences between generations are explored with econometric approaches. The findings from these analyses indicate no significant difference in preferences for vehicle ownership between Millennials and prior generations when confounding variables are controlled, and a preference for higher use in terms of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by Millennials. The difference in observed vehicle ownership and use arises from both age effects and different underlying demographics. Millennials may be saving the planet with their changing demographics, not because they are fundamentally rejecting personal vehicle ownership and use.
Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, 2018Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-124).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Technology and Policy Program.