Are young adults’ choice of travel mode changing?
Keywords: Young Drivers
Changes in travel mode choices among young adults have been observed in Europe and North America with marked declines in the percentages of those with drivers’ licences. Declines in licensing rates have the potential to affect future transportation needs, preferences for non-driving transport modes, vehicle purchases, road safety and the environment. This study aimed to identify any changes in population-based driver and motorcycling licensing rates among young adults in Victoria, Australia. Licensing data for all Victorian adults from 2001-2014 was tabulated with ABS population data to examine age-related trends in licensing rates. The results indicated that driver licensing rates among Victorians aged 18-30 years have declined since 2001. In 2014, over 40% of 18-21 year old Victorians did not have a driver’s licence. This licensing decline was accompanied by substantial increases in the proportions of licensed drivers aged over 50 years, indicating that the decline is specific to young adults. The licensing data also revealed that motorcycling licensing rates have increased during recent years across most age groups in Victoria. However young adults aged 18-25 years have the highest rates of motorcycle only licences, with motorcycling only licensing rates increasing most notably among 22-25 year olds. Potential implications of such changes in travel modes include reduced road infrastructure revenue and costs, reduced traffic congestion, environmental benefits and reduced road deaths and injuries, but also a need for safer infrastructure for motorcycling and other travel modes.