Millennial travel behavior

Project Overview

Millennials are driving less than older generations did at the same life stage. This decline in automobile use has been attributed to many factors such as high unemployment and debt, substitution of online communication for physical mobility, and changing attitudes about car ownership.


Is this the full set of relevant factors?  What is the relative importance of each? Are these trends permanent changes in attitudes toward the automobile, or will Millennials revert to more traditional driving patterns as their demographic and economic circumstances change? The answers to these questions have important implications for travel demand management policies as well as forecasts of future gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Through qualitative interviews and a nationwide survey, this project seeks to empirically explore which factors influence current transportation behavior and distinguish Millennials from other generations.

Project Team

Tom Lyon, PhD (PI, University of Michigan)

Kim Wolske, PhD (Co-PI, University of Chicago) - Lead researcher for quantitative surveys 

Wren Montgomery, PhD (University of Windsor) - Lead researcher for qualitative interviews

Student Research Assistants:

Sara Goto, University of Michigan

Lauren Highleyman, University of Michigan

Manyi Wang, University of Chicago

Lucas Amormino, University of Windsor


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Latest News

May 25, 2017

Tom Lyon giving a preview of our interview results at the Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit.

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© 2017 Kim Wolske

Contact me:

wolske (at)

Kim Wolske

Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago

1307 E 60th St.

Chicago, IL 60637