Not carless, but car-later (English)

The travel behaviour of Dutch young adults (18–30) has changed. They travel less by car and are more inclined to use a bicycle and public transport. As they get older, however, they travel more frequently by car. Explanations for this change in travel behaviour may be found in altered social-economic circumstances and changes in the residential environment, but there is no indication of a fundamentally different attitude to the car. These are the main conclusions from the KiM study ‘Not car-less, but car-later’, which was carried out for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

This report is available in Dutch.

Research and media reports suggest that young adults in various Western countries are travelling less by car. But exactly how significant is this trend in the Netherlands, and how can it be explained? As in other Western countries, Dutch young adults do indeed use the car less often. One of the reasons for this is the changing social position of young adults. The number of working young adults has decreased while the number of students – who drive less than working young people – has increased. The residential environment also has an effect on car use: an increase in the number of young adults living in urban areas combined with the growth in the number of students has led to a shift in the use of transport modes by young adults from the car to the bicycle and public transport.

On the basis of the research results, there is no reason to conclude that young adults have a significantly different attitude to the car than other generations. A clear majority of young adults want to own a car in the future. When they are older, settled down and enter the next phase of their lives, they will probably buy and use a car.

The results are based on analyses of data obtained from the Dutch National Travel Survey (1995–2009), a literature study, an extensive survey of the Dutch population, interviews with experts and focus groups of young adults.