Tomorrow's drivers will be quite different from the motorists who are crowding highways today.
Young people are driving less than teens did a generation ago, and they are delaying getting drivers' licenses, a number of recent studies have confirmed. (See related story: "Four Theories Why Teens Drive Less Today.")
Researchers have different theories for reasons behind this generational shift: Is it a preference for screen time instead of time behind the wheel? Have the costs of vehicles and fuel soared too high for teen budgets? Are they less into ownership and more into sharing?
Do young people care more about the environment than their forebears? Or do they just want to avoid being caught in traffic jams? Are they waiting for technology breakthroughs that would completely revolutionize transportation?
Whatever the explanation, new attitudes on mobility already are beginning to curb the trajectory of energy use in the industrialized world. If nations better understood what is driving the change, perhaps they could do more to influence trends in developing nations where transportation energy use is continuing to grow rapidly. (See related: "Driving the Limit: Wealthy Nations Maxed Out on Travel?")
For today's young people, what do you think is the most important innovation in mobility for shaping transportation of the future? Rate the ideas below and share your thoughts in the comments. Also see how students at Shell Eco-marathon in Houston answered the question recently.