American Households are Increasingly Going Car-free

NBC news reported on a study by CNW Marketing that found that the amount of car-free American households has doubled in the last two decades, meaning that nearly 10% of American households do not have a car.

There are several reasons that the number of car-free households are increasing, from the recession making it difficult for those who wish to own a car to do so, to environmentalism, to technology making shared or public transit more accessible. Increased urbanization (or gentrification) and the revitalization of urban neighborhoods, as well as investment in public transit and cycling infrastructure have made it easier for people to choose to live car-free.

“Millennials” are also a reason that car ownership is on the decline, postponing or declining the purchase of a vehicle, and often learning to drive at a later age than previous generations. There are any number of articles depicting the trend of millennials preferring a fixed gear bike and a ZipCar membership to owning their own car, or of the difficulties car companies are having at marketing to millennials.

As more people chose a car-free lifestyle, the benefits of living car-free are acknowledged and there’s less of a stigma associated with it. You save a significant amount of money when you do not own a car, since you don’t have to pay for gas, parking, insurance or car repair. You also get the benefit of increased exercise and a better familiarity with your neighborhood.

It’s also becoming increasingly easy to live car-free. For example, in my neighborhood, the local grocery stores offer rides home if you shop there and spend more than $25. The trains in Los Angeles now run until 2:00 AM on weekend nights. More and more bicycle paths are being built, and advocacy groups are springing up to defend the rights of cyclists and pedestrians, making sure that street infrastructure is complete, and not just targeted towards cars.

Source: NBC News / Image: Flickr

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