If you have a car and a driver's license, why should you care about transportation options?
Well, what if:
- You hate losing two hours of productivity every day driving to work, and hate being unplugged from the digital world?
- You own a car, but you'd rather save money by using transit so you can take great vacations?
- Your car is in the shop, and no one is available to give you a ride?
- You broke your leg playing sports and can’t drive?
- You want to lower your carbon footprint?
- You are trying to get or stay fit, and want to walk or bike to as many places as you can?
What if you don't even have a car or a driver's license? Hard to imagine?
Here are just a few reasons why someone might not drive:
- You just got out of college and you can’t afford both a car loan and your student loans.
- You think mobility should be a service, like software or music or streaming video.
- Your car died, and you can't afford to replace it.
- You have trouble seeing.
- You have other physical challenges that make it impossible to drive.
- You live in a place with plenty of transportation options, so you don't see the need.
From 1983 to 2014, the percentage of 16 to 44 year olds with a driver's license decreased from 91.8% to 76.7%, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan. In an earlier study, they surveyed the reasons why:
The top eight reasons (primary or secondary) for not having a driver’s license were as follows: (1) too busy or not enough time to get a driver’s license (37%), (2) owning and maintaining a vehicle is too expensive (32%), (3) able to get transportation from others (31%), (4) prefer to bike or walk (22%), (5) prefer to use public transportation (17%), (6) concerned about how driving impacts the environment (9%), (7) able to communicate and/or conduct business online instead (8%), and (8) disability/medical/vision problems (7%).
If you're an employer, this should worry you. If you're a policy maker, it should worry you even more. Given the demographic shifts facing New Hampshire (aging population, shrinking youth population leading to smaller work force) it's time to take a look at policy changes that will attract new workers to our state, and those include transportation options.