Author: Bre Vergess, Product Marketing Manager, CivicConnect

At 75.4 million, Millennials are already the largest generation in the U.S., and given that they populate roughly 35% of cities, their choices and preferences will play a vital part in shaping the future of urban mobility. I spend so much time studying this group, I often forget when it comes to the “Mobile Millennial” I myself am the textbook example.

Every Monday through Friday, I wake up in my apartment in Downtown Los Angeles. I walk 13 city blocks to work, unless it is one of those fearful yet cherished LA rainy days when I will call an Uber Pool to get to our offices on Wilshire Boulevard. I get strange looks from people when they hear that I live Downtown, let alone walk to work, in Los Angeles. However, as a millennial the choice was clear. I wanted to be able to walk and use rideshare in my work commute, and take public transit in my social life, though remain a car owner. I value accessibility and exploration, and appreciate choice depending on my needs at any given time. When it comes to Mobile Millennials, from both personal and expert knowledge, here the top 5 things to know:

  1. The Mobile Millennial is multimodal. Millennials are more likely to choose the “best” option for that specific trip, based on cost, time, purpose of the trip, and more. For these reasons, millennials are more likely to live in communities with multiple transportation options. Many millennials often choose to use multiple modes even in a single trip. A survey by APTA showed that 69% of millennials use multiple transportation options to reach a destination a few times a week or more.
  1. The Mobile Millennial values both wants and needs. Anyone can appreciate knowing how long a trip will take or how much they will pay for it. Time and cost efficiencies have long been important to the consumer. But younger generations have additional criteria including environmental impact, personal health and wellness, access to Wi-FI on transit and even overall enjoyment, and may prioritize these in making transportation decisions.
  1. The Mobile Millennial lives with information overload. Not only do they have it—they expect it. 20 to 35 year olds came of age with the World Wide Web at their fingertips, and increasingly anticipate Wi-Fi, 4G, and real-time updates that provide them with an immersive, intuitive experience of their surroundings. This even applies when it comes to urban mobility—whether it’s when the next train is coming, calling a Lyft and tracking its arrival in real-time, or finding the best restaurant for dinner and the optimal way to get there, millennials anticipate access to any desired information and a seamless experience.
  1. The Mobile Millennial is socially empowered. To a group where access and opportunities are limitless, they’re always looking for the next big thing. Overall, 36% of millennials say they’d like to see more tools helping them make local discoveries. For many, an immediate thought during any experience is posting about it on social media. These themes of connectedness and willingness to share with friends and community also apply to the future of mobility, with the rise in rideshare, vanpool, casual carpool, crowdsourced trips, and more.
  1. The Mobile Millennial is the new normal. Many people are fascinated by the idea of “the millennial.” We study them. We have preconceived notions about them. But regardless, according to Pew Research Center they’ve already surpassed Boomers in numbers, they’re a major share of the current workforce, and they’re driving the need for digital innovation. We can only expect that Gen Z and future generations will be increasingly digital, connected, and information rich.

Smart Cities, in order to continue to adequately serve their residents, must address the urban mobility needs of this growing digital-savvy population.