Changing demographics and young adult driver license decline in Melbourne, Australia (1994–2009)
In the last decade young people in North America, Australia and much of Europe are becoming less likely to hold a driver’s license and, if they can drive, they are driving less. This is a remarkable trend which is not yet well understood. This paper is an empirical analysis exploring the relationship between young adult driver licensing and young adult demographics and living arrangements. In many developed countries, young adults are becoming increasingly less likely to be in full-time work, more likely to be in part-time work or studying, more likely to be living at home with parents and they are getting married and having children later in life. Against the background of these trends, a binary logistic regression model of travel survey data (1994–2009) for Melbourne, Australia is used to explore the association between these demographics and young adult license-holding. The model established that full-time employment and child-rearing are associated with higher young adult licensing rates whereas part-time work and studying were associated with lower licensing rates. However the impact of living at home with parents was not clear and requires further study. Together it is theorised that these changes in living arrangements may be restricting the disposable income of some young adults and reducing or postponing license take-up. The paper concludes with the implications of findings for policy and opportunities for future research.