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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.

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  1. Other age cut-offs were considered but did not significantly change descriptive outcomes.

  2. Pseudo R2 statistics are applied in logistic regression, logit and probit models and are interpreted in a similar fashion to the R2 values reported with linear regression models.

  3. To test whether this factor has a further effect on other variables, models were run to test for an interaction effect with survey year. There were no significant interaction effects.


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The authors would like to thank the Victorian Department of Transport for making the VATS and VISTA data available for analysis. An earlier form of this paper was presented at the 92nd Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (Delbosc and Currie 2013a). Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Alexa Delbosc.

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Delbosc, A., Currie, G. Changing demographics and young adult driver license decline in Melbourne, Australia (1994–2009). Transportation 41, 529–542 (2014).

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  • Car licensing
  • Young adults
  • Demographic trends