90 percent would use transit if it met their needs
LOS ANGELES – College and university students in Southern California would rather not drive, but the current transportation alternatives fall short of meeting their needs.
That’s the message of a mobility survey that Metrolink conducted over the past six months. Nearly 600 college and university students from throughout the region responded. These are largely working class students with two thirds having annual incomes less than $30,000.
Sixty nine percent said their personal vehicle best met their needs followed by Uber and Lyft (44 percent). Public transit and carpooling ranked high for only about a third of students. However, 68 percent of students said they prefer not driving alone, and 90 percent of those who took the survey said they would consider using public transit instead of driving if it were reliable, affordable, convenient, and safe.
When asked what features are important for them for transportation, the vast majority (76 percent) cited modes that were environmentally responsible. An even higher percentage (86 percent) wanted transportation to be stress free.
Public transit helps reduce air pollution and also is less stressful than driving, according to numerous studies.
The survey underscored that students, like their parents and others, commute long distances. Forty-five percent commute 41 minutes or longer from home to school.
Results of the online student mobility survey were shared today at an unprecedented forum involving college and university student leaders from throughout Southern California, elected officials and transit executives. They focused on the unique mobility needs of millennials and younger people, the next generation of commuters.
The forum was jointly sponsored by Metrolink, Cal State LA student leaders and the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA. The purpose of this inaugural dialogue is promoting alternatives to driving to help ease traffic and determining how the current and future public transit systems in the region can be designed to attract younger riders and steer them from their cars.
Students were asked an array of questions to gauge how they get to school, work and other destinations and what features would make public transit a better option for them.
Getting them exactly where they need to go quickly ranked high in the data along with reliability, affordability and safety.
That mirrors results of studies done on millennials and mobility conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the American Public Transportation Association:
They drive less and pride themselves on being multimodal. They are concerned about the environment and community and prefer living in cities and walkable communities where driving is an option, not a necessity. They’re mobile and grew up in a digital age and expect to have internet access while commuting.
Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 25th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.