A new report by the RAC Foundation looks at driving behaviour among young adults in a bid to understand the factors associated with a possible trend away from car use.
Since the mid-1990s there has been a decline in car use among young adults, especially among young men. This decrease is associated with a reduction in the proportion of young adults who hold a full driving licence, coupled with a decline in the average annual number of miles driven.
This report, written by professor Ann Berrington from the University of Southampton and Julia Mikolai from the University of Liverpool, examines the individual, household and local area level characteristics associated with driving behaviour in the UK among young adults aged 17-34 years. It uses cross-sectional data from the first two waves of ‘Understanding Society – a survey of around 40,000 UK households’, to provide insights into changes in the lives of young people and their driving behaviour.
The report found that 65% of males aged 17–34 years and 58% of females aged 17–34 years held a full UK driving licence in 2009–10. The most important predictors of licence-holding among young people are their age, the type of area in which they live, their level of education, income and living arrangements.
Young people living in London are significantly less likely to hold a driving licence than those living in other urban areas, and those living in rural areas are the most likely to hold a licence.
Young people with intermediate (i.e. GCSE) or advanced (i.e. A levels or a degree) education are more likely to hold a licence than those with no qualifications. This educational gradient is far steeper for young women than for men.
Employed young adults are more likely to hold a licence than those who are unemployed or ‘economically inactive’. Additionally, being a full-time student is associated with a lower likelihood of holding a full UK licence among men, but not among women.
Living in the parental home is associated with a slightly lower likelihood of licence-holding for both young men and women.