Bus Rapid Transit and Millennial Myth-Making

Several Millennials were in the audience at last night’s forum on the profoundly unwise proposal for “Albuquerque Rapid Transit.” The group seemed to support, in lockstep fashion, bus rapid transit along Central Avenue — particularly the project’s alleged value as way to retain and attract young professionals to the city’s core.

Clearly, they weren’t aware of it, but the attendees were not at all representative of their generation. Earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders released a survey of where those born since 1977 want to live. Urban environments were not popular:


Furthermore, transit-as-catnip-for-Millennials was dealt a serious blow by a 2014 analysis by City Observatory. Between 2000 and 2012, the six metro regions that transportation scholar Wendell Cox calls “transit legacy cities” expanded their young, college-educated populations by an average of 20.8 percent. That growth was dwarfed by the performance of “sprawling” metro regions such as Houston (49.8 percent), Orlando (43.3 percent), Nashville (47.6 percent), San Antonio (50.5 percent), Oklahoma City (56.8 percent), Jacksonville (44.8 percent), and Las Vegas (72.8 percent).

Finally, a few months ago, Bloomberg reported that “Millennials … accounted for 27 percent of new car sales in the U.S. last year, up from 18 percent in 2010, according to J.D. Power & Associates. They’ve zoomed past Gen X to become the second-largest group of new car buyers after their boomer parents. Millennials are starting to find jobs and relocating to the suburbs and smaller cities, where public transport is spotty.”