End of the road: Uber and millennials help US cities cut car addiction

The growth of car-free homes, a drop in driver’s licences and increased car-sharing could all be signs of a move away from the automobile
The Guardian
Matthew Wheeland

f all goes according to plan, next year construction will begin on a 30-storey residential tower in Austin, Texas. Nothing new in the daily life of a booming city, except for one thing: the apartment tower will offer no parking spaces to residents.

Whether you gauge it by the growth of car-free homes, a steady drop in drivers’ licences for younger age-groups, or the rise in car-sharing, metropolitan areas across the US have lately made strides in getting residents out of – and rid of – their cars.

In Austin and elsewhere, what’s made this possible? The short answer is technology: it’s hard to overstate the impact ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have had on urban transportation in the past five years.

Those technologies arrived amid a renewed emphasis by city and regional planners on improving public transit and encouraging non-car modes of transportation.