Nicole Gelinas:

The numbers are striking. The number of miles people travel each year in cars or SUVs peaked nearly a decade ago, in 2007. You might think that’s because we had the biggest economic bust in modern history starting right around then.

But young Americans’ driving declined more than 20 percent in the decade before the recession. Meanwhile, mass-transit use in the past two decades is up 36 percent, nearly twice the car-usage rate.

Sam Schwartz, New York City’s Koch-era traffic commissioner, has a simple thesis in his new book, “Street Smart”: “Millennials are the first generation whose parents were more likely to
complain about their cars than get excited about them.

As kids, “millennials were driven through more traffic jams, more often, longer, and farther, than any generation in history.”