When I was in high school, I took the written test that kicks off British Columbiaâ€™s graduated vehicle licensing program. I took some lessons, but never progressed through the multiple stages required to get a full license. I left for university without one, and have never since had much opportunity or incentive to get a license. I may never decided to do so.
Quite possibly, that is becoming a less unusual choice for city-dwellers. Treehugger is reporting on a study of Canadian attitudes by GWL Realty Advisors. Some of the results are encouraging from an environmental perspective, such as a growing preference for apartments over houses. The commentary on the views of young people on driving is also of interest:
There is also growing research that younger generations do not relate to the automobile as enabling “freedom.” Instead, their electronic and social media devices–whether a smart phone, small lap top computer, music player, etc.–provide an alternate means for self expression and being free to do what they want. In the United States, kilometers driven by 18-34 year olds is declining, and this is likely the case in Canada as well (Neff, 2010). Younger generations seem to have less interest in automotive use, making apartment living in dense, walkable and transit-oriented urban areas a more natural fit for their lifestyles.
For those living in rural areas – or the 1950s – driving really is freedom. For those living in the cities of 2010, cars probably do more harm than good. Rather than spending money to further accommodate the dangerous, climate-destroying machines, it seems sensible that we should focus on building walkable neighbourhoods and good public transportation networks.