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Young people increasingly uninterested in car ownership

61.7% of under 30-year-olds would give up car ownership if efficient public transport was available, according to a survey by the Center for Automotive e Mobility Innovation (CAMI) at Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Management. 

Over a thousand interviewees answered questions regarding their attitude towards cars. One of the findings regarded the purchase of a new car.

The survey asked interviewees to state which car they would purchase, if they could choose “the car of their dreams”. The data showed that fewer than 18% of people would purchase a traditional car — with an endothermic engine fuelled by diesel or petrol. Over 60% stated that they would favour an electric or hybrid car. 5% would choose a hydrogen vehicle. One person out of 5 ( 20%) is not interested in owning a car.

“As we explored the opinion of younger generations, we expected to find some data that went against the prevailing trend, but the results were nonetheless surprising,” says Professor Francesco Zirpoli, Director of the Center for Automotive and Mobility Innovation and of the Master in Innovation and Mobility Management of the Ca’ Foscari Challenge School. According to Professor Zirpoli, “young people’s opinions are crucial because they indicate a paradigm shift in the demand for mobility services.”

Professor Andrea Stocchetti, who coordinated the study, has stated: “We are not surprised that one in five people under 30 is uninterested in owning a car. This piece of data is in keeping with other surveys conducted on “Millennials” and “Generation Z” people, who do not view car ownership in the same way as their parents did, and whose values are quite different from those of previous generations. However, we didn’t think that over 60% of them would do without a car if they had access to efficient public transport.”

The trend, then, is not only the development of electric and increasingly “connected” cars — it is also the development of public transport. In fact, the survey suggests that young people request having more services, and not necessarily more cars. 62% of interviewees believe that the number of cars on the road should be reduced, while only 22% are against traffic restrictions.

Does this mean we need to produce more buses and fewer cars? The picture that emerges from the survey is rather more complex. Urban sustainability guidelines are clear and match what urban planning and mobility experts have known for years. Nevertheless, the automotive industry does not display the same level of awareness: if innovation happens so slowly, it is likely that the automotive supply chain will be caught in a ‘perfect storm’.

This CAMI survey marks a further step in the wider research that this Ca’ Foscari centre has been conducting for years in this area. It highlights that in the mobility sector, which is at the heart of the ‘green transition’, still requires a lot of innovation. However, Professor Zirpoli adds, “This is also a great opportunity for the young people who participated in our survey. The green transition towards sustainable transportation requires new ideas and professionals. This is one of the reasons why Ca’ Foscari has invested in a Professional Master’s Programme that prepares professionals.”

The Professional Master’s Programme in Sustainable Mobility (in Italian) equips students with instruments to face the challenges of the new ‘mobility ecosystem’ from a managerial perspective, to create a network of professionals for a community that is constantly evolving and giving impulse to innovation in the mobility sector.

Author: Enrico Costa / Translator: Joangela Ceccon