Young parents do not like public transport and buy cars instead

When you are single, you are pretty much good with anything. You feel no responsibility for other people and you live a carefree life. Once you create a family, everything changes and you have to accommodate those changes. Scientists from Monash University found that young parents often ditch public transport and buy cars instead, contributing to traffic congestion in cities.

The more automobiles, the more traffic problems. Young parents do not want to use public transport. Image credit: Mat Connolley via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.5)

More and more people choose to move to urban areas. The convenience of it is what people are after. Work is right here, there are donut shops everywhere and you can pretty much find everything you want rather quickly. However, no one likes being stuck in traffic. As economy is growing, more people choose to drive themselves around instead of using public transportation. And that makes parking problems even more severe and traffic jams longer.

Scientists surveyed 758 new parents in Melbourne, Australia, and found that public transport use decline dramatically once people have children. 30 % of respondents said that they used public transport frequently before becoming parents. This number declined to 14 % after children were born. Furthermore, 33 % said that they rarely used cars before children – after they were born, this number declined to just 1 %. But what makes new parents get rid of their public transport passes?

Well, many of them actually move to suburbs, which are not always well-integrated into city’s public transportation system. Another reason is baby stuff. It is not that easy to load a baby buggy into a buss or a tram and then you have to find a safe place for yourself to stand. Babies are needy too – you don’t really have a lot of time. Having a car allows you to quickly zoom from one place to another. Meanwhile travel arrangements with buses can be quite tricky. Car just offers more convenience.

46 % of bicycle riders prior to children were carless, but after they became parents this number dropped to just 1 %. This further exemplifies how a choice to have a car is all about comfort and convenience. But scientists say that changed in public transportation system would not have to be dramatic to make it more attractive to new parents. Laura McCarthy, one of the authors of the study, said: “Even though some parents stop using public transport, they continue to hold positive attitudes towards this mode. Modest changes could be made to better accommodate families with young children using public transport, and potentially retain these users”.

Congestion is not good for anyone and it is especially bad for children. Traffic jams with idling cars create a lot of pollution and even more aggravation. That is why we have to find ways to make public transport more attractive to young families, but it’s not going to be easy – a good old car is damn difficult to beat.


Source: Monash University


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