Post-COVID mobility and lifestyles: What changes do 18-34 year olds want to see?

With the support of five of its members - Accenture, CGI, Kantar, Michelin and Microsoft - Movin'On led a survey to understand how this unique health crisis has impacted young people’s mobility, desires and expectations.


The results of this qualitative survey constitute a trend book, which provides some keys to better understand the challenges of tomorrow's mobility as seen by these young generations. A little over a year ago, they took to the streets, calling on governments to act for the climate, rethink their policies and take responsibility. And then COVID struck and everyone was sent home.


FOUR major insights emerged from this qualitative survey conducted in Europe and North America :



1- GEN Z is more pragmatic than idealistic. Refusing to reject any means of transportation including the car, they are the first truly multi-modal generation.


Committed, but not utopian, the young respondents seek first and foremost to meet their needs in terms of convenience and cost. Then they naturally value modes of transport that pollute less and are more inclusive. However, they remain just as attached to the idea of owning a car as previous generations, provided it is clean.


These digital natives are the first generation to fully embrace multimodality. They want all means of transport. They have the appropriate mindset, easy access to various modes of transportation, the agility to choose the right one for the right occasion, and the willingness to be game changers.



2- COVID has hindered mobility. But it has also accelerated trends like chosen mobility, bike use, walking and clean cars.


The protective reflexes that have emerged with COVID have not spared this.This has resulted in a return to individual modes of transportation and a growing mistrust of public transport.


But COVID has also been a trend accelerator with an increase in bike usage and walking, both of which have many arguments in their favour: an outdoor physical activity that is cheap and sustainable with health safety benefits.


Beyond the means of transportation, the pandemic has accelerated the transition to a less constrictive and more chosen kind of mobility. This means reconsidering whether you need to go to the office every day, limiting unnecessary travel - and therefore adapting transportation modes - and living more locally.



3- This generation wants to change things, without giving up the notion of pleasure. 18-34 year olds are in favour of a life within a 15-minute radius of their home. But they still want to discover the world, in a different way.


By questioning the necessity of each trip, COVID has strongly influenced daily mobility. These young urban dwellers want to free themselves from the morning and evening mobility constraints, find a village lifestyle in their neighbourhood and be able to organise their daily life within a 15-minute radius of their home. This is an opportunity to focus on healthy modes of transportation and take advantage of the opportunity to work from home.


In their mobility, as in their lifestyle, the notions of pleasure and meaning remain key. It is with the same mindset that they consider long-distance travel and want to continue travelling to discover the world. Their sustainable mentality will lead them to travel less often, but for longer trips. And they imagine "hybrid travel" where work and tourism are usefully mixed and enjoyed.



4- Sustainable mobility is like the Everest, joining forces is key to reaching it. Young people expect a lot from public authorities, cities and companies in order to act together and speed up change.


This generation is ready to make many changes in the way it uses mobility. But when it comes to infrastructure, innovation, urban planning and safety, they feel powerless to act. They expect public and private stakeholders to mobilise and listen to them. Expectations are different in Europe and North America with greater mistrust in Europe, and particularly France, regarding the use of personal data and the choice of operators. They are especially worried about possible collaboration with GAFAs*.


On both sides of the Atlantic, young people expect employers to get involved and promote a different kind of mobility for their teams including subsidies, working from home and shared infrastructures.


This generation wants to be part of the change and will use all its influence to make things happen as citizens, employees, customers and mobility users.