Indeed, after crunching some figures dating back to 2017, we discovered that roughly 38 percent of parking-related reviews skewed negative, making the issue a bottomless well of stress, headaches and strongly-worded Post-it notes passively-aggressively tucked in strangers’ windshield wipers.
And since 2019 will finally be the year millennials usurp baby boomers as America’s largest living generation, it’s worth looking at the former’s habits with respect to driving and public transportation, and what, if anything, they might mean for apartment communities across the U.S.
Are millennials really that different from earlier generations?
In a word: Yes.
According to an article published last November in Streetsblog USA, a whopping 59 percent of millennials would rather spend their time doing something more “productive” than sitting on the highway and staring sadly out their windows à la Ron Livingston in the opening scene of “Office Space” (by contrast, only 45 percent of baby boomers feel this way).
And while nearly half of those born between 1981 and 1996 generally enjoy their time behind the wheel, that’s still less than the percentage of baby boomers (61 percent) and Gen Xers (51 percent) currently clogging up the passing lane.
What’s driving (no pun intended) this change?
Well, lots of things. In addition to alleviating traffic-induced stress, millennials are keenly aware of the aerobic benefits of leg-based travel and public transportation, and they’re increasingly cognizant of their carbon footprints.
According to Millennials and Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset and New Opportunities for Transit Providers, 34 percent of millennials cite environmental considerations as a motivating factor in deciding how to get around. The stats show 33 percent of millennials in Chicago, 35 percent in Boston and 42 percent in San Francisco use alternative methods to get one from one place to another. These three cities are often considered to be among the best in the country in terms of accessible, expansive public transportation.
Overall, 50 percent of millennials view public transportation to be better for the environment than driving, while another 46 percent find it to be a more convenient and cost-effective form of travel.
So, what does this mean for parking?
This is where things get tricky. While it may come as no surprise that properties lacking adequate parking spaces can result in some pretty acrimonious reviews, it’s much more difficult to extrapolate this data on a scale sufficient to warrant any sweeping proclamations.
In other words, while we know that millennials are driving less than their parents and grandparents did at similar junctures, it’s unclear whether this will translate to fewer negative reviews for properties in cities with above-average public transportation systems (i.e., New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.).
Based on what we do know, however, it’s probably safe to assume that millennials’ transportation preferences won’t be changing anytime soon, which suggests that parking availability (or the lack thereof) will remain a top priority for both renters and property managers in the years to come.
Save some spots
Based on our analysis of parking-related reviews, we recommend that property managers consider employing permit-based parking. When residents have an assigned parking spot, there’s less confusion as to which car belongs where.
Additionally, nothing in our research suggests that renters and property managers wouldn’t benefit from the latter offering public transit maps in their leasing offices. After all, when more and more folks choose public transportation, less and less cars clog our streets, highways and parking lots.