Wired at birth: Childhood, technology engagement, and travel behavior

Lama BouMjahed, Hani S. Mahmassani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The ongoing demographic transition from baby boomers to millennials and technology-fueled evolution of transportation bring to the fore key trends that will determine how the future of transportation systems will unfold. This paper examines the implications of such trends on travel behavior by quantifying the impacts of a technologically engaged childhood— generally attributed to millennials—and an increased use of technology during travel on travel behavior now and in the future. Results indicate that individuals who grew up with a stronger childhood technology experience are more likely to be technologically engaged as adults, have stronger pro-environmental attitudes, lower car dependence, and stronger interest in autonomous vehicles. The results also support a simultaneous relationship between technology use during travel and car dependence, which posits that individuals with lower car dependence (or availability) are more likely to use technology during travel. Emanating results put forward potential benefits of policy starting at the childhood level. The implications of this work will only gain importance as the interplay between technology and travel deepens and as a larger share of the adult population become “digital natives.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-78
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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