Young people constitute an important mover group and, furthermore, one in three persons injured in road traffic in Finland are young.
20 % of Finns are aged 15–29. The daily travel output of young people is smaler than that of adults. The number of trips and duration of travel time by young people and adults are, however, almost equal to each other.
Young people, especially those under 18 years of age but also older ones, due to costs, are greatly dependent on public transport, walking and cycling. The development of these modes of travel is important to young people. Among other things, young people are the most active group of winter cyclists.
Getting a driving licence means easier movement and an increase in freedom for young people, especially in the countryside, where distances are long and the level of service provided by public transport is low.
This study contains a compilation of data related to the travel behaviour, attitudes and life styles of young people. The aim of the study was to determine the special needs of young people as a mover group and as customers of FinnRA (Finnish Road Administration).
The study is based on literature as well as interviews with 40 young people and juvenile professionals. Participation by young people in planning was examined through examples and literature.
The travel behaviour of young people differs from that of adults in several ways. The price of travel is more important in choosing the travel mode, and entertainment in traffic is more important. Also, possibilities to move in the evening and weekends are emphasised more than in adult groups. Two-thirds of travel output is generated by leisure and visiting trips. Therefore, exploring the travel possibilities, social safety and traffic safety of young people only in terms of their school and work trips produces too narrow a picture of the travel needs and wishes of young people.
Among young people there is a greater number of inexperienced and occasional drivers than in other age groups, which results in an accident risk that is greater than in other age groups. A contributing factor in the risk is the fact that some young people seem to have a desire to break norms and overestimate their own skills. Young people themselves emphasise the significance of safe movement and are concerned about the increase in driving under the influence of alcohol in cars as well as mopeds.
As a result of the study, it was recommended that FinnRA (the Finnish Road Administration) defines the customer group "young people" to include the 15–24 age group. In terms of studying the mobility of young people, this group should be examined in two separate groups: 15–17 year-olds and 18–24 year-olds.
Young people appear to be interested in transportation and in having an influence on it, but participation needs to take place on their terms and the topics should be of interest to young people. Young people should be considered a special group at least in the planning of transportation systems, traffic safety, public transport and bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and in the planning of management and maintenance.