"Young people" do prefer living closer to where they work, and in a setting where they can walk to shops and restaurants, and they also go for tiny apartments. But wait until they decide to have kids. And then, wait until those kids decide they want to compete in sports.
If it could be believed, the trend is a good one. As long as these "young people" don't fink out when they become 20 and 30-somethings. (As they seem to do.)
I remain skeptical. There are infinitely too many young people driving obese obsenities around (read SUVs and trucks), for me to believe that they're going to do anything useful wrt their thirst for fuel. And I see traffic jams even on weekends, as young people are carted around frantically, by their obsessed parents, in trucks and SUVs, to their numerous sports venues. I'll bet when they have kids of their own, they will feel compelled to do likewise.
@Betajet: I think SiliValley is typical of America in that it is spread out thanks to our car culture so no fixed set of rail or bus lines can serve a broad population. Thus we just keep driving, except for those young ones saving up for a car or poutting up with the hassle of multi-stage commutes to be green.
This would be laughable FUD if it weren't so sad. We already know that ICT (information and communications technology -- of which data centers are a subset) *SAVES* more than 5 TIMES their carbon footprint in the rest of the economy. [Smart2020 Report] We actually are better off to have more of these megadatacenters because of what it saves in the rest of the economy by making it more efficient.
In nature, its ants that constitute more biomass than Elephants. So if Data Centers are the Elephants of power consumption, the thing you really have to worry about are the ants -- cell phones. Do you realize that charging the batteries in all 6 BILLION cell phones in the world every day USES MORE ENERGY than all the millions of servers in the world?
So thanks, CISCO, for the Boogeyman of the Heat-Death of the Universe from Data Centers. Let me just tweet this link on to all my friends on my smartphone.
While older people may drive less, today younger people are driving less as well. The statistics I've read say in 1983 80% of 18 year olds had a drivers liscense, in 2010 only 61% of 18 year olds had a drivers license. Many analysts believe this is due to the economy. Fewer people can afford cars, gas, and insurance than in the past.
The most obvious reason for US peak mileage and car ownership (and gasoline consumption) is the aging of the population. People drive less, drive shorter distances, and own fewer cars as they get older, their eyesight gets poorer, their reactions slower, etc. Couples who had two cars often find they can get by with one car, even if they live in the country.
I read an article discussing this a few years ago, as a reason to explain why oil companies are not investing in new US refineries.
IMO the USA has some excellent trains. It's just that the coverage is uneven. In SillyIcon Valley, it depends on where you live. If you're near light rail, it's quite easy to get around. If you're stuck in the middle of Cupertino, you'd better have good weather so you can get around by bicycle -- possibly electric -- or Segway.
A number of large SillyIcon Valley and Penninsula employers have realized that their young employees far prefer to live in San Franciso, which has excellent public transportation by USA standards. The employers provide luxury buses with WiFi to get their employees to their jobs and back.