November 16, 2016

First-Ever Zipcar Urbanite Study Finds that “Generation City” Will Shape the Future of Technology and Transportation

BOSTON, Nov. 16, 2016 – Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, today released the findings of its first-ever Zipcar Urbanite Study of city dwellers nationwide. More than 1,200 members of “Generation City,” comprised of urbanites of all ages, were asked about their attitudes and behaviors regarding work and money, lifestyle and technology, transportation, and urban citizenship.

The study revealed that Generation City increasingly shares a preference for their mobile phone over their car. In fact, in the next five years, the majority of urbanite car owners plan to drive less or give up their cars altogether. And urbanites are open to future transportation innovations – the vast majority consider automated vehicles to be futuristic, but expect to see them within their lifetime and plan to experience them first-hand.  

The Zipcar Urbanite Study is a progression of the Company’s annual millennial survey and last year’s research on “urban boomers,” urbanites over the age of 50 who have returned to city living. Both studies revealed that city dwellers share similar attitudes and behaviors regardless of their age.  According to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population today resides in urban areas, and that number will grow to two thirds by 2050.

“As a truly urban brand, it’s important for us to understand how people are living in our cities today and what’s important to them,” said Andrew Daley, vice president of marketing for Zipcar. “Zipcar’s mission has always been to enable simple and responsible urban living, and the survey results are encouraging – urbanites are continuing to reconsider personal vehicle ownership and are beginning to embrace the idea of automated vehicles, especially sharing them.”

Key findings of the study, which was conducted by KRC Research, include:

  • The smartphone is king.
    • Mobile phones are urbanites’ most valued piece of technology. In fact, when comparing which tech loss would have the greatest negative impact on their lives, urbanites were twice as likely to select their smartphone than their car (37 percent vs. 19 percent).
    • This love for smartphones is the highest it’s ever been – Zipcar’s 2015 Millennial Survey showed that urbanites would be equally upset about losing their car (31 percent) or their phone (32 percent).
    • Losing their tablet would have the least negative impact on urbanites (only 6 percent), proving that city dwellers value access on the go over screen size. 
  • Car ownership in cities will shift in the near future.
    • Half of today’s city dwellers don’t own a car or, if they do, don’t drive every day.
    • In the next five years, the landscape for car ownership in the city will change. More than half of urbanites who own cars (51 percent) plan to decrease the amount of driving they do in the city, while two in five plan to sell their cars altogether.
    • Urbanites still want to be behind the wheel, though – nearly 70 percent prefer to drive themselves rather than have someone else drive them.
  • Self-driving cars are met with skepticism, but urbanites are open-minded.
    • Eighty-three percent of urbanites consider automated cars to be “futuristic,” but they still think they’ll see them take over the streets within their lifetime. On average, urbanites think self-driving cars will begin to outnumber regular vehicles in about 25 years.
    • Generally speaking, city dwellers are split down the middle in terms of whether they think self-driving vehicles are safe, but these attitudes vary by age. Millennial urbanites are nearly 25 percent more likely to think self-driving cars are safe than urban boomers (61 percent vs. 37 percent).
    • Despite their hesitation, urbanites would consider riding in a self-driving vehicle. Nearly 50 percent would be open to riding in a public automated vehicle like a city bus, while more than 40 percent would consider purchasing a personal automated vehicle or using a car sharing service for self-driving vehicles. Again, age factors into these attitudes – millennials are more than twice as likely to purchase a self-driving vehicle in the future as urban boomers (56 percent vs. 23 percent.) 

For the full findings of the Zipcar Urbanite Study, including data on Generation City’s attitudes regarding work and money and urban citizenship, visit  

Zipcar provides its members on-demand access to a variety of cars in hundreds of cities, as well as colleges and university campuses throughout nine countries in North America and in Europe. Zipcars are available 24/7 for reservation via Zipcar’s mobile app, online, or over the phone. Prospective members can join the service and start driving instantly on Zipcar’s mobile app.


About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world’s leading car sharing network, driven by a mission to enable simple and responsible urban living. With its wide variety of self-service vehicles available by the hour or day, its industry-leading university, business and government fleet programs, and its operations on over 500 college campuses and in more than 500 cities and towns across nine countries, Zipcar offers the most comprehensive, most convenient and most flexible car sharing options available. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CAR), a leading global provider of vehicle rental services. More information is available at


Media Contact

Kate Binette

Communications Manager, Zipcar

[email protected]