Youth Weigh in on the Future of Mobility

June 1, 2019

This article appeared in the May 2019 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
W hile some believe that cars will one day maneuver through water and others believe that innovative coworking spaces will empower their learning, youth from across the state are having conversations about mobility. Georgia’s Cities heard from five youth council members on what mobility looks like to them.
 
We’ve heard that young people aren’t as interested in getting their drivers’ licenses. In your experience, is this true and if so, why do you think that is?
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Ashley Williams, Newnan Youth Council
AW: For me I couldn’t wait to get my license, because I was able to drive freely without having to depend on parents. However, today’s youth are split between really wanting to drive and being too scared or lazy to drive. With the many advancements in technology today, many kids would rather sit in the passenger seat and sit on their phones rather than driving their own car with the windows down and music up.
 
FC: I do think that this is true because of the expenses that come with owning and driving a car daily. Not only do you have to pay for gas, but you also have to pay for insurance, the car itself and any mechanical issues that may arise. With options such as Uber and Lyft, it is becoming easier for a person to live their life without owning a car of their own, especially in larger cities. Another reason young people may not want to go get a car is because most cities are very walkable.
 
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Tagwa Ali, Dublin Youth Council
TA: I don’t believe that to be completely true. Obtaining a driver’s license is almost like a rite of passage into adulthood. With a driver’s license, a young teen has the ability to be independent and go where they choose and as they please. However, I do believe that with the growing amount of car accidents, some teens are hesitant to get behind the wheel.
 
GC: Where do you see the future of mobility (transportation) in your community, in our state and in the nation as a whole?
AW: When I was little, I used to think that in the future we would have flying cars and hoverboards. I see the future of mobility transforming to depend more on public transportation. The future of having less driving creates a healthier and more sustainable community.
 
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Dazia Potts, LaGrange Youth Council
DP: In our home community, transportation will not consist of subways and more airports. However, our community can further mobilize in areas such as smart buses or smart cars to industrialize with the growing youth population. In the future, our state will evolve into one with safer cars that involves technology to support lives. For example, investing in a car that will automatically put a seatbelt on or automatically adjust the temperature of the car according to the outside weather. People may joke around, but the invention of many flying cars will soon be in existence. Cars that adapt to different types of roads are already here so why not invest in a car that can adapt to water?
 
TA: I think we are going to start to rely more on public transportation systems. Especially with the issues we have today with global warming, a hole in the ozone layer and an increasing population.
 
GC: Shifting the focus to Economic Mobility, what tools can a city and community provide to help you and your peers build a promising future? AW: The city can provide students with programs that improve our knowledge on the many careers that are available. With this program being an  outside-of-school extracurricular activity, this will allow all of the students in the county to come together as one community.
 
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Fiona Cruz, Newnan Youth Council
FC: Teaching young people how to be responsible with their money and assets will help not only our nation’s youth but also our nation as a whole. Having classes at a local library on financial responsibility and budgeting will benefit everyone.
 
DP: We all need a place that will allow us to study (outside of school)— an environment where we can get tutoring and snacks with the help we need to be successful. This space will prepare many young students for study sessions as they attend college. All teens want a sense of independence, and this could be a great start.
 
TA: Education is a tool that people can use to climb up the “social ladder.” Sometimes in schools we focus more on test scores and standards than actual learning. We need to focus more on making sure our students understand and are prepared for the real world rather than have high test scores.
 
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Jalicia McRae, Dublin Youth Council
JM: Most students don’t understand the power of their own voices and that leads to us not using them. Therefore, if we educate them and show them that they can become ambassadors of change, we will build promising futures.

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