It seems like the urgency to drive isn't there for kids now. I've heard from a few people that their kids either don't drive, or waited a while before getting their license. The AP wrote this article that breaks down the state of American driving habits - and it's down across the board. This quote jumped out at me:
Meanwhile, the share of people in their teens, 20s and 30s with driver's licenses has been dropping significantly, suggesting that getting a driver's license is no longer the teenage rite of passage it once was.
As the article points out, more people are shopping on-line, and more people are socializing on-line, giving them less of a reason to get out of the house. I'm sure that's why there isn't the urgency among young people to get their license. Who needs to hop in the car and hang out at the mall, like I did as a kid, when you can Skype, text, and Facebook with your friends?
When you consider that there is not only an across the board decrease in driving, but a significant generational gap in driving habits, the future looks very different than where we are now. We have a massive infrastructure in this country for moving people around. And that will continue to be a need. I don't think that just because fewer people are driving that suddenly projects like the Brent Spence won't be important. But think about what's needed to move people around when you have a whole lot of people who don't drive. Public transit is really the only solution. People still need to move around for work and for play, and if you're not driving you've got to have another option.
I imagine a time in the future when public transportation is important, not just for relieving traffic congestion, but for encouraging people to get out of their house and giving them a way to do it. The economic infrastructure that we've built, which relies on putting bodies in stores and butts in seats requires a mobile population.