Gen Z and mobility of the future: green and safety first

According to a Webboh survey, 1 in 4 young people are Independent Navigators

For World Earth Day, in just 24 hours, almost 9,300 young people aged between 12 and 20 answered the instant survey launched by Webboh Lab

Among the profiles that emerged was that of the Independent Navigator: young urbanites who prefer transport that allows greater autonomy, favouring sharing systems, and who would buy electric cars and scooters in return for greater incentives.

Gen Z prefers public transport and more than a quarter of respondents advocate needs such as efficiency and flexibility in mobility, as well as collective sustainability.

For World Earth Day, Webboh Lab, the first permanent digital observatory of Gen Z, interviewed Webboh’s young audience on issues related to the mobility of the future.

The research was conducted using the psychometric approach, analysing motivations, perceptions and value aspects related to emotions, in order to understand young people’s involvement with mobility and sustainability issues.

The survey, which involved almost 9,300 respondents from young Italians aged between 12 and 20, revealed 5 identikits:

  • Independent Navigator (27%): these are young urbanites who prefer autonomy and personal convenience in mobility. They generally prefer cheap parking spaces, are in favour of incentives for electric cars and scooters and support the use of sharing systems. They support affordable public transport and advocate teaching money management in schools. Finally, they promote inclusive and language services.
  • Green Pathfinders (20%): these are progressive, sustainable and social integration-oriented young people. They prefer collective mobility and are more interested in policies related to sustainability and education, like free public transport for students, which they see as part of the social and educational fabric of the city. They reject incentives for cars and scooters and the expansion of sharing systems, instead favouring sustainable mobility solutions and investments in public transport. Finally, they promote financial education in schools.
  • Urban Optimiser (19%): this group favours a wider range of measures to improve urban mobility. They support the use of public transport for cultural and sporting activities, promote its free use and would like it to be more active after sunset. They favour incentives for electric cars and scooters, but also support the use of shared transport for more environmentally friendly transport solutions. Finally, they value accessible mobility services, including those with language support.
  • Local Boosters (18%): this group supports the local economy, small businesses and accessible public services. They support offering free tickets for public transport and language support for an inclusive community. They oppose financial education in schools and transport sharing. Policies such as public transport after sunset or access to parks and cycle paths are not priorities for Local Boosters.
  • Community Curator (16%): this group falls into the category of urban youth, but are focused on more sustainable, community-centred and inclusive mobility. They support shared mobility, promote access to parks and cycle paths, and encourage using public transport for cultural and sporting activities. They are involved in supporting local shops and small businesses and support school policies on money management.

The survey showed that 2 out of 3 respondents don’t really cycle and admitted that they never (43%) use it to get around or only do so less than once a week. The situation would be different if cyclists were made safer in the city by improving cycle paths (39%), fixing potholes in the streets (38.5%) and reducing delinquency (30%).

Furio Camillo, Professor of Business Statistics at the University of Bologna and Scientific Director of the Webboh Lab, said: “Although in many cases young people’s vision will have to be liberalist and individualist, it starts from an approach that puts the common good and the growth of a society that respects diversity and favours public spending at the centre of everything, perhaps finally returning to discuss public investment for the future of our young generations”.

The 5 clusters, identified using Webboh Lab’s psychographic approach, show a generation of young people demanding a change in mobility and liveability in the city, made up of people rather than means in relation to each other.

Although public transport is the preferred solution, more flexible transport solutions are needed, perhaps favouring and incentivising sharing solutions. Young people who favour these choices embody an individualistic approach to city life, choosing solutions that allow personal independence and economic convenience, but always with a view to maximising social and environmental efficiency. On the other hand, there are groups where public transport is crucial, but always with a view to efficient mobility as well as collective sustainability.

The nod to a given territory is also very interesting: one typology in particular boosts local business and production activities, encouraging a way of life that allows inclusion and multiculturalism. Semantic affinity analyses with local policies throughout Italy could detect which ideas, initiatives, programmes and campaigns best match the 5 types of young people.


Webboh Lab, which came about after a meeting between Webboh (4 million followers on social media) and the Sylla research institute with Furio Camillo as its scientific director, is the first permanent observatory on Gen Z. Webboh Labs is committed to hearing the voice of the younger generation, investigating and exploring their issues and bringing them to the table of people making decisions for them, the adults of tomorrow.

Webboh is the flagship media for Gen Z. Created in April 2019, it has been part of Mondadori Media since February 2023. It currently has a fanbase of 4 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp, 70% of which are under 24. The website receives 3.2 million unique monthly users (source: Audiweb Last Quarter 2024). It is in the top ten most influential Italian media companies on social media, as well as the first targeting Generation Z for engagement and video views (source: Italian Top Media Rankings for First Communication made by Sensemakers). The topicality, authenticity and interest generated by the content is guaranteed by the bottom-up editorial model: the community is involved in every part of the creative process.