Majority of Car Trips are for Leisure or Shopping
In a blow to those who like to portray cars as essential, government statistics show that the majority of drivers are pootling to a National Trust property or their local shops.
Leisure and shopping together make up the majority of all car trips, at 51%. Only 16% are for commuting.
These figures come from the Car Availability and Trends in Car Trips section of the National Travel Survey (NTS).
The statistics also show that:
- 45% of households have one car or van
- 34% have two or more vehicles and
- 22% have none
There are now 12 cars for every 10 households in England, up from 8 cars in 1985/6.
Meanwhile the number of car trips people make and the distance they travel is in long-term decline, but has rebounded after a collapse during the travel restrictions of the pandemic.
The National Travel Survey 2022
The National Travel Survey 2022 explains how and why residents of England travel.
It is based on interviews and a seven-day travel diary. There was a 31% response rate, representing 8,087 individuals.
Mode Share and Public Transport Use
50 to 59 year olds use private means of transport such as cars the most. Children 0-16 and Londoners are the most active travellers.
These figures come from the Mode Share and Public Transport document.
Walking is the most common active mode, and 83% of trips under a mile are walked. For trips of 1-5 miles, this drops to 21%, and 67% of such journeys are by private car.
London Underground use has not recovered after the pandemic, and bus use outside London has been in decline for the last 20 years.
Since 2002, cycling miles are up, according to the Active Travel element of the survey. Cycling trips on the other hand are down (18 to 15 on average per person per year).
DfT traffic statistics from Automatic Traffic Counters disagree with the NTS, so the NTS should be treated with caution here due to small sample size.
There was an increase in leisure cycling trips during the pandemic, but commuting is now coming back.
Trips to and from School
Trips to and from school are largely made by walking or being driven.
Walking for 5 to 10 year olds recovered from an all-time low of 46% in 2019 to 53% in 2022.
There’s a factsheet that sets out some of the main findings of the NTS, partly in graphics.
It shows that cycling remains stuck on 2% of trips.