National Travel Survey: 2008

National Travel Survey: 2008

National Statistics logo The Department for Transport has today published National Statistics from the 2008 National Travel Survey according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

The National Travel Survey (NTS) is a household survey designed to provide a databank of personal travel information for Great Britain.

Key findings from the 2008 National Travel Survey include:

Trends in travel patterns

Average distance travelled per person per year has remained relatively stable over the last ten years at around 7,100, but declined slightly in 2008.

Between 1995/97 and 2005 the proportion of households in Great Britain without access to a car fell from 30% to 25% while the proportion with two or more cars increased from 25% to 32%. Car availability has levelled off since 2005.

Since 1995/97 the proportion of men with a full driving licence has remained relatively stable, at around 81% but it has continued to increase among women, from 57% to 65% in 2008. Licence holding also continued to grow among older people.

Travel by mode and purpose

Trips by car (driver and passenger) accounted for 63% of all trips made and almost 80% of distance travelled.

Between 1995/1997 and 2008 the average distance travelled by local bus outside London increased by 8% and the distance travelled by bus in London increased by 61%.

Over the same period, the average distance travelled by surface rail increased by 54%, accounting for 8% of all distance travelled in 2008.

In 2008 Commuting and business trips accounted for 19% of all trips made, and represented 28% of all distance travelled. Shopping accounted for 19% of all trips but only 13% of distance travelled.

Travel by age and gender

On average, women make more trips than men, but men travel much further per year. The gap in distance travelled is narrowing as travel patterns for men and women change. Since 1996 the average distance travelled as a car driver has fallen by around 10 per cent among men but has increased by over 20% among women.

Just under half of primary school children walked to school in 2008, with a further 43% of children being driven to school. For secondary school children, two fifths of pupils travelled on foot, while a fifth travelled by car and a further fifth used local bus services.

The take up rate of concessionary fare passes among people aged 60 and over has increased from 52% in 2002 to 63% in 2006 and 73% in 2008. This reflects changes to the coverage and eligibility of concessionary fare schemes since 2002.

Social inclusion and accessibility

In 2008, 51% of households in the lowest income quintile had no car compared with 11% in the highest income quintile. However, the gap in car availability between high and low income households is narrowing as car ownership increases among low income households.

Overall, 4% of people who were employed said they always worked from home, and a further 16% said it was possible for them to work from home.

The proportion of households who order goods to be delivered increased from 64% in 2002 to 70 per cent in 2008. The proportion making their last order online increased from 26% to 67% over the same period.

Notes to Editors

National Travel Survey: 2008  is published by DfT. 

The 2008 National Travel Survey (NTS) is the latest in a series of household surveys designed to provide a databank of personal travel information for Great Britain.  The NTS has been running continuously since 1988, following previous ad hoc surveys. In 2008, data was collected from over 8,000 households, covering around 19,000 individuals. The survey is designed to pick up long term trends and is not suitable for monitoring short term trends.

Data from the survey comes from two sources: interviews with people in their homes, and a diary that they keep for a week to record their travel.  As well as data from both these sources from the 2008 NTS, the 2008 publication also includes the first release of data from the travel diary from the 2007 NTS. Publication of the 2007 travel diary data was delayed due to concerns over data quality, which have since been investigated.

In addition 'National Travel Survey 2008 Technical Report' is also published today.

National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

Publication details

Published on 27 August 2009 by Transport Statistics.

Available by telephone order on +44 (0)20 7944 3097

Email national.travelsurvey@dft.gov.uk for queries concerning this bulletin.

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