UK travel by car continues to increase

Official survey finds cars accounting for 80% of total distance travelled by all modes

British residents are travelling further each year and doing more of it in cars, according to statistics released yesterday which confirm once more the scale of a problem of unsustainable trends in transport being faced across the continent. Covering the period 1996-98, the latest update of the UK government's national travel survey shows that the average British resident is travelling 6,728 miles per year, which is up 27% since 1985/86. The rise is attributed mainly to an increase in the average distance of car journeys from 5.2 to 6.4 miles. Car travel now accounts for four-fifths of the total distance travelled by Britons, according to the report, while walking has fallen to just under 3% of the total distance travelled. The survey also reports that the proportion of primary school aged children walking to school has declined from 67% to 55% over the last decade, with a corresponding increase in the number being taken by car from 22% to 36%. The proportion of households without access to a car has fallen from 38% a decade ago to 30% in 1996-98. The survey is based on diaries kept by 6,900 households.

Follow Up:
UK environment ministry, tel: +44 171 890 3000. References: "National Travel Survey: 1996/98 Update". Further information available from

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