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National Travel Survey

Traffic jam

The only annual survey to look at how, why, when and where we travel.

Aim

The National Travel Survey is used by the Government to develop its transport policy and make sure transport plans meet England's travel needs.

We conduct the National Travel Survey every year. It is the only national source of information on where, why, how and how far people travel.  

Findings

The latest National Travel Survey report (pdf) was published in August 2020 by the Department for Transport.

How often people travel

The average number of yearly trips made by people is comparable to the early 70’s, following a fall from the late 1990s. This is largely attributed to a decline in the number of trips taken by car.

 

How far people travel

The average distance travelled (6,500 miles) was 10% lower than in 2002.

 

How people travel

Most of the trips people made in 2019 were by car, either as a driver or a passenger (61%), or by walking (26%). 87% of all trips were accounted for by these modes of transport.

Why people travel

Leisure (26%) and shopping (19%) are the most common trip purposes.

Who is travelling

On average women make more trips than men, but men travel further. This is mostly due to men doing more commuting mileage.

Methodology

  • Each year we select a sample of 13,000 household addresses in England. This sample is scientifically chosen to represent the wider population.
  • Everyone living in England has an equal chance of being asked to take part in the survey.
  • We ask everyone living in these households if they will be interviewed and keep a travel diary for one week.
  • We find out what types of transport they use, why they make the trips they do and how they go to work, school and to the shops,
  • The information gathered is then used to help create a national picture of how people travel.

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Latest report

View all reports and datasets