Car drivers travel record distance in 2017

11.28 | 6 July 2018 |

Image: Highways England

The RAC says people are more dependent on their cars than ever before, after new DfT figures show a record number of miles were travelled by car users during 2017.

Published on 5 July, the figures show that 254.4 billion vehicle miles were travelled by car users during 2017 – a year-on-year rise of 1.1%.

The total number of miles travelled also rose in 2017 – up 1.3% to 327.1 billion vehicle miles.

However, the number of miles travelled by bus fell by 3.4% to 2.4 billion miles – meaning the figure is now 28.2% lower than 10 years ago.

The RAC says the ‘dramatic’ drop in bus useage is a ‘major cause for concern’.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC roads policy spokesman, said: “The data reflects what motorists are telling us – that they are more dependent on their cars to get to work, visit family and friends and manage their daily lives than ever before and they are finding that public transport is failing to provide a reliable and effective alternative.

“We know that for many people public transport options are sparse, or that it is simply not affordable nor practical, but as a country we should be doing all we can to increase the number of services and their frequency at the same time as lowering fares in order to get motorists to see them as genuine alternatives.”

The DfT figures also highlight the growth in cycling – with 3.3 billion miles trvelled by bicycle in 2017, representing a 3.1% year-on-year rise. The 2017 figure is also 5.2% higher than 2012 and 28.2% up on 2007.

The number of miles travelled by motorcyclists remained broadly stable in 2017 – dropping by 0.3% to 2.8 billion. However, the figure is 18.6% lower than 10 years ago.


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