Commuters set to return to their cars?

12.00 | 21 June 2016 | | 3 comments

The number of commuters who travel to work by car will increase over the next 25 years as fewer journeys are made by foot, bicycle, bus and train, according to Department for Transport (DfT) modelling.

The DfT forecasts have been picked up by a number of media outlets including the Times which says they suggest a 24% decline in bus journeys, 7% drop in cycling and 1% fall in the number of trips by train.

In 2015, Britons made on average 22.1 journeys by bike, but a news report says this is predicted to drop to 20.5 journeys by 2040. adds that the DfT figures show that car journeys are forecast to rise from an average of 453.4 journeys per person in 2015 to 503.9 by 2040. It is also predicted that fewer trips will be made as a passenger in a car, leading to conclude that ‘single occupancy car journeys would therefore appear to be the future’.

Figures published in May by the DfT show that a total of 316.7bn miles were travelled by vehicles on the UK road network during 2015, a year-on-year rise of 1.6% and the highest level ever recorded.

In April, it was revealed that more than three million new vehicles were registered in Great Britain during 2015, the highest figure in a decade.

When asked to comment on the modelling figures, Andrew Jones, transport minister, said the DfT had set out its forecasts of road traffic but not the accompanying forecasts for other modes. Transportxtra reports that Mr Jones said that they were produced "solely for the purpose of forecasting traffic".

Lilian Greenwood, shadow transport secretary, told The Times: “Ministers claim that they will double cycling journeys by 2025 but their own projections predict that cycling will tail off.

“It’s now clearer than ever that plans to cut walking and cycling funding by over 70% will hasten this decline and lead to even more cars on congested and poorly maintained roads.”

In response, the DfT said: "We want more people to switch to public transport and are investing a record £61bn to deliver the transport connections of the future."


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    Commuters are polluters. If people were forced by law to work near to where they lived there would be an enormous drop in pollution and our air would be much much cleaner – and people would not waste hours a day commuting and polluting.

    Robert Bolt Saint Albans
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    Forecasting that far into the future is likely to be wildly inaccurate as other variables come strongly into play e.g. potential major hikes in fuel tax levels by government. Still it gives planners something to do – and we would criticise the DfT planners if they didn’t produce forecasts wouldn’t we.

    Pat, Wales
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    As more people cannot afford to live near their work place (especially in London) the commute takes over and the state of the trains, dirty crowded and late are pushing people back into their cars.

    Peter City of Westminster
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