Scotland: car continues to dominate for commuters

12.00 | 27 September 2017 | | 1 comment

The results of an annual survey into transport in Scotland shows that two thirds of commuters (67%) drove to work in 2016 – a year-on-year rise of 1.1%.

Published by Transport Scotland yesterday (26 Sept), the Scottish Household Survey shows that – looking at longer term trends – the number of people driving to work has fallen by 1% since 2007.

The survey also reveals that 30.6% of journeys to work in 2016 were made by public transport or active travel, a year-on-year fall of 0.8% – but up 0.9% compared with 2007.

Focussing on active travel, the percentage of people walking to work fell by 2% to 12% in 2016, while the number cycling to work rose by 2% to 3%.

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s minister for transport, says the figures highlight that while advances are being made in building a cleaner and greener transport system, ‘there is still work to do’.

With regard to travelling to school, 51.8% of children walked in 2016 – a 3% year-on-year rise. However, the figure remains 1% lower than in 2007.

25.6% of children were driven to school (either by car or van) – a year-on-year fall of 0.2%, but 3.7% above the 2007 figure. 1.4% of pupils cycled to school, up 0.2% on 2015 and 0.6% on 2007.

In general, driving (car or van) continues to dominate, totalling more than half of journeys made for the first time since 2010. The figure of 50.6% also represents a year-on-year increase of 0.9%.

Similarly, the estimated volume of traffic on Scotland’s roads was at its highest ever – 46.4bn vehicle kilometres were travelled in 2016 – a year-on-year increase and slightly above the previous peak in 2007 (44.7bn).

The number of journeys made by foot also rose in 2016, up 1.9% to 23.5% – the highest level since 2012. Cycling trips remained at the same level (1.2%) – 0.5% higher than 2007.

Humza Yousaf, said: “It is welcome that the overall share of walking journeys has increased and there has also been an increase in the number of pupils walking and cycling to school.

“The Scottish Government wants to see more progress and we have doubled our active travel budget, from £40m to £80m, to help achieve our ambitious targets in this area.”

In 2016, the Scottish Household Survey contained a number of new questions on plug-in electric cars or vehicles.

36% of respondents said they would consider buying an electric car or van, while 49% said they would not. Less than 1% of respondents said they already owned an electric vehicle.

Of those who had bought, or would consider buying, a plug-in electric vehicle, the main reasons were ‘environmentally friendliness’ (68%) and fuel or running costs (64%).

For those who said they would not consider buying an electric vehicle, the distance travelled on a single charge (46%) and the availability or convenience of charging points (46%) were the main deterrents.

Category: Research and evaluation.



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    Are we to conclude that, despite the millions of pounds expended since 2007, there has been virtually no change in the way we have to travel?

    Andrew Fraser
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