Car ownership remains 'vitally important' to the UK as a 'very car dependent society'

Cars on a motorway

Around 70 per cent of commutes in urban areas outside London are made by car

PA
Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves


Published: 31/08/2023

- 16:54

The average number of trips increased for car drivers to 337 trips per person

Car ownership is still vital to everyday life, new data has found, although active travel methods like walking and cycling are becoming more popular.

The average number of trips made by people living in England have increased by 14 per cent last year compared to 2021.


The National Travel Survey found that the average number of trips increased for car drivers to 337 trips per person, although these figures are below pre-pandemic levels.

On average, people made 862 trips in 2022, with numbers down 10 per cent compared to 2019.

A car and bicycle

Britons are still making fewer trips than before the pandemic

PA

Edmund King, AA president, said: “This survey shows the reality of travel outside of urban areas. Whether people like it or not, we are still a very car dependent society.

“Car drivers used their car almost every day last year and car passengers almost every other day.

“It is also telling that females make more car trips than males but that males tend to drive further.

“This survey shows the vital importance of the car in society and so is a reminder that investment in road maintenance, reducing congestion hot spots and support for the transition to lower emission vehicles is absolutely essential to keep the country running in a sustainable manner.”

Interestingly, the most common reason for motorists taking a trip was to go shopping, with 151 trips per person, outranking commuting or travelling for leisure.

For people commuting outside of London, car dependence remains a massive factor in getting to and from work.

The data shows that almost 70 per cent of urban commutes are by car, with vehicles in rural areas accounting for a staggering 84 per cent.

Edmund King also highlighted how short trips are showing some signs of change, with walking becoming a more popular option for Britons.

He continued, saying: “More people appear convinced that many short journeys can be done on two legs rather than by car.

“While the lockdowns may have re-kindled enthusiasm for walking, record pump prices will have been a major influence. People working from home will have helped also.

“The downside from councils’ point of view is that residents who walk their streets have become more acutely aware of the poor state of their roads and this has raised anger with potholes.”

In the Spring Budget earlier this year, the Government pledged a further £200million to repair potholes and improve roads.

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Cars parked

On average, people made 862 trips in 2022

PA

It is estimated that this could fix the equivalent of up to four million additional potholes across England, although many remain unimpressed with progress in fixing roads.

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