National Travel Survey: A nation travelling less


The latest government statistics on travel trends in England show a continuing fall in the total number of journeys people are making.

This includes a slight drop in trips – and distance travelled - by car. While car trips still made up the same percentage of total distance travelled, that distance, in line with the general trend, was lower than last year.

According to the 2016 National Travel Survey for England (NTS), people made an average of 774 trips during the year, excluding short walks, or nearly 15 a week. The data only includes personal travel by residents of England.

This was lower than 2015 and 13% lower than 2002. When short walks were included, people made an average of 954 trips in 2016 – around 18 trips a week.


The trip is the basic unit of travel in the NTS, defined as ‘a one-way course of travel with a single main purpose’.

The survey shows that average trip distance and time spent travelling for trips, excluding short walks, have also fallen significantly since 2002.

The average distance travelled (6,396 miles) was 10% lower than in 2002, and 3% lower than in 2015 but similar to the figure for 2014.

In 2016, 87% of all trips were by car or on foot, with 62% of trips made either as a driver or a passenger and 25% by walking. In 2015, cars made up 64% of trips.

Travel by car accounted for 78% of the total distance people travelled. This is the same as for 2015, although the total distance travelled was shorter.

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