New travel statistics that show the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns, found that while people in England obviously travelled less often and less far last year than in 2019, they walked and cycled further.
The Department for Transport has published the Main Results for England from the National Travel Survey (NTS) 2020 and separate results from walking and cycling, based on the NTS and the Active Lives Survey.
Watford, April 2020: Police on patrol approach locals in Watford, enforcing lockdown measures
Overall people in England made 739 trips on average in 2020, or 14 trips a week. This was a 22% decrease on the level in 2019, where people made an average of 953 trips per year.
In 2020 people travelled an average of 4,334 miles, down by a third (33%) on the 6,500 miles travelled in 2019. On average, people spent around 269 hours travelling in 2020, down 27% from 370 hours in 2019.
Cars remained the most popular mode of travel, making up 58% of all trips in 2020 and 81% of miles travelled. This modal share represented a decrease of three percentage points from 2019) but the percentage of overall distance travelled that was done by car was up of four percentage points.
A higher proportion of trips were walked in 2020 than 2019, up six percentage points to 32% of all trips in 2020. However, the number of trips walked fell by 5%, from 250 trips per person in 2019 to 236 trips per person in 2020.
However, 2020 saw a 34% increase in the average number of walking trips over a mile, compared to 2019. This meant that the average number of miles walked per person increased by 7% to 220 miles, the highest levels since 2002.
Similarly, the distance travelled by bike rose during the year, up by 62% from 54 miles per person in 2019 to 88 miles per person in 2020.
The average number of cycling trips also increased over the year but less dramatically, rising by a quarter (26%) from 16 trips per person in 2019 to 20 in 2020.
Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy, said: ‘Today’s National Travel Survey reveals just how effective last year’s lockdown and travel restrictions were in reducing people’s movements and therefore the spread of the coronavirus.’