Smart Transport

Average car trip suitable for EV, DfT data shows

The average car trip made in England in 2019 was just 8.4 miles, well below the range of all plug-in vehicles, reveals newly-published data from the Department for Transport.

Most plug-in hybrids have a zero emissions range of around 20 miles and models like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3 have potential ranges of 168 miles and 322 miles respectively.

The DfT data is from 2019 and was collated before the Covid-19 pandemic in the latest National Travel Survey.

The figures show that there has been a 13% reduction in the number of trips undertaken by cars since 2002.

Cars still made up the majority of trips at 61% and over three quarters of all distance covered.

The average number of business trips per person was 28, while their average business mileage was 555 miles and average journey time was 42 minutes.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of business trips were made by car or van in 2019.

Walking was the second most popular method of travel, accounting for over a quarter of trips.

Buses took 5%, while trains and cycling took 2% each.

The 2019 data shows that walking trips saw a slight fall from 2018 to 2019 to 250 trips per year, however this is an increase compared to the lowest level of walking recently recording in 2014.

In the last five years, people in England made 14% more walking trips and spent 12% long walking, per year.

The National Travel Survey is a household survey of personal travel by residents of England travelling within Great Britain, from data collected via interviews and a seven-day travel diary, which enables analysis of patterns and trends.

People made 953 trips on average in 2019, or 18 trips a week.

This was a 3% decrease on the level in 2018. People travelled an average of 6,500 miles in 2019, unchanged from 2018.

However, the trip rate in 2019 was 11% lower than the 2002 figure of 1,074; the average of 6,500 miles travelled in 2019 was 10% lower than the 7,193 recorded in 2002.

On average, people spent over an hour a day travelling in 2019, including 35 minutes by car (as a driver or passenger), 11 minutes walking, 13 minutes on public transport and two minutes on other private transport modes.

Leisure and shopping

The most common trip purpose in 2019 was for leisure (26%), followed by shopping trips (19%) and then commuting (15%).

These proportions are broadling unchanged since 2002, but the total amount of trips and total distance travelled has decreased since 2002 and 2018.

As part of its analysis, the DfT said understanding the trends is difficult.

It said: “The averages presented mask different trends for different types of people, modes and types of trip.

“Some of the many factors might include changing demographic patterns, changing patterns of trips and the impact of new technologies influencing the demand for travel, for example, the increase in online social networking, the capability for home working and online shopping.”

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry. Watch his presentation below:


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