Travel study reveals changing behaviour among young and old

Elderly driver Image copyright Thinkstock

A major new study into how people travel around England shows a big difference between the generations.

Young people increasingly are ditching the car, while older people, especially women, drive more than ever.

The Independent Transport Commission (ITC) also found that people were making fewer trips than they did 20 years ago, but those trips were longer.

Men under 35 are the most likely to shun the car, while women over 60 are driving more.

One of the authors, Dr Matthew Niblett, director of the ITC, says: "This report uncovers seismic shifts in patterns of individual travel behaviour."

Here is what they found (figures per person per year).

Overall: The number of trips English residents are making fell by 15% between 1995 and 2014. However, the average trip distance (all modes) increased by 10% and the average trip time by almost 15%.

Rich v Poor: The gap between rich and poor car driver miles is still large but has been narrowing. For the richest income quintile, car driver miles fell by 10% between 1996 and 2014 (to about 4,500); however, for the poorest quintile, miles driven rose by almost 20% (to about 1,200).

Young v Old: Young men (under 35) car driver miles almost halved between 1996 and 2014 (to about 3,700), while for women over 60, car driver miles more than doubled over the same period (to about 1,800).

London: In London the fall in car distance travelled per person has been dramatic, down by almost a third in outer London, and by more than half for inner London.

Rail: The one thing people are doing a lot more is catching the train, despite the fact that even allowing for inflation, fares have gone up by 25% since 1995. Average rail mileage per person has continued to rise sharply. This is due to a greater percentage of the population travelling by rail, rather than existing travellers making more or longer journeys.

Dr Niblett said: "We are seeing that the historic correlations between incomes, costs and travel are weakening. An inter-generational divide in travel behaviour is growing.

"For young adults, cars are increasingly viewed as utilitarian appliances, rather than aspirational goods. And there are also growing differences in travel patterns between rural and urban areas."

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