Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • on average, in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019, people in England travelled 6,554 miles and made 960 trips per year
  • White people travelled the longest distance and made the most trips, while Black people travelled the shortest distance and made the fewest trips
  • 77% of all miles travelled were by car, either as a driver or passenger
  • the longest distance travelled for all ethnic groups except the Black ethnic group was for leisure

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures:

  • the distance people travel every year
  • the number of trips made
  • the type of transport used (for example, car, bus or train)
  • the purpose of the journeys

The data is based on people of all ages living in England, and includes any trips they made in Wales and Scotland.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and were calculated using unrounded figures.

Not included in the data

Percentages based on fewer than 100 people or 300 trips have not been included in the data. This is because the numbers are too small to make any reliable generalisations.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following 5 aggregated groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make reliable generalisations about specific ethnic groups.

The data for ‘All ethnic groups’ includes people who did not give their ethnicity – this was 0.05% in the 5 years to 2019.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for this data.

The data shows 5-year averages from April 2002 to March 2019. This is to make sure there are enough people to be able to make reliable generalisations. You can read more about combining multiple years of data and some of the issues involved.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed. Differences between ethnic groups have not been tested for statistical significance. The bullet points on this page only include findings about large differences.

National Travel Survey responses are weighted to take account of different population demographics. They are also weighted to take into account people who did not respond or complete their travel diary in full.

You can read more about how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the group it is about.

In the data file

See Download the data for weighted and unweighted sample sizes.

3. Distance travelled by ethnicity over time

Average number of trips and average distance in miles travelled per person per year, by ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Time All Miles All Trips Asian Miles Asian Trips Black Miles Black Trips Mixed Miles Mixed Trips White Miles White Trips Other Miles Other Trips
2002/06 7,151 1,065 4,567 876 4,704 823 4,964 938 7,434 1,087 4,473 840
2003/07 7,139 1,049 4,489 868 4,876 816 5,002 943 7,424 1,071 4,584 854
2004/08 7,076 1,041 4,505 865 4,796 833 5,277 937 7,356 1,061 4,536 863
2005/09 7,007 1,029 4,590 870 4,784 836 5,304 943 7,285 1,048 4,386 863
2006/10 6,910 1,012 4,695 859 4,685 828 5,327 930 7,188 1,031 4,438 865
2007/11 6,842 993 4,595 836 4,637 826 5,088 908 7,134 1,013 4,627 836
2008/12 6,734 987 4,589 837 4,497 827 4,950 891 7,037 1,009 4,429 798
2009/13 6,675 973 4,556 832 4,394 813 4,841 880 6,990 994 4,588 795
2010/14 6,630 962 4,482 808 4,455 809 4,814 859 6,947 984 4,536 784
2011/15 6,622 952 4,469 798 4,360 799 4,703 871 6,953 975 4,048 754
2012/16 6,570 949 4,630 801 4,280 792 4,806 869 6,887 971 4,107 783
2013/17 6,564 949 4,645 801 4,190 778 5,128 883 6,880 972 4,262 796
2014/18 6,552 957 4,588 802 4,179 776 5,087 902 6,875 981 4,308 808
2015/19 6,554 960 4,705 809 4,066 773 5,082 918 6,878 983 4,440 840

Download table data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Distance travelled by ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • people in England travelled 6,554 miles per person per year – down by 597 miles compared with the 5 years from 2002 to 2006
  • White people travelled 6,878 miles per person per year – over 1,700 miles more than any other ethnic group
  • Black people travelled 4,066 miles per person per year – the shortest distance out of all ethnic groups

4. Distance travelled by ethnicity and mode of transport

Percentage of distance travelled, and average distance travelled in miles person per year, by ethnicity and mode of transport
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Mode of transport All % All Miles Asian % Asian Miles Black % Black Miles Mixed % Mixed Miles White % White Miles Other % Other Miles
Bicycle 1 56 0 19 1 28 1 32 1 61 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Bus in London 1 72 4 192 10 396 3 137 1 45 5 241
Car / van driver 50 3,257 41 1,910 35 1,428 31 1,586 51 3,504 40 1,784
Car / van passenger 28 1,822 28 1,339 19 755 35 1,768 28 1,917 27 1,216
London Underground 2 100 4 199 4 172 3 154 1 86 3 137
Motorcycle 0 29 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 0 33 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Non-local bus 1 47 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1 46 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Other local bus 3 179 2 102 6 248 5 243 3 182 4 169
Other private transport 2 101 1 34 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 2 110 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Other public transport 1 47 1 31 1 46 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1 48 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Surface Rail 9 586 12 578 16 642 11 560 9 586 11 491
Taxi / minicab 1 58 1 47 2 61 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1 58 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Walk 3 202 4 185 5 196 5 269 3 202 5 217

Download table data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity and mode of transport’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity and mode of transport’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Distance travelled by ethnicity and mode of transport Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • 77% of all miles travelled by people in England were by car or van (either as a driver or a passenger)
  • 17% of all miles travelled were by public transport
  • car or van journeys made up 79% of the distance travelled by White people, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for Black people (54%)
  • London bus journeys made up 10% of the distance travelled by Black people, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for White people (1%)
  • overground rail made up 16% of the distance travelled by Black people, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for White people (9%)

5. Distance travelled by ethnicity and purpose of journey

Percentage of distance travelled, and average distance travelled in miles per person per year, by ethnicity and purpose of journey
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Purpose of trip All % All Miles Asian % Asian Miles Black % Black Miles Mixed % Mixed Miles White % White Miles Other % Other Miles
Business 9 579 6 287 9 356 6 305 9 623 8 336
Commuting 20 1,293 28 1,334 28 1,144 18 908 19 1,305 26 1,142
Education/escort 5 334 9 408 12 483 12 614 5 314 11 470
Leisure 40 2,652 34 1,576 26 1,074 43 2,193 41 2,840 29 1,281
Personal business 7 466 8 368 10 400 6 287 7 482 8 356
Shopping 11 734 9 426 8 328 6 310 11 789 11 490
Other escort 7 442 6 275 7 265 8 430 7 466 7 333
Other including just walk 1 54 1 31 0 15 1 36 1 58 1 33

Download table data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity and purpose of journey’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Distance travelled by ethnicity and purpose of journey’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Distance travelled by ethnicity and purpose of journey Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • travel for leisure (including trips to visit friends and for entertainment, sport and holidays) made up 40% of all distance travelled, the highest percentage out of all reasons for travelling
  • travel for leisure made up 43% of the distance travelled by people with Mixed ethnicity, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for Black people (26%)
  • travel for education (including taking children to school) made up 12% of the distance travelled by people from the Black and Mixed ethnic groups, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for White people (5%)

6. Number of trips by ethnicity over time

Average number of trips per person per year, by ethnicity over time
Time All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Trips Trips Trips Trips Trips Trips
2002/06 1,065 876 823 938 1,087 840
2003/07 1,049 868 816 943 1,071 854
2004/08 1,041 865 833 937 1,061 863
2005/09 1,029 870 836 943 1,048 863
2006/10 1,012 859 828 930 1,031 865
2007/11 993 836 826 908 1,013 836
2008/12 987 837 827 891 1,009 798
2009/13 973 832 813 880 994 795
2010/14 962 808 809 859 984 784
2011/15 952 798 799 871 975 754
2012/16 949 801 792 869 971 783
2013/17 949 801 778 883 972 796
2014/18 957 802 776 902 981 808
2015/19 960 809 773 918 983 840

Download table data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Number of trips by ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • people in England made 960 trips per person per year – down by 105 trips compared with the 5 years from 2002 to 2006
  • White people made the most trips per person per year (983) and Black people made the fewest (773)
  • in every ethnic group except the Other ethnic group, people made fewer trips compared with the 5 years from 2002 to 2006

7. Number of trips by ethnicity and mode of transport

Percentage of trips, and average number of trips made per person per year, by ethnicity and mode of transport
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Mode of transport All % All Trips Asian % Asian Trips Black % Black Trips Mixed % Mixed Trips White % White Trips Other % Other Trips
Bicycle 2 16 1 8 1 8 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 2 17 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Bus in London 2 17 6 46 12 93 4 35 1 11 8 65
Car / van driver 40 387 31 252 25 195 19 172 42 413 28 232
Car / van passenger 21 203 21 168 15 116 28 253 21 210 18 154
London Underground 1 10 2 18 2 19 2 18 1 9 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Motorcycle 0 3 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 0 3 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Non-local bus 0 1 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 0 1 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Other local bus 4 36 3 23 7 55 6 51 4 36 5 42
Other private transport 1 7 0 3 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1 7 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Other public transport 0 3 1 5 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 0 3 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Surface Rail 2 21 3 26 5 37 3 26 2 20 3 27
Taxi / minicab 1 10 1 9 1 10 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1 10 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Walk 26 245 31 250 29 227 35 323 25 244 33 274

Download table data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity and mode of transport’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity and mode of transport’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Number of trips by ethnicity and mode of transport Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • journeys by car or van made up 63% of trips by White people, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for Black people (40%)
  • White people made 42% of their trips as a car or van driver, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for people with Mixed ethnicity (19%)
  • journeys by local bus made up 19% of trips by Black people, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • people with Mixed ethnicity were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to walk (making up 35% of their trips) and White people were least likely (25%)
  • overground train journeys made up between 2% and 5% of people’s trips in every ethnic group

8. Number of trips by ethnicity and purpose of journey

Percentage of trips, and average number of trips made per person per year, by ethnicity and purpose of journey
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Purpose of trip All % All Trips Asian % Asian Trips Black % Black Trips Mixed % Mixed Trips White % White Trips Other % Other Trips
Business 3 30 2 19 3 26 2 20 3 31 3 26
Commuting 15 143 19 154 19 143 12 106 15 143 18 148
Education/escort 13 121 21 173 23 175 24 225 11 111 23 192
Leisure 26 248 17 140 17 129 24 225 27 265 17 142
Personal business 9 91 11 86 13 102 8 70 9 92 8 65
Shopping 19 184 17 137 15 116 14 131 20 193 17 146
Other escort 9 85 9 73 9 66 10 96 9 87 10 88
Other including just walk 6 56 3 27 2 15 5 45 6 61 4 32

Download table data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity and purpose of journey’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Number of trips by ethnicity and purpose of journey’ (CSV)

Summary of Travel by distance, trips, type of transport and purpose Number of trips by ethnicity and purpose of journey Summary

The data shows that, on average in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019:

  • 26% of trips were for leisure, making it the most common reason for travelling
  • 27% of trips made by White people were for leisure, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – the lowest percentage was for each of the Black, Asian and Other ethnic groups (17%)
  • 11% of trips made by White people were for education (including taking children to school) – the percentage for every other ethnic group was between 21% and 24%

9. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Transport

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The National Travel Survey is the main source of data on personal travel by people living in England.

The survey collects information on how, why, when and where people travel. It also covers factors affecting people's travel habits, such as whether they have a car and driving licence.

10. Download the data

Travel by distance and purpose - Spreadsheet (csv) 141 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator (weighted and unweighted)

Travel by distance and type of transport - Spreadsheet (csv) 220 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator (weighted and unweighted)

Travel by trips and purpose - Spreadsheet (csv) 135 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator (weighted and unweighted)

Travel by trips and type of transport - Spreadsheet (csv) 204 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator (weighted and unweighted)