Since 2005 there have been substantial switches from road and air transport to rail, and from private transport to public transport.

 The national travel survey (January 2012) Table NT0305 shows people take over 7% fewer car journeys as drivers and almost 11% fewer car journeys as passengers. 

 According to DfT statistics, domestic air journeys have gone down by over 21%. 


 Use of trains and buses has increased over the same period:


The growth in train and bus journeys is of roughly the same order as the reduction in car and plane journeys.

There is a similar pattern in freight transport, where rail is on the increase and road on the decrease.


Although the scale of road haulage far outstrips rail, these changes are still significant.

They call into question the automatic assumption that the volume of road freight will continue to grow. It is especially significant that since the rail loading gauge was raised from Southampton the market share of goods removed from the docks by rail increased from 30% to 36% in one year. 

Is thinking keeping up with changing patterns of travel?

Should we stop putting resources into roads and car parks, and put more into rail? 

April 2012

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