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National Travel Survey

Traffic jam

The only annual survey to look at how, why, when and where we travel.


The National Travel Survey is used by the Government to develop its transport policy and make sure transport plans meet England's travel needs.

We conduct the National Travel Survey every year. It is the only national source of information on where, why, how and how far people travel.  


The lastest National Travel Survey report was published in July 2017 by the Department for Transport.

How often people travel

In recent years there has been a trend of steadily falling trip rates. In 2016 people made nearly 15 trips a week on average (774 trips on average in the year) excluding short walks. This was 13% lower than 2002. 

How far people travel

The average distance travelled (6,396 miles) was 10% lower than in 2002, and 3% lower than in 2015 but similar to the 2014 figure.

How people travel

Most of the trips people made in 2016 were by car, either as a driver or a passenger (62%), or by walking (25%). 87% of all trips were accounted for by these modes of transport.

78% of the total distance people travelled in 2016 was by car, either as a driver or a passenger.

Why people travel

Shopping (18%) and personal business (19%) are the most common trip purposes.

Who is travelling

On average women make more trips than men, but men travel further. This is mostly due to men doing more commuting mileage.    


  • Each year we select a sample of 13,000 household addresses in England. This sample is scientifically chosen to represent the wider population.
  • Everyone living in England has an equal chance of being asked to take part in the survey.
  • We ask everyone living in these households if they will be interviewed and keep a travel diary for one week.
  • We find out what types of transport they use, why they make the trips they do and how they go to work, school and to the shops,
  • The information gathered is then used to help create a national picture of how people travel.

Latest report

View all reports and datasets