COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data: Wave 12

Transport Scotland is monitoring public attitudes to transport and travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are doing this through a telephone survey carried out on our behalf with a representative sample of over 16s across Scotland. This information provides the key findings from the survey. This information is used to gain an understanding of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting current travel behaviour and intentions for future travel in Scotland. This information cannot be used to determine compliance with government guidance relating to non-essential travel in isolation. Police Scotland hold information in relation to penalty notices issued under emergency legislation. These findings are for Wave 12 of the survey which took place from 13 - 19  January. The key findings are:

Current Behaviour

  • The vast majority of people have left home at least once in the past 7 days (89%). This has been consistent across all 12 waves.
  • The main trip purposes continue to be to shop for groceries (83% leaving the house at least once) and outdoor exercise (76%). The prevalence of other journey types has fallen at wave 12 due to lockdown measures being imposed from Boxing Day.
  • 23% say they are travelling to work which is a decrease of eight percentage points at the previous wave.
  • People continue to shop for groceries and other items less frequently (1-3 times a week) whereas they take part in outdoor exercise more frequently (4-7 times per week). For those travelling to work, the majority are doing so between 4-5 times a week.
  • Private car or van remains the main mode of transport used across most trip purposes in the past 7 days, with walking or wheeling the other main mode used. For those travelling to work, 85% indicate that they are travelling by car or van; 9% have used active modes; while 5% have said that they used public transport.
  • Currently, people are more likely to: use contactless payments (64%); exercise outside the home by walking (59%); contact family and friends by phone, video call or texting apps (56%); use conference calls and video call to communicate with colleagues, customers and clients (56%); and shop closer to home (54%) compared to before restrictions were put in place.
  • 47% of people are more likely to shop online to purchase products they would normally buy in-store; 25% are more likely to use home delivery for supermarket shopping more.


  • 79% of respondents agreed that "The information and guidance on travel and transport restrictions issued by the Scottish Government has been clear".
  • The vast majority of respondents (92%) state that they are following the regulations and guidance on travel and transport completely or nearly completely. 8% state they are less compliant.
  • The majority of respondents (85%) have not travelled out with their local authority area. Of those who have, the main reasons have been for exceptions to the regulation not to travel such as to go to work (57%); to provide caring responsibilities (12%); essential shopping (9%); and medical or dental appointments (9%).
  • 46% of people had travelled in a car with someone else in the past seven days. Of those who did, the vast majority did so with someone from their own or extended household (95%). 8% did so with someone not from their own home or extended household.
  • 88% agreed with the statement "I will wear a face covering if using public transport". 93% of those who used public transport in the past 7 days said that they wore a face covering but this is based on a very small number of people (27).

Looking Ahead

  • Concerns about using public transport remain high and have increased: 77% of people are very or fairly concerned about contracting or spreading the virus while using public transport; and 68% are very or fairly concerned about having enough space to observe physical distancing on public transport.  This has been fairly consistent across the previous 12 waves of the survey but has increased.
  • 49% agree with the statement "I will avoid public transport and use my car or other vehicle more than I did before when restrictions on transport are lifted". This is an increase of 3 percentage points on the previous wave. The main reasons for avoiding public transport in rank order are the risk that others are still carrying the disease; convenience; unable to stay 1m apart; and cleanliness or hygiene on-board public transport.
  • 62% of agree with the statement "I will go back to doing all of the things I did before including vacations and travel".
  • 39% agree that they expect to work from home more often in the future, up 3 percentage from the previous wave.
  • 67% agree that they will walk and cycle more, an increase of 5 percentage points from the previous wave.
  • 48% agree that they will travel less by air than before, an increase of 6 percentage points from the previous wave.
  • When asked when it is likely respondents are likely to travel and for a holiday or a break, 29% said they did not know. 23% said Summer this year, while 21% said in 2022. A smaller proportion (14%) said Autumn this year, with 13% saying Spring this year.

Published Date 28 Jan 2021 Type Topic