COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data: Wave 14

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. It 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. The 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 14 of the survey which took place from 3 - 10  March 2021. The key findings are:

Current Behaviour

  • The vast majority of people have left home at least once in the past 7 days (92%). This has been fairly consistent across all 14 waves.
  • The main trip purposes continue to be to shop for groceries (87% leaving the house at least once) and outdoor exercise (82%). The prevalence of most other journey types has declined since Lockdown measures were imposed from Boxing Day. 
  • 31% say they are travelling to work which is an decrease of two 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, 77% indicate that they are travelling by car or van; 17% have used active modes; while 5% have said that they used public transport.
  • Prior to the initial lockdown in March 2020, car or private van was the main mode of transport used by respondents.
  • 50% of respondents have access to a bike for adult use. A further 6% have access to a bike but it is not roadworthy. Almost 90% of respondents have access to a car.
  • Currently, people are more likely to: use contactless payments (65%); exercise outside the home by walking (60%); shop closer to home (52%); contact family and friends by phone, video call or texting apps (51%); and use conference calls and video call to communicate with colleagues, customers and clients (51%) compared to before restrictions were put in place.
  • 42% of people are more likely to shop online to purchase products they would normally buy in-store; 20% 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 (91%) state that they are following the regulations and guidance on travel and transport completely or nearly completely. 9% state they are less compliant.
  • The majority of respondents (82%) 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 (48%); medical or dental appointments (12%); provide caring responsibilities (11%); or for essential shopping (7%).
  • 55% 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 (92%). 9% did so with someone not from their own home or extended household.
  • 89% agreed with the statement “I will wear a face covering if using public transport”. 100% 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 (22).

Looking Ahead

  • Concerns about using public transport remain high: 71% of people are very or fairly concerned about contracting or spreading the virus while using public transport; and 61% are very or fairly concerned about having enough space to observe physical distancing on public transport.  This has been fairly consistent across the previous 13 waves of the survey.
  • 48% 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”. 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.
  • 60% of agree with the statement “I will go back to doing all of the things I did before including vacations and travel”.
  • 32% agree that they expect to work from home more often in the future.
  • 64% agree that they will walk and cycle more, no change from the previous wave.
  • 49% agree that they will travel less by air than before.
  • When asked when it is likely respondents are likely to travel and for a holiday or a break, 25% said Summer this year. 22% said in 2022; 19% said they did not know; while 18% said Autumn this year.  15% said Spring this year.

Published Date 18 Mar 2021 Type Topic