Disability and Transport - Findings from the Scottish Household Survey - July 2021

Key findings

This publication presents transport and travel findings from the Scottish Household Survey. For the purposes of this publication, disabled people are taken as those that report a physical or mental health condition or illness that lasts or is expected to last 12 months or more, and which limits their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

On average, disabled people tend to be older, less likely to be working and more likely to be in a household with a low income than people without disabilities. These demographic factors are all likely to affect transport and travel habits in addition to any impact from disability.

  • Disabled people tend to make fewer journeys than those non-disabled people (an average of 1.63 journeys per day vs 2.07) and, on average, their journeys are shorter in distance (3.2km vs 4.5km).
  • In broad terms, the modes of travel used by both disabled and non-disabled people are similar. For example, car driving journeys accounting for by far the largest proportion of journeys for both groups.
  • However, there are still some differences. Disabled adults are more likely to use the bus than non-disabled adults (11% of journeys vs 7%), less likely to drive (42% vs 54%), and more likely to be a car-passenger (18% vs 12%).
  • Flying is less frequent amongst disabled people, with 29% of disabled people having flown for leisure in the past year compared to 57% of non-disabled people.
  • A lower percentage of disabled people possess a driving licence (51% vs 75%) and a lower percentage have access to a car (52% vs 77%).
  • People who had recently used trains and buses were asked about different aspects of their experiences. Disabled people were generally slightly less positive about their experiences than people who were not disabled, although differences were small for most aspects.

    The area where the difference was highest was whether individuals felt ‘safe and secure on the [bus or train] at night’ (58% of disabled people agreed they felt safe and secure on the bus at night compared to 73% of non-disabled people).

    Another notable difference was regarding whether individuals felt that it was ‘easy to change from bus to other transport’ (65% of disabled people agreed, compared with 77% of non-disabled people).

  • When asked why they did not use the bus more, disabled people were far more likely to quote ‘health reasons’ than non-disabled people were (30% compared to 1%). Difficulties in access or with stepping on/off were quoted as a reason by 4% of disabled people, and 0% of those not disabled.
  • Reasons for not using the train more were not greatly different between disabled and non-disabled people, although ‘cost’ was named by more disabled people than non-disabled people (16% compared to 12%). ‘Health reasons’ were given by 3% of disabled people compared to 0% of non-disabled people.