3 Motor vehicles, traffic and driving
The estimated total volume of traffic on Scotland's roads in 2012 was over 43 billion vehicle kilometres - 0.4 per cent more than in 2011 and the first increase since 2007.
In 2012 there were around 216,000 new vehicle registrations in Scotland, an increase of 7 per cent on 2011, the largest increase in the last ten years.
There were 2.7 million motor vehicles licensed in Scotland in 2012, a one per cent increase on 2011 and 17 per cent higher than in 2002.
68% of people aged 17 or over had a full driving licence in 2012, the highest the level has been since the survey began in 1999.
Driving licence possession varies with age. Seventeen to 19 year olds have the lowest rate of licence possession (28%) with the rate increasing with age to peak at 80 per cent of 40 to 49 year olds, before decreasing back down to 37 per cent of those 80 or over. [Table 1]
Males were more likely to hold a full driving license than females (76% vs. 62%); male licence possession has been fairly stable whilst female possession has been steadily increasing over the years of the survey.
Twenty-six per cent of households had access to two or more cars in 2012, whilst 31 per cent had no access to a car. Whilst the percentage of households with more than 2 cars proportions is currently the highest it has been, the proportions have remained broadly similar over the last five years.
Households with higher annual net household income are more likely to have access to a car.
People living in rural areas used their cars more frequently than those in urban areas. Around three quarters of those living in rural areas drove at least once a week. This contrasts with around half of those living in large urban areas driving at least once a week.
One in five respondents had made a journey in the last month where they chose to drive only part of the way, and completed their journey using another form of transport. Of these, 29 per cent parked in a designated Park & Ride facility and a further 29 per cent used an ordinary car park at a bus station, train station or airport. [Table 21]
Half of households spend £100 or less on fuel for their cars each month, the same amount as in 2011. Households reported an average spend of £134 on fuel for their cars in the past month - an increase of £34 over the last three years.
3.1 There were 2.7 million motor vehicles licensed in Scotland in 2012, a one per cent increase on the previous year and 17 per cent higher than in 2002. The steady upward trend has flattened out in the last couple of years. [Table S1] Figure 1 shows the trends since 1975: showing increases in almost every year, and the number of vehicles licensed has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
3.2 In 2012 there were 216,000 new vehicle registrations in Scotland, an increase of 7 per cent on 2011, the largest increase in the last ten years. Figure 2 shows new vehicle registrations rising and falling a number of times since 1975, reaching a quarter of a million per year a few times in the last 10 years (2002 - 2005; 2007).
Figure 1: Vehicles licensed in Scotland
NB: breaks exist in the series due to changes in the collection process. Collection moved from local taxation offices to the DVLA (annual vehicle census) in 1978 while figures from 1993 onwards originate from the DfT Vehicle Information Database.
Figure 2: New registrations of vehicles in Scotland
NB: a break in the series exists in 1994. Results prior to this are taken from DVLA geographical analysis with results thereafter estimated using post town area data.
Figure 3: Vehicles licensed per 100 population
Figure 4: Traffic (vehicle kilometres) in Scotland
NB: breaks in the series exist as the DfT revised its method of estimating traffic volumes from 1993. Estimates of traffic on minor roads are not available prior to 1993.
The road network
Provisional figures show there were almost 55,900 kilometres of public road in Scotland in 2012 with the trunk road network accounting for 6 per cent. Compared to Great Britain, Scotland has a greater road length relative to the size of the population: in 2012, Scotland had 10.5 kilometres of road per 1,000 population whereas GB had only 6.4 kilometres per 1,000 population.
3.3 The estimated total volume of traffic on Scotland's roads in 2012 was over 43 billion (thousand million) vehicle kilometres - 0.4 per cent more than 2011, the first increase since traffic levels peaked at 44.7 billion vehicle kilometres in 2007. Prior to this, the trend had been steadily upward, rising from 35.2 billion vehicle kilometres in 1993. [Table S1]
3.4 Whilst Scotland saw a 0.4 per cent increase, Great Britain as a whole saw a 0.4 per cent decrease in volume of traffic. [Table SGB1].
3.5 Figure 4 shows the longer-term trends in Scotland. It is estimated that the volume of car traffic on major roads (Motorways and A roads) has more than doubled, from an estimated 9,300 million vehicle kilometres in 1975 to around 22,170 million vehicle kilometres in 2012. Figure 4 shows much of this rise was between 1983 and 1995.
3.6 Compared to Great Britain as a whole, Scotland had less traffic (per head of population) on Motorways, more traffic on A roads, and more traffic on all roads taken together (including B, C and unclassified roads). Despite accounting for 20 per cent of the road network, Motorway and A roads account for two thirds of traffic in Scotland.
Possession of driving licenses
3.7 68.3% of respondents to the Scottish Household Survey aged 17 or over had a full driving licence in 2012, an increase of almost 4 percentage points over the last ten years, and the highest figure since the survey began in 1999.
3.8 Driving licence possession varies with age. Seventeen to 19 year olds have the lowest rate of licence possession (28%) with the rate increasing with age to peak at 80 per cent of 40 to 49 year olds, before decreasing back down to 37 per cent of those 80 or over. [Table 1]
3.9 There is a disparity in driving licence possession with regards to gender. Seventy-six per cent of males and only 62 per cent of females possessed a licence in 2012. However, due to an increase in percentage of females with a full driving licence since 1999, this gap has decreased from 23 percentage points in 2002 to 14 percentage points in 2012. [Table 1] The gender gap is more marked in the older age groups than it is in the younger age groups, which explains why it is decreasing over time. [Table 19] (Figure 5)
3.10 Household income is also a factor in whether a person holds a full driving licence, with 45 per cent of those in the lowest income bracket (up to £10,000 per year) holding a licence, compared to 90 per cent of those in households earning over £40,000 per year. [Table 19]
Figure 5: Adults (aged 17+) with a full driving licence by gender, 2012
3.11 At Great Britain level the patterns are similar. Seventy-three per cent of adults had a full driving licence in 2012 (the latest National Travel Survey data available - DfT website, table nts0201), with men more likely to own a licence than women (80% and 66%, respectively). The National Travel Survey also found that 40 to 49 year-olds were the most likely group to own a licence (85%) across the whole of Great Britain.
Access to cars / vans
3.12 In 2012, there were 51 vehicles per 100 population in Scotland compared with 56 in Great Britain. Figure 3 shows that the number of vehicles per head of population had been rising steadily, though the trend has flattened in the last three years. Vehicles per head of population has been consistently lower in Scotland than in Great Britain, though the gap has narrowed over the last ten years.
3.13 The Scottish Household Survey shows there has been little change in the number of households with access to a car over the last few years. In 2012, 26 per cent of households had access to two or more cars, an increase of 5 percentage points since 2002. [Table S3] Conversely, there was a decrease of 4 percentage points from 2002 (35%) to 2012 (31%) in the number of households with no access to a car. In both cases, the significant change happened between 2002 and 2007. (Figure 6)
3.14 Households with only one adult (single adult, single parent & single pensioner) were the least likely to have access to a car in 2012. In particular, 61 per cent of single pensioner households had no access to a car, compared to 12 per cent for large family households. [Table 18b]
3.15 Car access was found to be dependent on annual net household income (Figure 7), i.e. car access increased as income increased. Thirty six per cent of those households with up to £10,000 net income per year had access to at least one car, compared to 98 per cent of those in households with over £40,000 net income per year. Fourteen per cent of households in the highest income bracket had access to three or more cars. This may, in part, be due to household type, with higher earning household more likely to contain two or more adults. [Table 18b]
3.16 Forty-one per cent of households in large urban areas had no access to a car. This compares to only seventeen per cent in rural areas. This chimes with the findings that there is greater car use in rural areas and reflects the necessity of a car in more rural areas in order to have access to services, such as food shopping and medical facilities. [Table 18b]
3.17 The patterns seen in the SHS results are similar to the trends and patterns seen across Great Britain using the National Travel Survey, Expenditure and Food Survey and the General Household Survey.
Figure 6: Household car access by year, 2001 - 2012
Figure 7: Household car access by annual net household income, 2012
Frequency of driving
3.18 Sixty one per cent of respondents drove at least once a week, and of those the majority drove on a daily basis (42% of respondents), a trend that has been consistent since 2003. [Table S3] Those who said they drove at least 3 times a week (but not every day) rose from 8 per cent in 2002 to 13 per cent in 2012.
3.19 Employed respondents were more likely to drive every day. In particular, 65 per cent of self employed people drove every day, compared to 15 per cent of unemployed people. [Table 20]
3.20 Respondents aged 30 to 59 were more likely to have driven every day than younger and older respondents, and men were more likely to have driven every day than women. [Table 20]
3.21 Fifty two per cent of respondents living in large urban areas drove a car at least once a week. In contrast, three quarters of those living in rural areas drove at least once a week, with around half driving every day. [Table 20]
3.22 Those in high income households were more likely to drive at least once a week. Eighty-eight per cent of those in households with an income of over £40,000 per year drove at least once a week compared to 33 per cent of those in households earning up to £10,000 per year. [Table 20] These findings are as expected given the higher levels of car access in households with higher incomes.
Park & Ride
3.23 In 2007 new questions were added to the Scottish Household Survey on Park & Ride use in Scotland. Park & Ride facilities allow drivers to park at dedicated car parks and continue the rest of their journey via public transport, such as bus or train. In most cases either the parking or the bus/train fare are free. Due to small sample sizes, responses on Park & Ride from the 2008-2012 Scottish Household Surveys have been combined in order to produce more robust results.
3.24 As part of wider survey changes, the park and ride questions were modified from the 2012 onwards.
3.25 One in five respondents had made a journey in the last month where they chose to drive only part of the way, and completed their journey using another form of transport. Of these, 29 per cent parked in a designated Park & Ride facility and a further 29 per cent used an ordinary car park at a bus station, train station or airport. (Figure 8) [Table 21]
Figure 8: Where parked last time undertook a part driving, part parking journey, 2008-2012
3.26 Of those that made a park and ride journey without using a designated park and ride facility, by far the most common reason for not using a designated facility was that none was available (74%). The next most common reason was that it would take longer to use the designated facility (11%).
3.27 Around half of those who had made a park and ride journey continued their journey by train, 30 per cent used the bus and 17 per cent walked to their destination after leaving their car. [Table 22]
3.28 The mode used to continue the park and ride journey varied depending on the choice of parking location. Ninety-eight per cent of those parking in a designated park and ride facility continued their journey by bus or train. In contrast, those parking in a public car park or on-street parking (away from a station or bus stop) were most likely to continue their journey on foot. (Figure 9) [Table 22]
Figure 9: Mode of transport used to complete part driving/parking journey, 2008-2012
3.29 Over a third of households reported spending over £150 on fuel for their cars in the last month, a small increase from last year but more than double the amount spent in 2005. [Table 2]
3.30 Households reported an average spend of £134.50 on fuel for their cars in the past month - up a little from £131 in 2011, but a significant increase from £78 in 2003.
3.31 The median spend reported in 2012 was £100 (ie half of people spend £100 a week or less) which is the same as 2011 and an increase from £80 in 2010 and £60 in 2003.
3.32 Some of this increase in earlier years will be due to households' increasing access to cars and in more recent years a rise in distance travelled (vehicle kilometres) and single occupancy car journeys. However, the increase is still below the level of inflation recorded for fuel prices over the period. Care should be taken when using SHS figures as they are based on a sample survey and spend figures are estimated by household members. [Table 2]
Reported road casualties
3.33 Provisional figures for 2012 were published in Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland in June 2013. This is the data used to monitor National Indicator 32, to reduce deaths on Scotland's roads, and to measure progress towards the targets set out in Scotland's road safety framework. Final figures for 2012, taking account of late amendments to the data, will be published in Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2012 in October 2013.
3.34 The provisional figures show there were 170 road deaths reported in Scotland in 2012, 16 (or 9%) fewer than in 2011, and the lowest figure since current records began. 1,959 people were reported as seriously injured in road accidents in 2012, 4 per cent more than in 2011. Over the past ten years, the number of people reported injured in road accidents has fallen by 35 per cent to 12,575 in 2012. Figure 10 shows falls in most years since 1979 and indicates a general downward trend in road casualties
3.35 Since 2002, the fall in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents in Scotland has been slightly better than for Great Britain (40% lower compared to 37%). The number of people killed or seriously injured per thousand population was the same for Scotland as Great Britain in 2012 (0.4 per thousand population).
Figure 10: Reported road casualties*
* figures for 2012 are provisional