Transport and Travel in Scotland 2014

4. Personal Travel

This section contains analysis and headline findings from the Scottish Household Survey questions relating to personal travel (including the Travel Diary part of the survey).

Who Travels?

More than three quarters (77%) of adults travelled the previous day. The number of people travelling the previous day has increased from 76 per cent of adults in 2013. Men were more likely to have travelled than women; 79 per cent of men had travelled the previous day compared to 75 per cent of women. Older people were less likely to have travelled the previous day. Only 46 per cent of those aged 80 and over had travelled the previous day and 68 per cent of those aged 70 to 79. [Table TD1]

Why Do People Travel?

Most journeys were for the purpose of commuting (23%) or shopping (21%). [Table TD3].

There has been little change in journey purpose since 2013.

Travel to Work

How do people travel to work?

Two thirds of people usually travelled to work by car / van, either as a driver (62%) or passenger (6%). Thirteen per cent of people usually travelled to work on foot. Ten per cent of people usually travelled to work by bus and four per cent travelled by rail. Just less than three (2.6) per cent of people usually travelled to work by bicycle in 2014. [Table SUM1]

29.8% of people usually travelled to work by public or active travel in 2014.

Who travels to work by which mode?

Men were more likely to drive to work than women. Women were more likely than men to walk or catch the bus to work. Men were also more likely to cycle to work. The proportion of people who usually walked or travelled by bus to work was lower in households with higher levels of income. Younger people (aged 16 to 29) were least likely to drive to work. [Table 7]

Why do people choose these modes?

Of those who drive to work, 48% said that they could use public transport. The main reasons for not using Public Transport were that it takes too long (45% of respondents), that it is inconvenient (17% of respondents) and that there is no direct route (21% of respondents). [Table 13 and Table 14]

Fourteen per cent of people car shared in 2014, a similar proportion to 2013. Of these, the majority (92%) arranged it between themselves, with only 7% organising it through their employer (the remaining 1% used some other means for arranging car sharing, including use of car clubs). The main reasons given for not car sharing were that nobody from work lives nearby (67%) and the lack of regular work hours (22%). [Table 11]

Relatively few people have changed the mode of transport they used to get to work compared to the previous year. Based on data for the last 5 years, of those who drove to work a year ago, 97 per cent still drove to work. For other modes, the biggest shift was to driving; 9.5 per cent of those who cycled and 5 per cent of those who walked a year ago now reported driving. [Table 10a]

The main reasons given by respondents for changing their usual mode of travel to work in 2014 were changing job (42%) and moving house (21%). [Table 10b]

Of those who didn't cycle to work in 2014, the main reason given for not doing so was 'it's too far' (33%), followed by 'too many cars on the road' (18%). 'The weather' and 'traffic travels too fast' accounted for 16 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. [Table 26]

Travel to School

How do children travel?

Around half of children (51%) walked to school, twenty per cent travelled by bus and around a quarter (25%) travelled by car. [Table SUM1]

There was variation in mode of travel by age, with 59 per cent of those aged 4 to 11 walking to school compared to 42 per cent of those aged 12 to 18. Older children were more likely to catch a bus than younger children; 36 per cent compared to 8 per cent. [Table 15]

These figures are similar to those reported in the Sustrans Hands Up Scotland publication:

Why do parents choose these modes?

92 per cent walked because the school is close and 32 per cent who travelled by car did so because it was the most convenient mode. 40 per cent of those who used a school bus and 37 per cent of those who used a service bus did so because it was the "most convenient". The second most popular reason for those who travel by car was that it was the quickest method (19%), while for school bus the second most popular reason was that it was the 'only method available' and for service bus the second most common reason was "too far to walk".[Table 16]

The main reason for primary children not using public transport was that 'they are too young to travel on own' (55%). For secondary-aged children the main reasons were that parents 'prefer to use the car' (49%) and that 'it is inconvenient' (27%). Table 17]

When Do People Travel?

As could be expected, more journeys were reported on weekdays (14-16% of journeys on each day) than at weekends, with most journeys reported on Fridays (16%) and least travel reported on Sundays (12% of journeys). [Table TD8]

Peak travel on a weekday was between 7 am and 9:30 am (19% of weekday journeys started between these times). The afternoon peak is more spread out with 17 per cent of journeys starting between 2 pm and 4:30 pm and another 16 per cent starting between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. A quarter (25%) of weekend journeys started between 12 noon and 2 pm, with over 29 per cent of weekend journeys starting before noon and 46% of journeys staring after 2pm.

There has been little change in these travel patterns reported in the survey over recent years. [Table TD7 and Table TD8]


Most journeys were short: Seventy per cent of journeys lasted up to 20 minutes. thirty-eight per cent lasted between five and ten minutes. Only 16 per cent of journeys lasted more than half an hour and around four per cent lasted more than an hour. [Table TD6]

Perceptions of Congestion

The main reason suggested for delays was 'volume of traffic' (82%), up from 80 per cent in 2013. Delays as a result of road maintenance have risen from 18 per cent to 19 per cent in 2014. [Table TD10a]

11.7% of car driver journeys were perceived to be delayed due to congestion in 2014, an increase on 2013 (9.7%). This provides an update to National Indicator 4, which will show performance worsening. Eleven per cent of bus journeys were delayed due to congestion, up slightly from 10 per cent in 2013. [Table TD11]

11.7% of driver journeys were perceived to be delayed due to congestion in 2014, an increase on 2013 (9.7%).

Around a half (51%) of all journeys to work were perceived to not be affected by congestion but the proportions were lower for car driver and bus journeys (38% of car driver journeys and 36% of bus journeys). Thirty eight per cent of people who drive to work reported experiencing congestion at least once a week. The proportion was 43 per cent for buses. [Table 8]

Over a quarter (28%) of drivers allowed no extra time for congestion on their journey to work and a third (33%) allow ten minutes or less. The proportions were similar for bus passengers where 32 per cent allowed no extra time and 29 per cent allowed ten minutes or less. [Table 8]

Twenty two per cent of driver commuting journeys and 14 per cent of driver business journeys were delayed by congestion. The percentages for all other purposes, apart from education (12%) and holiday travel (13%), were less than ten per cent. As would be expected, the morning and evening peak periods on weekdays saw the highest proportion of driver journeys delayed by congestion; 27 per cent for journeys starting between 7 and 8 am and between 4 and 5 pm. [Table TD12]

How Do People Travel?

The car remained the most popular mode of transport: 48 per cent of journeys were made as a car driver, a decrease from 50 per cent in 2013. A further 13 per cent were made as a passenger - a decrease from 14 per cent in 2013. [Table TD2 and Table SUM1]

The second most used mode of transport was walking at 25 per cent, an increase from 23 per cent in 2013. [Table TD2 and Table SUM1]

There has been little change in share for other modes of transport with nine per cent of journeys made by bus, 2 per cent by rail and just more than one (1.4) per cent by bicycle in 2014. [Table TD2]

Similar estimates of modal share were seen when looking at journey stages. [Table TD2b]

Use of multiple modes / Park and Ride

Four per cent of journeys reported in the Travel Diary in 2014 were multi-stage. Some of the increase in recent years may be as a result of changes in the structure of the travel diary to improve the quality of the data (See appendix A). [Table TD2c]

Three quarters of multi-stage journeys reported consisted of two stages. [Table TD2c]

Multi-stage journeys are highest for ferry and air travel with an average of just more than 2 stages for every journey with one of these mode used as the main mode. For rail the average is 1.4 stages per journey and for all other modes the average number of stages per journey is just more than one. [Table TD2c]

The proportion of people reporting having made park and ride journeys in the last month rose between 2013 and 2014 from 16 per cent to 17 per cent. The most popular locations used were car park at bus and train stations or airports (29%) and specially designated park and ride facility (28%). Those that did not use a dedicated park and ride facility cited 'no facility available' (78%) and 'journey would take longer' (12%) as reasons. [Table 21]

Just more than half (55%) used a train for their onward journey, 25 per cent used a bus and 17 per cent walked. [Table 22]

Where Do People Travel?

Twenty two per cent of all journeys in Scotland either start or end in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Most journeys started and finished in the same local authority. The proportion was highest in Highlands/Islands and Grampian (Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray), where 95% of journeys started and finished in the same area and lowest in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire (69% and 70% respectively).[Table TD13 + TD14]

How Far Do People Travel?

A quarter of journeys were under 1 km and half were under 3 km. People reported slightly more very short journeys in 2014 (25.4% under 1 km) compared to 2013 (24.6% under 1 km) which may be a result of the increase in walking journeys reported in the survey. [Table TD4] The median journey length was 3 km and the mean journey length was 8.4 km. [Table TD5]

Walking journeys had the shortest average (mean) length (1.1 km) then bicycle (4.4 km). The average car driver journey was 10.4 km, bus journeys averaged 8.3 km and rail journeys had the longest average length at 28.4 km. [Table TD5a]

More than two thirds (69%) of journeys under 1 km were made on foot, however car journeys accounted for most of the remainder (27%). [Table TD2a]