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Car traffic

Cars ‘Still Dominate Commute to Work’ says new Report by RAC Foundation

13 January 2014

A new report has been released by the RAC Foundation which reveals that the vast majority of people throughout England and Wales are commuting to work via a car, as opposed to other modes of transport. The RAC Foundation claim that six in ten commuters drive or get a lift in a car or van, which rises to more than seven in ten once you rule out rural areas.

This may not necessarily be a surprising statistic, with people opting to travel in their car for a range of different reasons; it’s comforting, it may be quicker and they only have to rely on themselves, aside from any traffic delays. It’s hard to break out of a habit that you are so used to doing, and may be the reason that using the car remains the country’s favourite way to travel.

In Wales alone, nearly three quarters of workers use a car or van to commute to work; Blaenau Gwent being at the top of the list with more than eight in ten workers in the area driving to work. Putting the comfort of driving aside, these statistics may seem more surprising in recent years, with the high rise in the cost of motoring. The report claims that the price of fuel and oil has gone up twice as fast as the cost of living over the past decade, with 800,000 of the poorest car-owning households spending more than a quarter of their disposable income on buying and running a car. Although, with rail costs set to increase again in 2014, it could seem as though certain forms of public transport are becoming just as costly to use.

Asides from the cost, changing peoples’ approach to commuting will have hugely positive impact on not only the health of the commuters themselves, but the health of the environment around them. Being able to provide people with options is something we continue to want to provide to our customers, with cycle routes, bus timetable information and more. Even with car travel high on the list of transport modes, the report reveals that walking is the second most popular journey across England and Wales, with almost 2.9 million people walking to work. Wales offers some beautiful scenery to be explored, and walking and cycling are other modes of transport that can be used to not only enjoy the country’s surroundings, but also be a healthy and effective way of commuting to work.

With statistics this high, it may be unlikely that we see these change drastically soon. The option of a park and ride service may then an opportunity for commuters to embrace more sustainable modes of travel, without having to say goodbye to their cars completely.

Director of the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister, said “The astonishing thing is the level of car reliance amongst urban workers, not just those who live in rural areas.”

However, it then becomes about changing people’s attitudes and perceptions towards public transport. If services can prove to the public that they are reliable, on time and that commuters will receive a good service, that’s when we may see these statistics start to change.

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