The Department for Transport has today published a report on the state of the nation’s transport habits.
It’s worth noting that statistics within are based on nationwide averages, with statistics fluctuating significantly between built up and rural areas.
You’ll have to dig a little before you get to the stats on walking and cycling, but what the report does suggest is that active travel is in decline nationwide and has been since as far back as 1995, though spikes have been seen in recent times.
The average distance cycled has increased, with males making around 24 trips by bike annually and females nine, racking up around 49 miles annually, an increase of eight per cent on 1995/97’s figures.
Despite this, just two percent of people in the UK cycle as their "main mode of transport", way behind our neighbours on mainland Europe. The report points out that in the Netherlands that figure is as high as 31 per cent and in the remainder of European countries, the average is seven per cent. 43 per cent of people in the UK own a bike, says the research.
One notable area of research is the disproportionate road casualty rate for those choosing active travel, something Sustrans has slammed.
Sustrans head of campaigns, Claire Francis, said: “Cycling and walking could be the silver bullet for the UK’s air pollution, congestion and physical inactivity woes so it’s alarming to see the number of people choosing to travel by foot or bike is in steady decline.
“The government must act urgently to reverse this trend, by committing to long-term, sustained investment – the Infrastructure Bill, which is currently before the UK Parliament, presents a golden opportunity for this to happen.
“Cyclists and pedestrians represent a disproportionately large number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads – 36% and 19% respectively in urban areas – so it is little wonder people feel forced off the streets, sheltering from traffic danger in their cars.”
On average between 2004 to 2013, 27 cyclists and 29 pedestrains have been killed per billion kilometres travelled.
Predictably, Cambridge has the highest rate of cycling in the UK, with 49 per cent of adults stating they cycle once a week or more. Oxford sits second with 34 per cent.
In the capital, Richmond has the highest rate of cycling at 21 per cent, though over in Bexley that dips to just three per cent.
Despite events like the Big Pedal encouraging active travel to school, levels of cycling to and from remain stagnant at just one per cent for those aged five to ten and just two per cent of those aged 11 to 16. Walking fares significantly better, sharing a 46 per cent split with car travel for those aged five to ten. Walking levels are decreasing for secondary school pupils, however.
In 2012, road transport was the largest contributor to total transport greenhouse gas emissions (68%). Cars and taxis contributed the most of any transport mode (40%). HGVs added a further 15 per cent and vans 10 per cent.
To read the full report, click here.
To read data split by local authority, see here.