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Transport trends over the past two decades

The Car in British Society RAC Foundation for Motoring As can be seen, the mean speed per trip increased from 20.1 miles per hour in 1975, to 23.1 mph in 1989 and then up to 25.7 mph in 1995, since which time there has been a slight decline in average speeds, to around 24.5 mph.

One possible explanation could be an increase in shorter distance trips by car, on lower speed roads; but Figure 3.14 also shows that average car trip distances have stabilised in recent years, at around 8.5 miles per trip – so it is more likely that speed reductions have been caused by increases in traffic congestion.

3.4 Trends in travel patterns over the past two decades having looked at trends in car and license ownership in public transport provision and access to land uses, the net effect of these various changes on patterns of travel will now be assessed. 3.4.1 Changes in general trip-making patterns over time in this section aggregate changes in total trip making by all modes of transport are examined in terms of total trips, distances and travel times.

Figure 3.15 shows a steady decline in total number of trips per person per year across the population as a whole (including children), down from 1103 trips in 1989 to 987 trips in 2006. This has mainly resulted from a reduction in non-car trips (down from 519 to 382), with car driver and car passenger trips increasing until the late 1990s, since when they have generally stabilised.

The decline in the numbers of non-car trips has mainly been in the non-motorized modes and has halted recently. The annual distance travelled per person per year (Figure 3.16), increased steadily from 1989 to 1998, mirroring the increase in car trips, since when it has stabilised, with a slight drop in car passenger mileage offset by an increase in average mileage by other modes of transport.

The trends regarding average time spent travelling per annum are different again (Figure 3.17). Here a slight reduction can be observed between 1989 and 1992 (from 373 to 361 hours per annum), since when numbers have stabilised. Within this total, the car driver share has increased (from 114 hours in 1989 to 136 hours in 2006), offset by a decline in non-car hours, from 181 to 151 per annum. The car passenger hours have remained broadly stable over this period.

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