The 2011 Census
Using figures from a published table QS701EW (301 Kb Excel sheet) , the 2011 Census shows that 15.3 million people (57.5%) travelled to work by driving a car or van. A further 1.4 million people (5.1%) commuted to work as passengers in cars or vans, giving a vehicle occupancy rate of 1.09 persons.
Some 2.8 million people (10.7%) walked to work, while 1.9 million people (7.3%) commuted to work by bus or coach. A further 1.4 million people (5.4%) stated in the 2011 Census that they worked mostly at or from home. Commuting by train accounted for 1.4 million people (5.2%), while 1.0 million people (3.9%) commuted by light rail (which includes London Underground, trams, such as the Sheffield Supertram, and metro services, such as the Tyne and Wear Metro).
While 760,000 (2.9%) cycled to work, 214,000 people (0.8%) commuted to work by motorcycle, moped or scooter.
Finally, taxis and minicabs were used by 138,000 people (0.5%) and 171,000 people (0.6%) commuted by other methods (such as by ferry).
Changes to method of travel to work since 2001
To allow comparisons with the 2001 Census, figures from an additional table CT0015EW (302.5 Kb Excel sheet) will now be used. Compared with the 2001 Census, the most significant trends for England and Wales were:
A fall in the percentage of commuters driving to work – from 55.2% in 2001 to 54.2% in 2011. Commuting as passengers decreased from 6.3% in 2001 to 5.0% in 2011.
A percentage points increase in the use of public transport from 14.5% in 2001 to 15.9% in 2011.
A proportional increase in home working from 9.2% in 2001 to 10.7% in 2011.
Map 1: Percentage point changes in the proportion of workers driving to work in a car or van and the proportion of workers using public transport, England and Wales, local authorities, 2001–11
Fewer Londoners drove to work in 2011 than in 2001
However, the pattern of change is varied across England and Wales. In 2001, London had by far the lowest proportion of workers driving to work at 33.5%. This had reduced to 26.3% by 2011. In absolute terms, the number of drivers fell by 62,000. Five of the English regions and Wales experienced an increase in the proportion of workers who drove to work. The North East had the largest growth of 3.2%.
In 2001, London had the highest proportion of workers commuting by public transport (light rail, train, buses and coaches) at 42.1%. In 2011, this had increased to 48.2%. Commuting by light rail increased from 18.8% to 21.8%. Use of trains increased from 12.2% to 12.9%, while commuting by bus or coach increased from 11.1% to 13.6%.
Commuting by train increased in the South East
Outside of London, the South East had the largest increase in commuting by public transport (up from 10.2% in 2001 to 11.7% in 2011). Almost all of this growth was accounted for by the increase in commuting by train (up from 5.6% in 2001 to 7.0% in 2011).
Outside of London, the proportion of those commuting by bus decreased in England and Wales
The remaining seven English regions and Wales all experienced decreases in the proportion of commuters using buses or coaches. The largest decrease was in Yorkshire and The Humber (down from 10.5% in 2001 to 8.3%).
For the most part, the decrease in bus usage was compensated for by an increase in driving to work. In Bristol, however, walking and cycling to work both increased (both by 2.9%).
Read the full report on Method of Travel to Work in England and Wales
If you have any comments or suggestions, we'd like to hear them. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org