• In 2018, 18% of unemployed people in England either turned down a job or decided not to apply for a job due to transport-related problems.

This chart shows the share of people who report having turned down a job or decided not to apply for a job in the past 12 months due to problems with transport, split by economic status (in work, out of work, and out of work and actively seeking a job), age and region. Transport problems include long commuting times, congestion, lack of information, poor connections, and unreliable and expensive transport services.

Problems with transport can impact health by limiting job opportunities and income potential. Transport problems can also mean people are unable to access services, amenities or opportunities for social participation and cultural activities, all of which contribute to good health.

Transport-related problems in 2018 were not experienced equally across the population.

  • A total of 18% of unemployed people in England either turned down a job or decided not to apply for a job due to transport problems, compared with 6% of those already in employment.
  • People in professional and managerial occupations were more likely than unskilled workers to turn down job opportunities. This could reflect the greater opportunities available to those working in higher-skilled occupations.
  • Younger people were more likely to be disadvantaged by transport problems. The figure was highest for those aged 2129 years (8%) and lowest for those aged 50–59 years (3%).
  • There were noticeable geographical variations: 7% of people in the South East and only 3% of people in the West Midlands reported that transport affected their decisions about what jobs they could accept or apply for.

Employment prospects often depend on the quality and affordability of public transport, as well as the location of jobs relative to where people live. A mix of policy interventions is needed to better support people to find and stay in work, including improved transport availability.

  • Transport problems include long commuting times, congestion, lack of information, poor connections, and unreliable and expensive transport services.

Source: Department of Transport, National Travel Survey, 2018

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This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

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