Transport trends
There have been huge changes to how we travel over the last 70 years, with implications for our health and for health inequalities

is the average distance travelled per person in Great Britain in 2019, up from 4,400km in 1952.
is how much bus fares have increased by since 2015, compared to 6% for underground and 13% for rail.
of the poorest fifth of households did not have access to a car in 2017/18, compared to just 5% of the richest fifth of households.

There have been huge changes to how we travel over the last 70 years. The average annual distance people in Britain travel is now three times as far as it was in 1952, largely due to a tenfold increase in the distance travelled by car. Over the same period, the average distance travelled by bus annually has decreased from 1,900km to 600km per person.

The growth in car ownership has revolutionised people’s lives in the UK. But these benefits have not been shared equally across society, with access especially low among young adults and low-income families. Car-centric policies can lead to underinvestment in other forms of transport and reduced options for people without a car.

The charts in this section explore trends and inequalities in transport usage and provision.

Trends and inequalities in transport usage and provision


Trends in distance travelled by transport mode


Over the past 70 years there has been a three-fold increase in the total distance travelled per...


Trends in bus journeys per person by region


London is the only region in which bus use has increased significantly in the past 30 years, with a...


Trends in financial support for local bus services


Government support for local bus services has been steadily declining over the past decade.


Trends in transport costs


Bus fares continue to increase at a much faster rate than other transport costs, as well as the...


Trends in households without access to a car


The poorest fifth of households are far less likely to have access to a car.


Deaths and serious injuries by road user type


Since 1979, road safety standards have improved significantly in Great Britain, but vulnerable road...

Explore other subtopics within Transport
Active travel
This relates to walking and cycling as part of routine travel – whether for an entire journey, part of one, or to access public transport
Social exclusion
This relates to the role of transport in providing access to services and social participation

Explore the topics

Health inequalities

Money and resources





Neighbourhoods and surroundings

Coming soon

Family, friends and community

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

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
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