The government has recently released a swathe of transport statistics collating the transport trends over the last twelve months. The data contains information on all forms of transport and their impacts. In this blog we have broken down some of the key findings, and some of the more interesting statistics. If you would like to read the transport statistics in full you can find them here.
What do the figures say?
In 2015 there were 788billion kilometres of passenger journeys. This is 0.6% lower than the peak of 792 billion kilometres in 2007. This figure covers all forms of transport and there are some trends which are surprising against historic data.
In 2015 there were a total of 5.2billion passenger journeys on local bus services. This represents a 59% decline since 1950 where there were around 8.6 billion passenger journeys on local bus services. Clearly this is in part due to an increase in car ownership, but these trends reflect broader sector research that suggests overall bus usage outside of London is in decline.
Light rail is enjoying a resurgence. This year there were 240mllion passenger journeys on light rail systems, the highest ever recorded. In an era of integrated travel systems it is not surprising to see an increase in the use of light rail systems such as trams.
In terms of road safety there are some revealing statistics. Between 2005 and 2014 there were 86 motorcyclists, 28 pedestrians, 2 car occupants, and a negligible number of bus occupants, who died per billion passenger kilometres.
This year half of all bus journeys in England were made in London. As mentioned in our blog on the Autumn statement this is in part due to the disproportionate amount of investment in infrastructure London receives compared to other parts of the UK. The total distance travelled by bus passengers across the UK has been broadly consistent since 2007/08.
Finally, bus revenue has increased since 2004/05 while government support has fallen since 2008/09. Total bus passenger fare receipts now stand at around £3.3billion. In total there were 454 trips per person per year taken by those aged over 70 with mobility difficulties. This is nearly half the number of trips taken by those with no mobility disability.
What are we saying?
These statistics present a mixed picture for passenger transport users. Clearly bus usage in terms of distance travelled has been broadly consistent for a number of years, this fails to take into account that while bus use may be increasing in London it is decreasing elsewhere.
Buses remain a safe travel option for the majority of users. The statistics around bus use for elderly and disabled people reinforces our message that community transport is, at its core, about accessibility and inclusivity. As many community transport operators are responsible for transporting elderly and disabled people we believe that other operators need to continually look at their accessibility to all passengers. This is especially important when a recent survey by the Leonard Cheshire charity found that, of 192 surveyed wheelchair users, 92% had been refused a place on the bus.
Finally, research suggests that passengers are more inclined toward multi-modal transport solutions. It is with this in mind that considerations on further transport investment should look at the holistic transport network, including community transport operators. Local bus transport accounts for only 14% of the total UK expenditure on transport, while rail accounts for 37%. The vast majority of public transport journeys are carried out by the bus, and as such we believe that transport investment should make better consideration of the entire network.
This fits with our vision of a more integrated transport network built from the ground up.
We want to use the new impetus for greater integration arising from the Buses Bill to lead to the community having a greater say over what their local transport is like and, where they can, design their own transport solutions with accessibility and inclusivity built into them from the beginning.
From now until the 14th February we are running a #lovetransport social media campaign, where we will be sharing news , commissioning guest blogs, and promoting stories that show what transport means to a range of people. If you have some of your own reflections on why you love transport you can email James@ctauk.org and we’ll publish it on our blog along with the other activity we’re undertaking as part of this campaign.
And make sure you follow us on Twitter (@CTAUK1), which is one of the best ways to stay informed, involved and inspired about community transport.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.