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Car still most popular mode of transport in Scotland 

Car traffic in Scotland increased in 2017 along with rail and air passenger numbers but bus passenger numbers declined.

Car travel increased last year while bus passenger numbers declined

Carried out by Transport Scotland, the Transport and Travel in Scotland 2017 research found cars/vans remained the most popular mode of transport last year, used for 65% of journeys (52% as driver and 13% as a passenger). In around two-thirds of car journeys, the driver was the only occupant of the car. Walking accounted for another 21% of journeys, public transport 11% and cycling 1.5%.

Overall, car traffic was found to have increased 2.4% over the previous year with cycle traffic up 0.7% and rail travel up 3.8%. The number of air passengers rose 7.1% but bus passenger numbers were down 3.3% (provisional data).

Most of the journeys that people made were short in duration and distance, with more than half under 5 km in distance and over two-thirds lasting less than 20 minutes. The median car journey was 6.8km, and the median walking journey was 0.9km.

The main reasons for travel were commuting and shopping, each accounting for just under a quarter of all journeys made.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Sixty nine per cent of respondents were very or fairly satisfied with public transport, a decrease from 2016 (72%).
  • Forty one per cent of respondents said they would consider buying an electric car or van (up from 36% in 2016).
  • Where individuals had used ordering services (such as internet shopping) to have goods delivered the previous day, they reported a reduction in the travel they made that day in 73% of cases.



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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.