Scottish Government
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Main Transport Trends 2009

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published Main Transport Trends - which summarises a range of transport statistics.

Main Findings

The bulletin shows that in Scotland in 2008:

  • 66 per cent of journeys to work were made by car (a decrease from 68 per cent in 2007), whilst active travel to work increased (to 15 per cent in 2008)
  • Scotrail patronage increased by 3 per cent in 2008
  • New car registrations fell by 14 per cent to 215,000 in 2008 with the total number of vehicles on the road increasing by 2 per cent to 2.69 million
  • The volume of traffic decreased by 0.4 per cent in 2008 to 44.5 billion vehicle kilometres
  • Air passenger numbers fell in 2008 - down 3 per cent to 24.3 million

The sections below describe the further trends shown by the statistics.

Personal travel, including travel to work and school
  • In 2008, over 66 per cent of commuters travelled to work by car or van (60 per cent as a driver; 6 per cent as a passenger), 13 per cent walked, 12 per cent by bus, 4 per cent by train, 2 per cent cycled and 3 per cent used other modes of transport
  • In 2008, 49 per cent of pupils walked to school - a fall from 53 per cent in 2007 - 24 per cent went by bus, 24 per cent by car, 1 per cent cycled, 1 per cent by rail and 2 per cent used other means of transport
  • In 2008, 68 per cent of people aged 17 or over had a full driving licence: 76 per cent of men compared to 60 per cent of women. In recent years, the percentage for men has been fairly constant, whereas the percentage of women has increased
Public transport: rail, bus and air
  • ScotRail passengers increased by 3 per cent in 2008-09
  • Per head of population, there are fewer rail passenger journeys originating in Scotland than in GB: 17.0 per head in Scotland in 2007-08, compared with 20.8 per head in GB
  • Usage of local bus services is higher in Scotland than in GB as a whole: in 2008-09 98 journeys were made per head of population in Scotland compared with 88 in GB
  • There were 24.3 million air terminal passengers in 2008, 3 per cent less than in the previous year, 60 per cent more than in 1998, and the second highest level ever recorded
  • The number of air passengers per head of population has been consistently higher for Scotland than for the UK. Between 1998 and 2008, air terminal passengers increased by 60 per cent for Scotland and 48 per cent for the UK as a whole
Motor vehicles and traffic
  • The number of new vehicles registered fell by 14 per cent to 215,000, 2 per cent more than in 1998
  • The number of vehicles per head of population has been consistently lower in Scotland than in GB as a whole: in 2008, there were 52 vehicles per 100 population in Scotland compared with 58 in GB
  • 70 per cent of households had access to at least one car - up from 63 per cent in 1999. 26 per cent of households had access to two or more cars in 2008 - up from 18 per cent in 1999
Road Casualties
  • 271 people were killed on Scotland's roads in 2008. This was 4 per cent less than in 2007, and 30 per cent fewer than in 1998 and the lowest number for more than 50 years
  • 2,568 were recorded as seriously injured in road accidents - an increase of 8 per cent and the second lowest figure since records began. Road casualties totalled 15,591, 4 per cent fewer than in 2007, 31 per cent fewer than in 1998, and the lowest figure since 1949
  • The majority of freight lifted in Scotland was transferred by road (181.8 million tonnes in 2007 - an increase of 5 per cent on 2006). 22.8 million tonnes was transferred via coastwise shipping and 11.4 million tonnes by rail

This bulletin describes some of the main trends in transport statistics over the last 10 years. It also provides some comparisons with figures for Great Britain (or, in a few cases, the UK as a whole. A comprehensive statistical picture of transport activity is described in the compendium Scottish Transport Statistics, next due to be published in December 2009.

ScotRail will introduce a new methodology for estimating journeys carried out by zonecard holders from 2009 which will affect future data. It has produced an estimation of the impact of the new methodology on previously published figures which is included alongside the original figures. Both sets of figures show an increase of 3 per cent over the latest year.

Scottish Household Survey data published today uses an improved weighting methodology which has incureed small revisions to the time series without changing the overall trend.

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