On the move Wales: car, train and bus travel trends22 Dec 2015

Welsh Study reveals unique travel patterns

Twenty-first century car use in Wales is more in keeping with historical experience than the rest of Great Britain according to a new report published today.

The study finds that, in Wales, driving mileage increased in the 2000s until the disruption of the financial crash and recession in 2008. In stark contrast, there was no change in driving mileage per person in Great Britain as a whole since 2000.

This is one of the key findings of the report On the Move: Car, rail and bus travel trends in Wales, published today by the RAC Foundation and the Welsh Government. The report, which follows on from an earlier study for Great Britain, finds that Welsh travel has been different from travel throughout the rest of Britain in a number of ways:

  • Wales is unique in that car use increased up until the 2008 recession. Driving mileage per person in Wales was 13% higher in the period just prior to the recession than it was in the late 1990s, whereas in Great Britain there was essentially no change (only +0.1% change in driving mileage over the same period);
  • The impact of decreased company-car-mileage on overall traffic levels is not as clear in Wales, as in Great Britain. In Great Britain, reductions in company car ownership and use – due to tax policy changes — have been large enough to make a substantial impact on overall traffic mileage;
  • Rail travel has grown much faster in Wales than elsewhere. There has been an increase in the number of Welsh residents who are rail users rather than to any increase in mileage among existing users. Despite this growth, per person use of rail remains lower than the rest of Great Britain (owing to Wales’ geography).