Three Travel Behavioural Analyses Based on Results from National Travel Surveys
Mats Wiklund, Transport Analysis, Tom Petersen, Transport Analysis, Maerit Izzo, Transport Analysis
The results of Swedish NTS have been applied in travel behavioural analysis. During 2015 such analyses were carried out on the development of cycling, on the evolution of public transport and on peak-car. Those analyses are reviewed in this paper.
Since the mid-1990s national travel surveys (NTS) has been carried out in Sweden either continuously or on an intermittent basis. These surveys have covered the entire population 6–84 years. The results are essential in travel behavioural analysis. During 2015 such analyses were carried out on the development of cycling, on the evolution of public transport and on peak-car. Those analyses are reviewed in this paper.
The development of cycling
For a number of years there have been field measurements on bicycle paths showing an increase in bicycle use, particularly in urban centres. However, the NTS provide a more general picture of the state of cycling and the development in different age groups, different travel purposes and in cities of different size.
Swedes bike on average 5.3 million kilometres per day, which is a decline of 16 percent since the mid-1990s. This marked decline occurred in all three types of municipalities, in all ages, travel purposes and both sexes. In terms of the number of trips, bicycle use has declined even more: from 2.8 million to 1.9 million bike trips per day.
The cycling by children and young adults has decreased by over 40 percent during the period, measured as distance travelled per inhabitant. This should be considered from a public health perspective, since travel habits are established early in life.
The average trip length by bicycle has increased by 31 per cent in the most recent surveys. Commuting by bicycle has on average become longer, which is a general trend that applies to both commutes and school trips regardless of mode of transport. For all other travel purposes – school, service and purchasing, and other – the total trip length by bicycle has declined. However, the total trip length has not fallen as much as the number of bicycle trips.
The evolution of public transport
This section presents the shares of total travel accounted for by public transport and how they have evolved, based on statistics from the NTS. The definition used here emphasises regional travel. The base case comprises all available alternatives, including car driving, cycling, and walking.
The share of regional journeys by public transport has increased somewhat, from 11 per cent in 2005/06 to 13 per cent in 2011–2014.
The inhabitants of Stockholm county annually make four times as many regional journeys using public transport as do the inhabitants of rural counties, twice as many as do the inhabitants of Sweden’s other two major urban counties, and three times as many as do the inhabitants of other counties.
Public transport is most significant when it comes to trips to and from work and school, 20 per cent of which are via public transport. For other purposes, public transport is used in only 6 per cent of journeys on average.
The highest share of public transport trips (20 per cent) involve young people aged 6–17 years, followed by women of working age (18–64 years), at 14 per cent. Men of working age has a public transport share of 11 per cent. People 65 and older travel the least by public transport, their share is only 5 per cent.
Peak car in sight?
The number of passenger cars in Sweden has grown continuously since the end of 1960s. Despite this, experts are proposing that the vehicle stock will reach saturation and that we will enter a post-car era.
The results in this section indicate that peak car is not a reality in Sweden today. The vehicle stock keeps growing and the total amount of driven kilometres has increased with 12 per cent since 1999. However, kilometres driven per car has decreased which could point to a change in attitudes towards driving. Although, it is probably because more households have access to more than one car, and therefore each car is driven less.
The NTS data on car usage and household´s access to cars show that over the past 25 years, more households own a car and the number of cars per household has increased. Geographic location, household composition and income are the deciding factors of owning a car. In larger cities and suburbs where the public transport system is well developed, fewer households own a car. Households with two or more adults are more likely to own a car than single households.
The concluding remarks in this study is that the future development of driving is probably a combination of population growth, GDP and changing in attitudes.
Association for European Transport