Sustrans responds to British Social Attitudes Survey 2016: Public attitudes towards transport

people cycling and walking in the city

The proportion of people willing to walk short journeys of less than 2 miles, rather than go by car, has increased to 44%

30 August 2017

According to the British Social Attitudes Survey, conducted for government departments including the Department for Transport, there has been a big increase in the proportion of people who never or rarely travel short distances by car from 16% in 2015 to 21% in 2016.

The proportion of people willing to walk short journeys of less than 2 miles, rather than go by car, has increased to 44%. There has been a significant increase in recent years in the proportion of people who express strong willingness to make this change from 6% in 2006 to 14% in 2016.

Meanwhile, there has been a marked decrease in the proportion of people saying that they could not switch short journeys that they make by car to cycling trips, down to 25% in 2016 from 34% in 2015.

However, 59% of people perceive that roads are too dangerous to cycle on a record low since the survey begun (64% in 2015).

Commenting on the survey, Andy Cope, Director of Insight, Research & Monitoring Unit at Sustrans, walking and cycling charity said:

“The survey shows that people want to walk and cycle more, but that they need better places in which to do it.

“We are increasingly aware of the health and environmental benefits of travelling by bike and foot and this awareness is reflected in changing attitudes. This is particularly noticeable in the proportion of people who are expressing a strong willingness to make a change to their patterns of everyday travel.

"The extent of demand for safe and pleasant walking and cycling routes is clear.

“It is essential we find ways to encourage more people to walk and cycle if we are to make the most of the associated benefits. The Government must prioritise development of traffic free routes as well as improving local roads and streets, and designing and maintaining them to be safe and pleasant for everyone to cycle, walk and play.”

For more information, case studies of walking and cycling infrastructure and photos, contact:

Anna Galandzij, Senior Press Officer at Sustrans, 07557 915 648, [email protected]
Amy Jones, Press and Media Officer at Sustrans, 07768 035318, [email protected]