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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
UK remains 'car-dependent' nation
Traffic jam
Drivers are still getting behind the wheel despite queues like these
Drivers in the UK are just as dependent on their cars as they were more than a decade ago, a new report has found.

Despite congestion, soaring fuel prices and green campaigning, car dependency has increased steadily since 1993.

The RAC Foundation report also shows that half of the population never use the bus as they have not been persuaded it is an "attractive" alternative.

A spokeswoman said it was a clear sign that the UK is still a "very car-dependent nation".

The research showed nearly three quarters of the population have a driving licence, up from two thirds just over a decade ago.

Off the buses

Bucking the trend, London is the only place to have seen a slow down in car usage since 2002 - the last year before the capital's congestion charge was introduced.

The report also found that outside London, bus usage declined 13% over the period 1995-2005 and only 19% of people frequently used buses. A growing proportion never use them at all.

Users of public transport today are generally the same ones who used it in the early 1990s, the report says.

Other findings covering the period 1993-2005 included:

  • Total mileage driven has increased by 17%
  • Number of women driving has risen from under 50% to more than 60%
  • Number of men behind the wheel has risen from 75% to 80%
  • Car use peaks amongst the 35-44 age groups
  • Train usage increased by 40% but mostly for occasional trips

There was little change in the proportion of people cycling regularly (7% overall, 5% in London) in the period 1993-2003, although Transport for London has reported a 50% increase in cycling in the capital since 2002.

The report also showed men were more likely to cycle than women and the greatest increase had been among 55-64 year olds.

Elizabeth Dainton, research development manager at the RAC Foundation, said: "Trying and experiencing new things is part and parcel of our everyday lives, but where transport is concerned we tend to stick with what we know.

"If we are to see a different pattern of car dependency over the next 12 years public transport needs to provide a much better and more reasonable alternative to the car."

UK transport needs 'urgent' help
01 Dec 06 |  Politics
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19 Feb 07 |  UK

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