National Travel Survey (NTS) is a household survey designed to monitor long-term trends in personal travel and to inform the development of policy including being used to measure the cycling stages indicator in DfT’s Single Departmental Plan. It is the primary source of data on personal travel patterns by residents of England within Great Britain.
The survey collects information on how, why, when and where people travel as well as factors affecting travel (e.g. car availability and driving licence holding). The NTS table index lists all the data tables available.
We have recently published several new factsheets showing the latest statistics on personal travel. The factsheets based on NTS data, have been published since 2010. Older factsheets are available on request.
NTS data collection consists of a face-to-face interview and a 7 day self-completed written travel diary, allowing travel patterns to be linked with individual characteristics. The NTS covers travel by people in all age groups, including children.
In 2013, the survey coverage changed from sampling residents of all Great Britain to residents of England only. Approximately 16,000 individuals, in 7,000 households in England, participate in the NTS each year.
We had hoped, for the January 2018 statistics release, to reweight the NTS data from 2002 to 2015 to produce a consistent time series of walking trips up to and including 2016. However, we have decided to wait until later in the year to complete this exercise. This will enable us to consider the 2017 data too as part of that work and produce a consistent set of walking data from 2002 to 2017. The statistics release will still contain articles showcasing different aspects of the NTS.
The statistical release on Thursday 27 July was the first of 2 publications this year based on National Travel Survey (NTS) data. We acted on 2 pieces of feedback from users. Firstly, that the data be released earlier and secondly that the statistical release is shorter.
On the first point, we made the 2016 data available in July for the first time. On the second point, the publication included only some top level results. However, this allowed users to have access to the published tables on GOV.UK and data via the Data Service to do research earlier than usual. Due to the early release, we only updated about half of the main tables for this first statistical release.
We will follow up with a longer statistical release with more detailed analysis and a complete set of tables later on in the year.
Users should also note that in the July publication, the department will incorporate the results of a further experiment across 2016 where short walks were recorded on day 1 for half of the respondents, and on day 7 for the other half of the respondents. This was outlined on page 10 of the 2015 technical report.
In 2016, 2 projects took place to look at how we might modernise data collection for the 7-day travel diary aspect of the NTS. The first project involved the development of an online version of the current 7-day paper diary to test whether travel diary data could be collected using an online version of the diary. The second project involved a review of potential technologies which could improve or replace the diary element of the NTS.
We always welcome feedback to help ensure that the survey meets the needs of users, and any feedback provided will help inform the future design and development of the survey.
In 2014, Department for Transport sought views on options for changing and improving the collection of short walks data for the National Travel Survey. An update with details of how walk data will be collected in the 2016 NTS in order to address the under reporting of walks under 1 mile is now available.
The department ran a public consultation, on the future design of the National Travel Survey in 2011. A report containing a summary of responses to the consultation and details of the decisions made regarding the design of the survey from 2013 is available.
Statistics from the National Travel Survey were assessed during 2010 by the UK Statistics Authority. An assessment report was published in October 2010. The statistics were confirmed as National Statistics in July 2011.
See all statistics published by DfT
Pre-release access list
The post holders given access to these statistics up to 24 hours prior to release are available in the pre-release access list.