Research and analysis

Understanding the drivers of road travel: current trends in and factors behind roads use

Sets out evidence of road traffic trends and the factors driving them.



This evidence review shows that the recent levelling off in traffic growth masks different trends for different vehicles, areas, road types and population groups.

It assesses the evidence on 10 broad explanatory factors to consider how each has contributed to the change in travel trends, including:

  • economic
  • demographic
  • social
  • technological

The findings suggest that in some areas, eg

  • technology
  • changing social attitudes
  • migration

more evidence is needed to establish their full effects.

In other areas, eg

  • the effect of incomes
  • costs
  • company car use
  • urbanisation

findings suggest there is reasonable evidence that these help explain the fall in average distance travelled by car.

The report concludes with some possible implications for future traffic growth, across different groups and locations affected.