Commuters avoiding getting behind the wheel

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Commuters avoiding getting behind the wheel

The car is becoming an increasingly unpopular method of getting to and from work, a study conducted – weirdly – by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has shown.

While the car remains the dominant form of transport during the rush hour, with 67 per cent of commuters taking to the roads, that proportion has dropped nearly two per cent since 2001.

Over the same time period, the popularity of train and bus travel has increased, as has cycling, particularly in London, with many commuters persuaded to get on their bikes after the Olympic Games in 2012.

The research was based on 2011 census data and was led by Dr Anna Goodman, who said: "People in England and Wales remain highly car-dependent, but this research suggests we are starting to see a slight decline in car use and an increase in the alternatives.

"This gives some hope that people are travelling in the right direction towards creating a healthier and more environmentally sustainable transport system."

Since 2001 car, van and motorcycle use on the commute has declined exactly 1.8 per cent, with public transport enjoying a near identical increase in use.

However this varies greatly between regions. Traffic clogged Greater London for instance saw an 8.8 per cent decline in rush hour road use, with over half of commuters opting for public transport instead.

The Sustrans charity, which campaigns for sustainable transport, welcomed the findings. Its chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: "We're pleased to see more commuters are ditching the car and getting on bikes or taking public transport.

"Although cycling is on the up, this research highlights the huge difference between increased cycling in cities compared to a drop in many rural areas.

"The Government recently announced significant funding to improve cycling in eight cities and four national parks across England over the next two years. Whilst Sustrans welcomed the government funding as an important step in the right direction, investment needs to be long term and cover all areas of the country, making it easier and safer for as many people as possible to choose cycling for their everyday journeys."