The average commuter will travel two and a half times around the globe over the course of their working careers according to new figures released today by the RAC Foundation on Work Wise Transport Day (21).Twenty-five million people in the UK commute to and from a fixed place of work and 72% travel by car, which leaves 18 million people fighting with daily frustration of congestion on the road network. Over the past ten years there has been a trend for fewer, but longer commuting journeys, suggesting that people are adjusting their living arrangements to deal with the frustrations of the commute. Four million people now work from home or act as ‘mobile workers’ and as congestion increases and reliability on the road network becomes less certain this trend is likely to continue.
However, long distance commuting (i.e. above 50 miles) is also on the increase. Thirteen percent of all long-distance trips are attributable to commuting and the UK has one of the longest commutes in Europe. The average commuter travels for 58 minutes a day and one in ten people have a daily journey in excess of two hours. ‘Extreme commuters’, who commute at least three hours per day make up 3% of the population.
The RAC Foundations fact file on commuting finds that;
- 19% of all distance traveled is for commuting purposes
- The average daily commute is 8.7 miles a 6% increase since 1995/97
- The average commuter makes 161 commuting trips and travels 1391 miles over a year
- 16% of all trips in the UK are made for commuting reasons
- When business travel is taken into account workers travel an additional one and a half times around the globe
The Foundation recommends that individuals and businesses take stock of their commuting habits on Work Wise Transport Day by considering how and when they travel.
Elizabeth Dainton, Research Development Manager at the RAC Foundation said:
“Many people aspire to travel around the world, but very few realise that they already travel two and a half times round the globe during the course of their working life.
Adopting smarter working practices can make a big difference to the distance and time committed to the commute. Working from home just one day a week can reduce commuting distance by 20% and working outside the normal nine to five helps reduce congestion and time spent at the wheel. If you can’t reduce your commute, it is well worth taking the time to reconsider the daily habit.”
Phil Flaxton, Chief Executive of Work Wise UK, said: “An overall reduction in the need to travel is a key benefit of smarter working. The requirement to travel to and from work at the same time to the same place every weekday, and also to travel many miles for meetings, is largely unnecessary considering the technology available, and the nature of the global market, today. Changing our working practices could be one of the solutions to road congestion, and probably the only one that is currently achievable.”
As part of Work Wise Week the RAC Foundation and Traffic Master have produced a Congestion Index, which demonstrates that peak commuting is spreading over longer periods during the day. London has the greatest peak spread lasting for approximately three hours each end of the working day. With increased congestion and more flexible working it is likely that other parts of the country will follow suit in the near future.