The most striking trend of the past half-century is that individuals are travelling further but not more often. The total number of trips people make on average in a year has remained fairly stable since 1965, as has the time we spend travelling, but the distance we travel has almost doubled over the same period.
The findings are based on data from the National Travel Survey, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
A new article in Significance describes these and other travel trends, noting that investment in transport and the growth of car use have widened employment and leisure opportunities, especially for women and older people.
"The National Travel Survey offers a fascinating look at how one aspect of our society has changed over time, but these insights can also play a crucial role in transport policy development," said Brian Tarran, editor of the magazine. "With World Statistics Day less than a month away, this article makes a strong case for the importance of data sources like the National Travel Survey and the impact they can have on the lives of millions of people."