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2000-10-12 DET-001
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


Transport Statistics Great Britain 2000 - 26th Edition

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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Transport Statistics Great Britain 2000 - 26th Edition

12 October 2000
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release

note News Release 640

The 26th edition of the Government's compendium of transport statistics for Great Britain is published today.

Transport Statistics Great Britain brings together the majority of National Statistics produced by Transport Statistics in DETR. The figures in Transport Statistics Great Britain generally relate to 1999. The information in this publication will shortly be available in the Transport Statistics area of the DETR website (

A wide range of figures is presented in the report including:

General and cross modal

The average British resident now travels over 6,800 miles a year, an increase of 28 per cent since 1985/86. Over this period, the largest percentage increases have been recorded in travel by public modes excluding bus and train (i.e. air, ferry, light rail etc.), which has nearly trebled, taxi/minicab, which has more than doubled, and car, which has increased by 41 per cent. Car (including van and lorry) travel now accounts for 82 per cent of the total mileage travelled.

Energy and Environment

Petrol consumption for cars was about 30 mpg (9 litres/100km) in 1997/99. Cars under two years old averaged 31 mpg, compared with 29 mpg for those over four years old. In contrast, diesel cars averaged 43 mpg (7 litres/100km);

Energy consumption by transport was 54 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 1999 - this represented 34 per cent of all UK energy use;

Vehicles, drivers and roads

The number of vehicles taxed for use on Britain's roads had reached 28.4 million by the end of 1999, of which nearly 24 million were motorcars;

The proportion of households without access to a car in Great Britain has declined from 34 per cent in 1989 to 28 per cent in 1999. Over this period, the proportion with one car has remained almost constant, at about 45 per cent. 27 per cent of households now have two or more cars compared to 22 per cent ten years ago;

The number of people holding full driving licences has continued to increase, reaching nearly 32 million in Great Britain in 1997/99 (70 per cent of the population aged 17 and over). Overall, 82 per cent of men hold licences. Licence holding among women has increased from 41 per cent in 1985/6 to 59 per cent in 1997/99;


In 1999 road freight accounted for four-fifths of goods lifted (tonnes) and two-thirds of goods moved (tonne-kilometres);

157 billion tonne-kilometres of goods were moved by road in 1999, a decrease of two per cent since 1998; goods moved by rail increased by six per cent over the same period;

Air cargo handled at airports reached 2.1 million tonnes in 1999, an increase of five per cent since 1998;

548 million tonnes of cargo were handled at British ports in 1999 - this is nearly one per cent less than in 1998, but 17 per cent higher than a decade ago.

Between 1989 and 1999, the number of powered vehicles travelling to mainland Europe on roll-on/roll-off ferry services or through the Channel Tunnel, more than doubled. In 1999, 83 per cent of powered goods vehicles travelling to Europe disembarked in France;

Road traffic

In 1999, motorways in Great Britain (accounting for less than one per cent of total road length) carried 18 per cent of total traffic and 38 per cent of goods vehicle traffic. Over half the traffic of articulated goods vehicles was on motorways;
Public Transport

Passenger kilometres on national railways increased by six per cent from 36.3 billion in 1998/99 to 38.3 billion in 1999/2000;

There were 4.25 billion passenger journeys on local bus services in 1998/99, the most recent year for which complete survey data for Great Britain are available. This has remained fairly stable in recent years following a long term decline;

Air transport

Overall, air transport activity continued to increase in 1999. Compared with 1998, aircraft movements were five per cent higher, passenger numbers six per cent higher, and cargo handled five per cent higher;
Notes to editors
Transport Statistics Great Britain has been compiled by the staff of Transport Statistics with contributions from the Scottish Executive Education and Industry Department, the Welsh Assembly and other Government Departments.

Transport Statistics Great Britain (ISBN 0-11-552263-8) is available from the TSO, priced £31.00.


Media enquiries 020 7944 3066; Out of hours: 020 7944 5925 or 5945
Public Enquiries Unit 020 7944 3000
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