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Private Transport - Car Occupancy

High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last update: November, 2011

Car Occupancy

Most cars on the road have only one person in them. The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) asks adults about their journeys on the day before the interview. In 2009/2010, 61 per cent of journeys which were made as the driver of a car were made unaccompanied, 26 per cent were made with one passenger, 8 per cent with two passengers, 4 per cent with three passengers, and 1 per cent with four or more passengers. As a result, the average number of people per car journey was 1.59.

The chart shows that car occupancy varied greatly with journey purpose. Eighty-seven per cent of car drivers who were commuting travelled alone, only 3 per cent had three or more people in the car, and the average number of people in the car was only 1.17. Seventy-nine per cent of car driver journeys in the course of business were made unaccompanied, with an average car occupancy of 1.34. This is much higher than car journeys for education, holiday/day trip, eating/drinking, sport/entertainment or escort purposes where 25-37 per cent had at least 3 occupants.

Car occupancy also varied with the start time and the day of the week of the journey. The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle for over 70 per cent of car journeys starting before 9.30 a.m., compared with 61 per cent overall. The driver was unaccompanied in 65 per cent of car drivers' journeys during the week, and 49 per cent at weekends.

Average car occupancy decreased from 1.63 in 2000 to 1.57 in 2010. This is probably due to the increase in car availability over this period.

Car occupancy - by purpose of driver's journey 2009 10

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Source: Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary Results

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