Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review

This evidence review was prepared to support the production of the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, with regard to age.

7 Transport

7.1 This section considers variations in, and barriers to, the use of various modes of transport including car, bus and rail. It considers reasons for travelling, and concessionary travel.

Travel patterns

7.2 Data from the Scottish Household Survey 2009/2010[88] show that those aged 80 and over carried out the least travel (39% had travelled the previous day). This compares with 63% for those aged 70-79 and 71% for those aged 60-69. Those aged 80 and over experienced the greatest decline in travel between 2007 and 2010.

Travel to work/school

7.3 According to the Scottish Household Survey in 2005, the car/van (either as a passenger or driver) is the most popular form of transport used to commute to work for all age groups. Scottish Household Survey data also shows that travelling to work by car became more common between 1999 and 2005[89]. Transport and Travel in Scotland 2011[90] shows that as people get older they are more likely to drive to work. 31% of those aged 16-20 drive to work compared to two thirds of those aged 50- 59. Another 17% of those aged 16-19 travel to work as a passenger in a car. The same report also reveals that young people are more likely to walk to work or travel by bus. 18.5% of 16-20 year olds walk to work and 31% travel by bus. However, 48% travel by car either as a driver or as a passenger.

7.4 As for the mode of transport to school, the National Travel Survey[vii] shows that the percentage walking to school has fallen, that those who travel by car has risen, and that there has been little change in the use of the bus[91]. According to Transport and Travel in Scotland 2011[92], 52% of journeys to school were made by walking or cycling in 2011. The levels have remained relatively stable over the last ten years. For those aged 4-11, the next most popular mode is as a passenger in a car or van (29.5%). For those aged 12-18, the next most popular is bus (22.3%).


7.5 Younger and older people are less likely to drive every day. 33% of those aged 20-29 and 38% of those aged 60-69 drive every day, compared to more than half of those aged 30-59. Only 23% of those aged 70-79 drive every day and 12% of those aged 80 or over drive every day[93]. The Transport and Travel in Scotland 2011 report also shows that driving licence possession varies with age, increasing from 26% in 17 to 19 year olds to peak at 80% of 40 to 49 year olds, before decreasing back down to 35% of those 80 or over.

7.6 63% of single pensioner households had no access to a car, compared to 11 - 12 % for family households and 18% for pensioner couples.

7.7 According to the National Travel Survey[viii], in Great Britain adults aged between 30 and 59 years used a car (or van/lorry) for 80% of the annual distance travelled. This proportion of car usage is the highest of all age groups[94].

Road accidents

7.8 Young drivers aged 17-25 are twice as likely to be involved in an injury accident than older drivers. The rate is 6 per thousand population for 17-25 year olds, compared to 3 for those aged 26 and over[95].

7.9 Since 1999 casualty rates have been steadily declining across all age groups, with the exception of those aged 60 and above, for whom rates have remained fairly static[96].

Bus travel

7.10 According to Transport and Travel in Scotland 2011[97] both younger and older people are more likely to use the bus. 46% of adults had used the bus in the month prior to the Scottish Household Survey interview. 70% of 16-19 year olds had used the bus in the last month and half of those aged 60-69 and 70-79 had used it.

7.11 Adults aged 16 to 19 were much more likely to use the bus almost or every day than older age groups (21% compared to an average of 11% for all adults). Older age groups (60 and over) were more likely to travel by bus than those aged 30-59.

7.12 According to the Scottish Household Survey 2005, there is little difference in walking time to the nearest bus stop for households containing one or more people of pensionable age and all households. 47% of respondents from households containing one or more people of pensionable age reported that walking time to the nearest bus stop took under 3 minutes[98].

7.13 Since 2002, the most marked difference in local bus use is that the proportion of pensioners using a local bus service in the previous month (before the survey) has increased from 46% to 51%[99].

Rail travel

7.14 Train use decreases as age increases. 20-29 year olds are the age group most likely to use the train every day[100]. Pensioners are less likely to use train services than adults as a whole[101]. Over a third of those under 30 had used the train in the last month compared to less than 20% of those aged 60 or over[102].

Concessionary travel

7.15 The Bus and Coach Statistics 2010/11[103] show that:

  • 87% of those aged 60 and over hold a concessionary pass.
  • A third of bus journeys are undertaken by concessionary pass holders.

7.16 The main reasons cited by people aged 70 and over for not using buses more frequently are health reasons and no need.

7.17 Additionally, we know that 55% of those aged 60 or over used their concessionary pass at least once a month. 31% have a pass but have not used it and 13% have no pass[104]. 28% of those 16-18 have a young person's concessionary travel pass, with 22% using it at least once a fortnight[105].

Walking and cycling

7.18 Walking for transport decreases with age. In 2005, 53% of adults had done so. Adults aged 16 to 19 years were the most likely to walk for transport, with over two-thirds reporting this, compared with only about half of those in their 50s and 60s, and one third of those aged 80 years and over[106].

7.19 Walking for pleasure increases to a peak with 40-49 year olds and then decreases again. Only 25% of those aged 80 and above had gone for a walk for pleasure in the last seven days, compared to the average of 54 % for all adults. Those aged 40-49 are the only group to be as likely to walk for pleasure as for transport[107].

7.20 In 2005, 3% of adults had made a trip of more than a quarter of a mile by bicycle, in the previous seven days. The percentage was slightly higher for men and for younger adults. 4% had cycled for pleasure or to keep fit[108].

7.21 The National Indicator data from Scotland Performs[109] show that those aged 16-24 are more likely to use public or active transport than other age groups, with 46% of 16-24 year olds using public or active transport to travel to work in 2011, compared to 29% those aged 25-64. Since 1999 there has been no significant change in the proportion of people using public or active transport, either for the whole population or by age band.

Public services in general

7.22 The National Indicator data from Scotland Performs[110] show that people over the age of 75 are more likely to be satisfied with the quality of public services than younger adults. In 2011, 74% of people aged 75 and older reported being satisfied with the quality of local health services, local schools and public transport, compared to 62% of people aged 16-24 years.

7.23 Regarding the responsiveness of public services, the proportion of people who agree they can influence decisions affecting their local area has been stable over the last five years, at around one fifth (22% in 2011). Within that, however, people aged 75 and over consistently show the lowest level of agreement. While there is some annual fluctuation for the other age groups, people aged 35 to 64 generally tend to show the highest levels of agreement (between 21% and 25% since 2007).


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