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Car is still king… but more want to start cycling, research suggests

Travel Behaviour

Deniz Huseyin
03 May 2022


More than half of UK adults (55%) agree there is too much traffic congestion in their local area while just 23% disagree, says a new survey by Ipsos. 

However, 71% feel they need a car to suit their current lifestyle, rising to 86% among those who have access to one. The survey found that while 21% agree it is less important to own a car nowadays some 59% reject the notion.

Seven in ten (71%) say they support actions to encourage more people to walk or cycle instead of driving a car to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Some 65% would support encouraging more people to use public transport rather than driving a car, and 57% would support actions to encourage greater use of ‘car-pooling’.

Some 45% are in favour of schemes which would charge road users a fee to drive around towns and cities to reduce congestion and improve the environment while 33% oppose such schemes in principle.

People living in households without access to a car are more positive about road charging - 51% of this group support such a policy - but those who do have access to a car were more supportive than opposed - 44% compared with 35%. People living in Scotland were more likely to oppose road pricing schemes (41%) than those in England and Wales (33% and 24%).

Four in ten UK adults (44%) say they would like to cycle more than they currently do while a similar percentage (47%) do not see themselves as the sort of person to ride a bike.

Two-thirds (64%) of people agree that it is ‘too dangerous to cycle on the roads’ including a quarter (26%) who agree strongly. Women are much more likely to perceive the dangers of cycling than men, with 71% of women agreeing compared with 57% of men.

Six in ten people, 62%, support the encouragement of the use of electric vehicles instead of petrol or diesel vehicles to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions but are more likely to oppose (45%) than support (31%) only allowing access to certain town and city centres to electric or hybrid cars or vans on some days.

Those aged between 25 and 34 (58%) were much more likely than those aged 55+ (32%) to want to cycle, the survey found. Men (50%) are also more likely to want to cycle than women (39%). Two-thirds (66%) of those who currently have access to a bike say they would like to cycle more. 

Ipsos interviewed a “representative sample” of 2,240 people aged 16+ in the UK between 3-9 February 2022.

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