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This is an archived section of the Scottish Government website. External links, forms and search may not work on archived pages and content/contact details are likely to be out of date.

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

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Current Status

The percentage of adults travelling by car has been consistently around 67%. The latest figure shows 67.3% of adults travelling to work by car or van in 2010.

More on journeys by public or active transport

National Indicator


Increase the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport

Increase the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport

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Why is this National Indicator important?

The indicator concerns those journeys to work which are made by public transport or require some form of activity, such as walking or cycling. Essentially, we want to encourage a shift from the car, particularly for short journeys, across the whole population. Not only will this reduce congestion and improve health by reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality, it will enable people in Scotland to live longer and healthier lives by making it easier to incorporate physical activity into daily routines.

Between 1990 and 2007, emissions from the transport sector (including international aviation & shipping) increased by 11.5%, from 13.2 to 14.7 Mega tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). The only sectors showing growth in emissions between 2006 and 2007 were road and rail. Road transport remains by far the biggest source of transport emissions, accounting for 70% in 2007. Although emissions from cars have fallen since their peak in 2002, they still contribute to 61.4% of Scottish road transport emissions. Further general information on emissions in Scotland and links to data sources can be found at the Sustainability Purpose Target http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/scotPerforms/purposes/sustainability

The Health Education Population Survey (HEPS) has found generally low levels of physical activity in Scotland, with most people failing to achieve recommended levels of activity (30 minutes, five times a week). Hand-in-hand with this is an increase in obesity - for those aged 16-64, the 2008 Scottish Health Survey estimated that 25% of men and 26% of women in Scotland are obese, an increase from 16% of men and 17% of women in 1995.

In 2007/08, the Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary reported that half of all commuting journeys in Scotland were 5km or less, with 36% less than 3km. Over 70% of all types of car journeys were less than 10km.

What will influence this National Indicator?

First and foremost is the ability to get to work in a way that is convenient, affordable and reliable. Further influences include weather conditions, access to a car, availability of parking and distance to work. A number of trends affect individual decisions on housing and workplace location and increase the pressure to travel further to work.

These include:

  • Increasing specialisation of employment, even in relatively unskilled occupations
  • Ease of travel.
  • Wide variations in the cost of housing - particularly in parts of central Scotland.
  • Concentration of employment on larger sites, necessarily distant from some homes.
  • Rise in the proportion of households with two or more workers, each with specialist skills.
  • Concentration of other activities - of which travel to work is just a part.

What is the Government's role?

Investment in public transport (rail, tram and bus), travel information, cycling and walking infrastructure, and 'Smart Measures' are all part of current government action.

On railways, Transport Scotland, the Government's national transport agency, is working to improve services and service times between our major cities. This work includes: faster and additional services from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central; electrification and enhancement of capacity throughout the Edinburgh-Glasgow-Dunblane triangle to provide faster, greener and more frequent services; and the completion of the Airdrie-Bathgate rail link.

On buses, an environmental focus will be added to the Bus Services Operators Grant so that payments will be targeted on reducing emissions as well as supporting improved accessibility and lower fares to encourage increased bus use and service provision. Elsewhere, funding is being provided for Transport Direct and Traveline Scotland to develop travel information systems.

The Cycling Action Plan for Scotland was published in June 2010 and is a comprehensive package of policy actions and commitments that will help achieve the Government and its partners vision of 10% of all journeys by bike by 2020.

We are also continuing to fund Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, to provide cycling and walking infrastructure across Scotland - the National Cycle Network. Cycling Scotland are taking forward enhanced Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme and establishing a Cycle Training Standards Delivery Group to increase cycle use. The Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets (CWSS) grant, provided to local authorities for infrastructure.

Significant effort is focused on travel planning in the public and private sector, delivered by Regional Transport Partnerships and the Energy Saving Trust. Chooseanotherway presents employers and employees with comprehensive information on travel planning and sustainable transport solutions including Flexible working in all its forms to help reduce the amount of time staff spend travelling to and from work, ease congestion and cut emissions. We expect the public sector to take a lead in the encouragement of more sustainable commuting.

These measures also guide Scottish Government activity to provide a transport contribution to the low carbon economy and reductions in transport emissions, by - reducing the need for people and goods to travel; widening travel choices to encourage lower carbon options; and encouraging more energy efficient driving for journeys that remain by road.

How are we performing?

The percentage of adults travelling by car has been consistently around 67%. The latest figure shows 67.3% of adults travelling to work by car or van in 2010, similar to the 2009 figure of 67%.

Percentage of adults travelling to work by car or van, 2010

Source: Scottish Household Survey

View data on transport to work


This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.0 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A reduction of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

Transport Scotland

Local authorities

Regional Transport Partnerships


Cycling Scotland

Transport Operators

Related Strategic Objective


Safer and Stronger


View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Data for National Indicator on Travel to workData for National Indicator on Travel to work [XLS, 32.5 kb: 31 Aug 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected