People at airport Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Long distance travel

Home > Transport & Mobility > Long distance travel

October 2018 to March 2020

Project team

Zia Wadud

Christian Brand

Jillian Anable

This project looks at the trends in long distance travel, including air, rail and road modes.

Long distance travel

The sources of highest or increasing demand include the people and vehicles doing the most mileage. Despite the focus of much transport research on local (commuter) journeys and a plateauing of traffic growth in urban areas, it is trunk roads, railways and airlines where volumes are growing. Inter-urban travel accounts for almost half of all personal surface distance travelled and leisure accounts for three quarters of air passengers.

What we are asking

  • What is the role of long distance travel in overall travel energy demand?
  • What is the potential for substitution of trips between modes (eg rail and air) and journey purposes (e.g. leisure vs. business)?
  • What is the relationship of long-distance travel to socio-demographic and spatial factors and with daily travel at an individual level?
  • How could these relationships change in future due to external influence, such as vehicle automation, exchange rate variability, Brexit and ageing?
  • What are the implications of the trends for the technological diffusion and the energy system?