Method of travel to work


Motorised forms of transport, usually car or vans, are by far the most frequently used means of travel to work. Of all usual residents aged 16-74 whether in work or not, the Lancashire-14 area recorded an average of 38.6% who commuted by driving a car or a van to work. A further 4% were car/van passengers.  South Ribble ranked 12th highest nationally with around 47% for car or van commute.

Around 6.4% of the usual residents in the Lancashire-14 area work at or mainly from home.

Public transport travel modes were the normal means of travel to work for just 5.0% usual residents in Lancashire-14. This was significantly lower than the England equivalent of 10.6%, or North West at 7.1%. 

Commuting by bicycle or on-foot accounted for 7.9% in the Lancashire-14 area, which was lower than the England average of 8.1%.


Information from the 2011 census on the commute to work includes counts of the principal means of travel to work for usual residents aged 16 to 74. Home workers and residents not in employment are both included. 

Lancashire results

The Lancashire, regional and national results in table 1 are supplemented by data at the Lancashire local authority level can also be downloaded from the following excel spreadsheet. 

District Means of Travel to Work CT00015EW (90 KB, Excel)

Table 1: Not in employment or method of travel to work, percentage of usual residents age 16 to 74

  Lancashire-12 Lancashire-14 North West  England
All people either in or out of employment 859,130 1,067,360 5,184,216 38,881,374
Residents not in employment: %  36.4% 37.4% 37.7% 35.3%
Working at or mainly from home (%) 6.6% 6.4% 5.9% 6.9%
Rail: Train, Metro, light rail, or tram (%) 0.9% 1.0% 2.1% 5.9%
Bus, minibus or coach (%) 3.5% 3.6% 5.0% 4.7%
Car or van driver (% 38.9% 38.6% 36.8% 34.8%
Passenger, car, van or taxi (%) 3.9% 4.0% 3.7% 3.2%
Bicycle or on foot (%) 7.7% 7.9% 7.6% 8.1%
All Other modes (%) 1.1% 1.2% 1.2% 1.1%

Source: ONS 2011 Census, Table CT0015: Method of Travel to Work  

Table 1 reveals that for the Lancashire-14 area, a substantial 37.4% of usual residents aged 16-74 are not in employment. Of the remainder, a significant 42.6% either drive to work, or are passengers in road vehicles.

The Lancashire-14 area has a higher reliance on commuting by car, van or taxi than the national average, and conversely lower percentages in other forms of transport. This is particularly noticeable for rail where the 1.0% figure for Lancashire-14 is much lower than the England average of 5.9%. Please see the note at the end of the article concerning the Blackpool tram system.

Working at or mainly from home accounted for 6.4% in the Lancashire-14 area which compares with the England average of 6.9%.

The accompanying spreadsheet highlights the following:

  • For home working a score of 10.1% occurred at Ribble Valley, which had a ranking of 58 out of 348 districts in England and Wales.
  • For driving to work by car or van, the highest percentage occurred in South Ribble (47.2%). This ranks as the 12th highest out of 348 districts in England and Wales. 
  • At 6.8%, travel by bus, minibus or coach in Preston was higher than the England average of 4.7%, and ranked 43rd out of 348.
  • Blackburn with Darwen was ranked 3rd out of 348 districts for use of taxi, equating to 1.0%. This is included in the statistic for all other modes of transport.
  • Blackpool and Lancaster both had 8.4% in the commuting by foot category.
  • Lancaster (2.4%) had the highest percentage in the Lancashire-14 area of people commuting by bicycle. 

Major Upgrade to the Blackpool Tram System 

The Blackpool Tram system operates along an 11-mile route from Starr Gate to Fleetwood. A substantial £100m upgrade to the system took four years to complete and led to the reopening of the system in Easter 2012. The census was undertaken on 27th March 2011 therefore the following results do not capture the commuting patterns of the people who use the tram system to get to work.

Page updated February 2013