Travel choices in Scotland - the effect of local accessibility on non-work travel

Ferguson, N.S. and Carreno, M. and Stradling, S.; (2005) Travel choices in Scotland - the effect of local accessibility on non-work travel. In: Proceedings of the 2005 European Transport Conference. Planning and Transport, Research and Computation, Education and Research Services Limited, FRA. ISBN 9781905701001

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Accessibility features prominently in the developing transport policies of both the United Kingdom Government and the devolved Scottish Executive which aim to promote social inclusion in particular and the integration of transport and land use planning more generally. It follows that a detailed understanding of the relationship between accessibility, personal mobility and travel behaviour is critical to the successful implementation of these policies. This paper presents the results of a disaggregate, multi-variate analysis of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) dataset and attempts to unravel the complex relationship between socio-economical circumstance, geographical access to local services and public transport and revealed non-work travel choices. The socio-economical and geographical diversity of Scotland offers an excellent opportunity to undertake an analysis of this nature. The SHS is a continuous, cross-sectional survey funded by the Scottish Executive and undertaken by face-to-face interview based on a sample of the general population in private residences in Scotland. It seeks to provide information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households. The survey collects information in two parts - firstly the highest income householder provides household level data including household composition and income, key attributes of household members, transport resources available to the household including access to public transport; secondly a randomly selected adult from the household provides information on inter alia personal travel (including the completion of a one-day travel diary on the previous day) and personal views on transport, the neighbourhood and local services. The dataset analysed in this paper was collected between 1999 and 2003 and contains over 75,000 surveyed households and over 49,000 completed travel diaries. Two other variables were matched with the residential location of SHS respondents and added to the dataset; namely, an index representing proximity to local services at electoral ward level derived in the Scottish Indices of Deprivation 2003 study and a locational classification for each respondent which captures settlement size and wider regional accessibility. The primary focus of the analysis presented in this paper is an examination of the extent to which the quality of local access to services affects distance travelled for non-work purposes. Within this analysis individual and household socio-economical circumstance, available transport resources (both car ownership and local access to public transport) and the wider regional geographical context are also taken into account. It is hypothesised that good local access is negatively associated with distance travelled and that there also exists the possibility of significant interaction between local access and socio-economical circumstance and available transport resources. Regression models are developed for non-work travel which test the statistical significance of these explanatory variables. The results of the analysis reported here will add to the existing evidence base on the relationship between accessibility and travel choice. Its conclusions are expected to inform the development of strategies to enhance social inclusion and reduce overall travel which are tailored to socio-economical and geographical circumstance.