Publication of travel survey for Northern Ireland 2013-2015 in-depth report

Date published: 29 September 2016

The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) in-depth report, containing statistics for 2013-2015, is now available.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is produced by the Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (ASRB) of the Department for Infrastructure and contains information on trends in personal travel for residents of the north of Ireland, how they travel, why they travel and some of the other factors affecting travel.  The publication is available on the ASRB website at:

Key points

The key points for 2013-2015 are:

  • On average, residents of the north of Ireland travelled 5,827 miles per year during 2013-2015.  This is around the same as the average distance travelled per person per year in 2003-2005 (5,951 miles).
  • In 2013-2015, each person made an average of 901 journeys each year.  This has decreased from the 2003-2005 average of 947 journeys per person per year.
  • Looking at the 17 and over age group, a higher proportion of men (83%) held full car driving licences than women (72%) in 2013-2015.  Over the last ten years, there has been an increase in the proportion of women holding a car driving licence from 61% in 2003-2005 to 72% in 2013-2015, whereas there has been no real change in the proportion of men holding a licence during this time period.
  • Car journeys accounted for 72% of all journeys made in 2013-2015, 18% were walks and 5% were journeys by public transport (Ulsterbus, Metro, Other Bus, Northern Ireland Railways, Black Taxi).
  • Just over one seventh (15%) of all journeys were less than one mile long, and nearly two thirds (65%) of these short journeys were on foot.  The car was the dominant mode of transport (78%) for all journeys one mile or over.
  • Those living in the Belfast area (Belfast Local Government District prior to April 2015) travelled an average of 3,713 miles per year in 2013-2015, 36% lower than the north of Ireland average (5,827 miles per person per year).
  • Each person spent, on average, 298 hours per year travelling within the north of Ireland during 2013-2015 – just over twelve days each year or approximately 49 minutes per day.  Around 33 minutes per day were spent travelling by car and 8 minutes per day were spent walking.  The results for 2003-2005 are comparable.
  • During 2013-2015, men and women (aged 16 and over) made a similar number of journeys each year (898 for men, 929 for women).  However, men travelled 24% further than women, averaging 6,922 miles a year, compared to 5,561 miles for women.
  • Children under 16 made 67% of their journeys as car passengers, with most of the rest on foot (21%).  For adults (aged 16 and over), a higher proportion of journeys were made by car (72%) and a lower proportion of journeys were made on foot (17%).
  • In 2013-2015, 23% of journeys were made for leisure purposes (visit friends at private home/elsewhere, entertainment/public social activities, take part in sports activities, holiday base, day trip), 18% for shopping, 15% for commuting and 12% for personal business.  Shopping has decreased from 20% of all journeys in 2003-2005 to 18% of all journeys in 2013-2015.
  • Men made the largest proportion of their journeys for commuting and business (28%) in 2013-2015.  For women, 18% of journeys were for commuting and business.
  • The largest proportion of journeys made by women was for going to and from the shops.  Almost one quarter (22%) of all journeys women made were for this purpose compared to nearly one fifth (19%) for men.
  • The largest proportion of journeys made by children under 16 was for education (31%).
  • In 2013-2015, the majority of workers in the north of Ireland used a car or van to travel to work (82%), similar to 2003-2005 (81%).
  • The most common difficulty when travelling to work by car, van or motorcycle in 2013-2015 was traffic congestion/roadworks (mentioned by 23% of respondents), followed by cost of petrol (6%) and the weather (6%).  However, the majority of respondents (70%) who travelled to work by these modes stated they had no difficulty.
  • Thirteen percent of households in the north of Ireland said that they would be able to get a bus from their nearest bus stop every 15 minutes in 2013-2015, an increase from 9% in 2003-2005.  Nearly 3 in 10 households (29%) said they did not know how often they could get a bus from their nearest stop.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Background to TSNI 2013-2015 In-depth Report
    The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) is a household survey and is the only source of information on how, over the region as a whole, people use different forms of transport to meet their travel needs as individuals. Only journeys within the north of Ireland are included.
    TSNI reports are published annually and the earliest data available is for the 1999-2001 period.  This is the second of the two reports to be published covering the 2013-2015 reporting period.  A headline report (containing key figures) was published in July 2016.  This in-depth report contains more detailed analysis on journeys taken by the population of the north of Ireland over the time period 2013-2015 (including breakdowns by age, gender and area) and more trend comparisons with earlier years.
  2. Official Statistics
    This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at:
  1. Further Information

For further information please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch
Department for Infrastructure
Clarence Court
10-18 Adelaide Street
Belfast BT2 8GB
  1. Media queries be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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