Publication of Travel Survey For Northern Ireland 2013-2015 Urban-Rural Report

Date published: 25 May 2017


The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) Urban-Rural 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 urban and rural comparisons for key information from the TSNI on how and why we travel, travel to work, access to public transport and driving licence holding.  The publication is available on the ASRB website at:


The key points for 2013-2015 are:


  • On average urban residents made around the same number of journeys each year (901) as rural residents (902).  However, rural residents travelled further (7,172 miles per person per year) than urban residents (4,886 miles per person per year).
  • On average, journeys taken by people living in rural areas tend to be longer (8.0 miles) than journeys taken by people living in urban areas (5.4 miles).
  • Rural residents spent more time travelling than urban residents.  Rural residents travelled on average 312 hours per year (around 51 minutes per day or 13 days per year).  Urban residents travelled 288 hours per year on average (about 47 minutes per day or 12 days per year).

How we travel

  • Urban residents made nearly double the number of walking journeys per year (195) that rural residents made (110).  Similarly, urban residents walked almost twice the number of miles (200 miles) that rural residents walked (108 miles).
  • Rural residents took more car journeys each year (686) than urban residents (616).  Looking at car journeys as a proportion of all journeys, over three quarters (76%) of all rural residents’ journeys were by car, higher than for urban residents (68%).
  • 5% of the total journeys taken by people living in urban areas were on public transport, similar to people living in rural areas (4%).

Why we travel

  • Shopping was the most frequently given single reason for taking a journey.  Urban residents made an average of 163 shopping journeys each year and rural residents 154 shopping journeys per year.  Although people who live in rural areas made around the same number of shopping journeys, they travelled further when going to the shops: 1,022 miles per rural resident per year compared to 569 miles per urban resident per year.

Travel to work

  • A higher proportion of workers living in rural areas travel to work by car/van (91%) compared to workers living in urban areas (77%).
  • Workers who live in urban areas are more likely to walk to work (11%) than workers who live in rural areas (5%).

Access to public transport

  • Urban households tend to have a shorter time to walk to the nearest bus stop.  Almost 8 in 10 (78%) urban households lived within a six minute walk of their nearest bus stop whereas for rural households this went down to just under 5 in 10 (47%).
  • The bus service for urban households is more frequent than the bus service for rural households.  Excluding those who said they didn’t know how often they could get a bus from their nearest bus stop, 90% of urban households had a bus service of one or more per hour whereas 35% of rural households had this frequency of service.

Driving licence holding

  • Rural residents aged 17+ are more likely to hold a full driving licence (85%) than urban residents aged 17+ (71%).

Notes to editors: 

Background to TSNI 2013-2015 Urban-Rural Report

The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) is a household survey and reports based on the latest three year period of data are published annually.  A Headline report for the latest time period (2013-2015) was published in July 2016 and an In-depth report was published in September 2016.  A TSNI Urban-Rural Report has been published since 2008-2010.

A review of the classification and delineation of settlements was carried out in 2015.  Note that urban-rural definitions in this report are based on the updated 2015 settlement classifications.  Previous reports used the 2005 settlement classifications.  Therefore caution should be taken when comparing 2013-2015 urban-rural figures with urban-rural figures in previous reports.  It is, however, worth noting that in the comparison of old 2005 and updated 2015 urban-rural indicators in the report, there are no statistically significant differences.

This report forms part of the TSNI In-depth Report 2013-2015 (Section 6 Comparison of urban and rural areas).  It is intended that, for the 2014-2016 database outputs, the analysis in the Urban-Rural Report will be published as part of the main TSNI In-depth Report in November 2017.

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:

Further Information

For further information please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch
Department for Infrastructure
Clarence Court
10-18 Adelaide Street
Belfast BT2 8GB

All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or e-mail: Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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