Publication of Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2014-2016 In-Depth Report

Date published: 30 November 2017

The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) in-depth report, containing statistics for 2014-2016, 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 2014-2016 are:

General travel statistics

  • On average, residents of the north of Ireland travelled 5,704 miles per year during 2014-2016.  This is a decrease from the average distance travelled per person per year in 2004-2006 (6,094 miles).
  • In 2014-2016, each person made an average of 897 journeys each year.  This has decreased from the 2004-2006 average of 937 journeys per person per year.
  • The average time spent travelling by each person in 2014-2016 was 298 hours per year, similar to 2004-2006 (304 hours).

Trends in personal travel

  • Looking at the 17 and over age group, a higher proportion of men (82%) held full car driving licences than women (72%) in 2014-2016.  Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the proportion of women holding a car driving licence from 61% in 2004-2006 to 72% in 2014-2016, whereas there has been no real change in the proportion of men holding a licence during this time period (81% in 2004-2006, 82% in 2014-2016).

How people travel

  • In 2014-2016, 71% of all journeys were made by car, 18% by walking and 5% by public transport (Ulsterbus, Metro, Other Bus, Northern Ireland Railways, Black Taxi).
  • Nearly one sixth (16%) of all journeys were less than one mile long, and just over three fifths (62%) of these short journeys were on foot.  The car was the dominant mode of transport (78%) for all journeys one mile or over.
  • During 2014-2016, men and women (aged 16 and over) made a similar number of journeys each year (901 for men, 919 for women).  However, men travelled 22% further than women, averaging 6,719 miles a year, compared to 5,515 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 (18%).

Why people travel

  • In 2014-2016, 24% 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), 17% for shopping, 15% for commuting and 12% for personal business.  Shopping has decreased from 21% of all journeys in 2004-2006 to 17% of all journeys in 2014-2016.
  • Looking only at single journey purposes, the most common reasons for men taking a journey were commuting (20%) and shopping (18%).  For women, the most popular reason for making a journey was for shopping (21%).  The most frequently given reason for journeys made by children under 16 was for education (31%).
  • In 2014-2016, the majority of workers in the north of Ireland used a car or van to travel to work (81%), the same as 10 years ago (81% in 2004-2006).

Other factors affecting travel

  • Nearly one quarter (24%) of all respondents said they had cycled in the last 12 months.  Of these, nearly two fifths (39%) stated that “More cycle lanes” would encourage them to cycle more often, the most popular answer given.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of all respondents took a walk lasting at least 20 minutes once a month or more.  When asked what would encourage them to walk more often, the top answer given was “Better weather” stated by one third (33%) of respondents.
  • Just over one quarter (26%) of all respondents travelled on a bus once a month or more.  One tenth (10%) of all respondents travelled on a train once a month or more.  Respondents were asked what would encourage them to use local public transport services more often and the most popular answer, given by just over one quarter (26%) of respondents, was “Cheaper fares”.
  • Fourteen 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 2014-2016, an increase from 8% in 2004-2006.  Nearly three 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 2014-2016 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 2014-2016 reporting period.  A headline report (containing key figures) was published in July 2017.  This in-depth report contains more detailed analysis on journeys taken by the population of the north of Ireland over the time period 2014-2016 (including breakdowns by age and gender) and more trend comparisons with earlier years.  It also includes, for the first time, information and charts that were previously published in the TSNI Additional Tables Report on topics such as walking, cycling and public transport.

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:

3. Further Information

For further information please contact:

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

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



Share this page

Back to top