The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland In-depth Report 2020 has been published today

Date published: 29 September 2022

The Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI) In-depth Report, containing statistics for 2020, is now available. The publication is produced by the Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (ASRB) of the Department for Infrastructure and contains information on a variety of travel modes including walking, cycling, public transport, cars, a variety of journey purposes including travelling to work and shopping and key tables by urban–rural.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is available on the Travel Survey for Northern Ireland website.

Key Points

The key points for 2020 are:

  • Each person travelled, on average, 4,550 miles in 2020 (approximately 12.5 miles per day).
  • On average, 826 journeys were made per person in 2020 (just over 2 journeys per day).
  • In 2020, the average time each person spent travelling was 279 hours (approximately 46 minutes per day).
  • On average, in 2020, people living in urban areas made around the same number of journeys as people living in rural areas (urban: 831 journeys; rural: 820 journeys) and spent a similar amount of time travelling as people living in rural areas (urban: 280 hours; rural: 277 hours).  However, rural residents travelled further than urban residents (urban: 3,550 miles; rural: 5,772 miles).
  • In 2020, 65% of all journeys were made by car, 27% by walking, 3% by public transport (Ulsterbus, Metro, Other Bus, Northern Ireland Railways, Black Taxi) and 2% by cycling.
  • Over two fifths (42%) of all journeys were less than two miles long in 2020.  More than half (54%) of these journeys were on foot while 41% were by car.  The car was the dominant mode of transport (83%) for journeys of two miles and over.
  • In 2020, more than two fifths (43%) of all journeys were made for leisure and other purposes (visiting friends, entertainment, social activities, sports activities, holiday, day trips, just walking, other), 18% for shopping and 16% for commuting and business. 
  • Three quarters (75%) of all respondents took a walk lasting at least 20 minutes once a week or more.
  • In 2020, 14% of all respondents cycled once a week or more.
  • Around three times as many respondents travelled on the bus once a week or more (15%) as travelled on the train once a week or more (5%).

Notes to editors: 

Background to TSNI 2020 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.  Detailed user information, definitions and guidance are included in the report.

TSNI reports are published annually and the earliest data available are for the 1999-2001 period.  This is the second of the two reports to be published covering the 2020 reporting period.  A headline report (containing key figures) was published in March 2022.  This in-depth report contains more detailed analysis on journeys taken by a representative sample of the population in 2020 (including breakdowns by gender).

Changes to the survey in 2020

In March 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, face to face interviewing for the 2020 TSNI was suspended.  In April 2020, data collection for the 2020 survey resumed and moved to telephone mode with a reduction in the number of questions.

Due to the significant changes to the survey methodology, the 2020 survey estimates are reported as a single year instead of the usual three years combined and the results are not directly comparable to those from previous years.  The commentary contained in the report is therefore focussed on the findings for 2020.  Furthermore, the smaller achieved sample has limited the analysis that can be carried out and the scope of this in-depth report has been reduced from previous years.

Official Statistics

This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice on the UK Statistics Authority website.

Additional Information

For more information relating to this publication, including alternative formats, please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Room 5.25,
Clarence Court,
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks

For media enquiries please contact the DfI Press Office 028 9054 0007.

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