Are the Cornish a bunch of petrolheads?

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Are the Cornish a bunch of petrolheads?

Posted 30 January 2009 18:22 by martin

The Department for Transport has released the following stats to us.

They show the percentage of trips of under 2 miles that were done by car and on foot in different areas in 2006 (the remainder, a surprisingly small percentage, were bus, taxi trips etc.).


Walk Car
North East 59 34
NW & Merseyside 55 38
Yorkshire & Humberside 58 35
East Midlands 59 35
West Midlands 55 39
Eastern 54 39
Greater London 61 28
South East 56 39
South West 53 41
England 57 37
Wales 54 42
Scotland 56 37
The regional/national variations are interesting.  At first glance, it's tempting to condemn our West Country brethren as a bunch of lardy-arsed petrolheads, and Londoners as paragons of pedestrian virtue.

But as car ownership in London is much lower than the national average, and (because?) public transport is so relatively good, it's not surprising that Londoners are less likely to make short trips by car.  Plus disincentives like the Congestion Charge.  And I suppose the prevalence of those things called pavements that make walking in London a much more viable option than walking in, say, rural parts of the South West (for 'functional' trips, rather than leisure ones, that is).

The more you look into it, the more complex it gets (a good thing we pulled the “Lofty Londoners more likely to walk than Witless Welsh” press release…)

But the stand-out fact is that so many of us, wherever we live, are jumping into cars for short trips – and these are trips of under 2 miles, so many will be just a mile or so.  Sure, if it's pissing with rain, you need to transport a load, you're doing a multi-part journey, or you've got a health/age reason preventing you from walking, the car (if you have one) will often be best.

But surely a good chunk of those car trips could be done on foot – and time, convenience, health, cost and environmental factors can all, in varying measures, add up to a pretty compelling case for that switch.

We hope walkit.com is helping to make that case, for you, and any of your friends smitten by Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May.

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