The results of the annual National Travel Survey released today (22 September 2021) show people travelled less in 2020 than any year since records began.

Whilst walking trips and stages decreased, the number of miles walked per person increased to their highest levels since 2002 with trips of over a mile increasing by 34 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. The number of people ‘going for a walk’ almost doubled as people switched from walking for utility to walking for leisure. 

Almost 80 per cent reported walking 20 minutes or more at least once a week, up from 71 per cent in 2019. Just 12 per cent of people reported that they never or almost never walked for 20 minutes, down from 18 per cent in 2019.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking says long-term funding is needed to ensure people keep choosing cleaner and healthier ways to travel.

Woman and child walking

Stephen Edwards, Interim CEO, Living Streets comments: 

“Last year we were asked to avoid unnecessary travel during lockdown. When forced to consider whether each car journey was necessary or not, we realised many weren’t.

“Instead of jumping in the car for a short journey, we chose to walk or cycle. This is a habit we should be continuing if we’re to tackle the climate emergency and create strong, healthier and less polluted communities.

“Long-term, stable funding is needed in the upcoming Spending Review to harness this renewed love of walking and cycling and to ensure these higher levels aren’t a one-off.”