HOW DID WE GET HERE?

WE WANT TO SHINE A LIGHT ON HOW PEOPLE TRAVEL TODAY AND THE IMPACT OF TRANSPORT CHOICES ON HUMANITY

How do people get to work? What makes them choose planes over trains? Do people think about leisure travel in the same way as business travel? Can we tell which modes of transport are cheaper, faster, cleaner and calmer?

We also want to look to the future. Are we there yet? Given what we know and find, what can be done to change people’s transport choices for the better?

CURRENT BEHAVIOUR

To kick off, we asked people in the UK, France, Spain and Germany about their transport choices.

This is what they told us …

PLANES OVER TRAINS FOR DOMESTIC HOLIDAYS

More respondents in the UK, Germany and Spain fly than take the train for domestic holidays.

UK – plane (21%) vs train (17%)

Germany – plane (22%) vs train (15%)

Spain – plane (20%) vs train (14%)

France – plane (9%) vs train (17%)

This is despite trains being greener, cheaper, faster and calmer (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2)

NICHT WICHTIG

24% of German respondents said that the environment was ‘not at all important’ to their transport choices.

17% of British, French and Spanish respondents felt the same

MORE PEOPLE WALK TO WORK THAN RIDE THE BUS, TRAIN OR BICYCLE

This is how respondents commute:

Car – 45%
Walking – 20%
Bus – 9%
Train – 8%
Bicycle – 8%
Boat – 6%
Other – 4%

‘TRAVEL TIME’ HAS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE

‘Travel time’ has the biggest influence for both leisure and corporate travel.

Travel Time – 38% work / 32% leisure

Cost – 23% work / 25% leisure

Stress – 12% work / 21% leisure

Environmental concerns – 10% work / 11% leisure

Productivity – 10% work / 8% leisure

Other – 7% work / 3% leisure

Did you know that trains are often faster than planes? (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2

GREEN SPANIARDS

43% of Spanish respondents say that the environment was ‘very important’ to their transport choice.

Only 18% of British, French and German respondents felt this way.

50% SAID ‘CHEAPER FARES’ WOULD MAKE THEM CHOOSE PLANES OVER TRAINS

50% of travellers say it will take ‘cheaper fares’ to make them use trains more than planes.

Our Plane v Train analysis shows that trains are cheaper on 4 out of 5 routes we studied (Link to Section 2)

VA VA VOOM

The car is the most popular transport mode amongst respondents for business travel (52%), local holidays (52%) and commuting (45%)

BRITISH RESPONDENTS CARE LESS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT WHEN MAKING TRANSPORT DECISIONS

Only 5% of British respondents said ‘environmental concerns’ was the primary driver for their transport decisions, compared with over 10% in France, Germany and Spain.

Did you know that trains are greener than planes? (see our Plane v Train analysis across 5 European routes)

(Link to Section 2)

18% SAID THE ENVIRONMENT WAS ‘NOT AT ALL’ IMPORTANT

Green is not mainstream

18% said that the environment was ‘not at all’ important to their transport decisions.

31% of respondents said it was ‘quite’ important.

Only 23% said it was ‘very important’.

Did you know that trains being greener than planes? (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2)

-90%

If you take the train over plane, you can reduce your C02 emissions by up to 90%

51% ‘WILL NOT FLY LESS THIS YEAR’

Over half of respondents said they will not fly less this year compared with last year.

CURRENT BEHAVIOUR

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PLANES OVER TRAINS FOR DOMESTIC HOLIDAYS

More respondents in the UK, Germany and Spain fly than take the train for domestic holidays. UK – plane (21%) vs train (17%) Germany – plane (22%) vs train (15%) Spain – plane (20%) vs train (14%) France – plane (9%) vs train (17%)

This is despite trains being greener, cheaper, faster and calmer

‘TRAVEL TIME’ HAS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE

Travel Time – 38% work / 32% leisure

Cost – 23% work / 25% leisure

Stress – 12% work / 21% leisure

Environmental concerns – 10% work / 11% leisure

Productivity – 10% work / 8% leisure

Other – 7% work / 3% leisure

This is despite trains being faster than planes (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2)

BRITISH RESPONDENTS CARE LESS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT WHEN MAKING TRANSPORT DECISIONS

Only 5% of British respondents said ‘environmental concerns’ was the primary driver for their transport decisions, compared with over 10% in France, Germany and Spain.

This is despite trains being greener than planes (see our Plane v Train analysis across 5 European routes) (Link to Section 2)

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CURRENT BEHAVIOUR

PLANES OVER TRAINS FOR DOMESTIC HOLIDAYS

More respondents in the UK, Germany and Spain fly than take the train for domestic holidays.

UK – plane (21%) vs train (17%)

Germany – plane (22%) vs train (15%)

Spain – plane (20%) vs train (14%)

France – plane (9%) vs train (17%)

This is despite trains being greener, cheaper, faster and calmer (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2)

‘TRAVEL TIME’ HAS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE

Travel Time – 38% work / 32% leisure

Cost – 23% work / 25% leisure

Stress – 12% work / 21% leisure

Environmental concerns – 10% work / 11% leisure

Productivity – 10% work / 8% leisure

Other – 7% work / 3% leisure

This is despite trains being faster than planes (see our analysis) (Link to Section 2)

BRITISH RESPONDENTS CARE LESS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT WHEN MAKING TRANSPORT DECISIONS

 

Only 5% of British respondents said ‘environmental concerns’ was the primary driver for their transport decisions, compared with over 10% in France, Germany and Spain. This is despite trains being greener than planes

 

(see our Plane v Train analysis across 5 European routes) (Link to Section 2)

THE FACTS

Our first data investigation compares planes and trains across 5 short-haul routes in Europe based on: cost, speed, co2 emissions, choice, and heart rate.

Use our interactive table to see which transport mode comes out on top

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Planes are not cheaper than trains
The average price of a train was cheaper than the average price of a plane on 4 out of the 5 routes. Planes beat trains only on the Barcelona to Madrid route.

Planes are not faster than trains
When you factor in the time it takes to get to/from a city centre to an airport and train station, as well as the waiting times, trains were faster than planes on 4 out of the 5 routes. Planes beat trains only on the Stockholm to Malmo route.

Planes are never greener than trains
Unsurprisingly planes emitted more CO2 than trains across all five routes. The surprising thing is the difference in CO2 footprint, which is not just a function of distance but also the emissions from the production and distribution of electricity/fuel which varies from country to country. Sweden to Malmo is the second longest route in terms of distance but has the smallest carbon footprint due to the way Sweden produces electricity.

More planes than trains on two routes
There were more planes than trains for London to Paris and Paris to Amsterdam. This is surprising given they are the 2nd and 3rd shortest routes in terms of distance. On the other three routes, travellers had more choice taking the train than plane.

CHANGING BEHAVIOUR

The data is telling us that the plane doesn’t always win. Yet, in section 1 we see that travellers are still choosing planes over trains, and no intention to fly less over the next 12 months. Why is the data telling us one thing, and the behaviour telling us another? and more importantly how do we change this going forward? to help travellers make more informed decisions about their transport choices and to help save our planet.

Explore some of the initiatives that are already changing travel behaviour