Reliance on cars increasing

Reliance on cars has reached a 15-year high despite commuting levels dropping to a new low.

According to a survey of 2,652 UK motorists carried out by the RAC, 82% said they would struggle without access to a car, up from 79% last year and 74% in 2019.

This is despite the same survey finding that the average commute has been cut to three days as a result of working from home measures introduced during Covid-19.

The survey found that 57% of respondents said the car is quicker than other options, with 53% saying there are no feasible public transport services. Even when public transport is available, many commuters are reluctant to use it. Only 46% of respondents said they would use their car less if bus and train services improved, while 45% said they expect to use public transport less in future.

RAC data insight spokesman Rod Dennis, said: “Many drivers clearly expect that hybrid working will become the norm, which could have a profound effect on the overall volume of vehicles on the roads during the week.

“It’s also clear just how important the car is to so many people, a relationship that appears to have strengthened due to Covid-19. A greater proportion of drivers than ever say they’d find it hard to live without one. In so many cases, the car is faster, more reliable and is really the only feasible option for the sorts of distances people travel, whether that’s to the local supermarket a few miles away or to see friends and family on the other side of the country.

“If the challenge faced by policymakers in getting drivers out of their cars before the pandemic was akin to trekking up a steep hill, our research suggests they now have a veritable mountain to climb.”