2011 Census to shape transport policy

* Results will shape transport policy * Questionnaire will be sent out in March * 2001 census showed 13 million drove to work...

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What Car? Staff
23 December 2010

2011 Census to shape transport policy

Next years Census will not only show just how much the nation has changed its car-owning and using habits, it will also help to shape the Governments future transport policies.

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, happens once every 10 years and affects everyone in England and Wales. The next one will take place in March 2011, when a questionnaire will be sent out, which can be completed either online or on paper.

The statistics gathered are then used as the cornerstone for future planning of the countrys roads, as well as for housing, schools and hospitals.

We ask the question on how people travel to work, as well as one on workplace address, to help local authorities assess likely traffic flows to and around their area during rush hour, says Peter Stokes, 2011 Census statistical design manager.

The information can also be used to judge the effectiveness of certain policies. Census statistics help local authorities identify areas where few people use public transport or cycle, and assess whether providing alternatives to people driving could be effective.

According to the 2001 Census, 13,050,529 people drove to work in either a car or a van, and a further 1,477,211 people commuted to work as passengers in a car or a van.

However, since then, its possible that the nations habits may have changed. Not only has there been a recession, rising fuel costs may also have forced people to change their methods of tranport, and the Governments cycle to work initiative may have persuaded some people to abandon their cars.