More Belfast people are ditching the car to rely on their own two legs, new figures have revealed.
The latest travel survey reveals that the number of people using a car or van to get to work has dropped from 67% in 2003-2005 to 59% in 2007-2009.
That contrasts with a small increase in usage from workers in the East of Northern Ireland (up from 81% in 2003-2005 to 84%) and no real change in the West.
Meanwhile, the average distance walked by Belfast residents has increased 30% from 186 miles per year in 1999-2001 up to 242 in 2007-2009.
Outside Belfast, it’s a different picture, with no real difference in the average distance walked by people in the East and West.
Describing the survey as a “real eye-opener”, Friends of the Earth said it was shocking how little time we spend walking and how dependent we are on cars.
“It’s little wonder though, as around 80% of the Assembly’s transport budget is spent on roads and Conor Murphy, the Minister for Regional Development, has slashed the cycling budget for Belfast by a staggering 99%,” campaigner Declan Allison said.
“A shift towards active transport options, such as walking and |
cycling, would improve people’s health; reduce traffic accidents; and cut our carbon emissions — a win-win-win situation. But this can only happen if the Assembly takes the lead and invests in the necessary infrastructure.”
The in-depth Travel Survey for Northern Ireland covers the period 2007-2009 and is published by the Central Statistics and |Research Branch of DRD.
The survey found that each person made an average of 914 journeys per year, a drop from the 1999-2001 average of 978.
Those living in Belfast travelled an average of 3,760 miles per year, around 40% less than the 6,317 miles and 6,457 miles for those |living in the East and West.