This component covers all modes of transport used by residents of the South West in 2001. Freight transport is not included.

Residents in the South West travelled an estimated 56.3 billion passenger kilometres (pass-km) in 2001, an average of 11,416 pass-km per year. The most common mode of transport used was the private car, 82% of total travel (51% as drivers and 31% as passengers).

In comparison with national travel trends, South West residents travel less by bus (253 pass-km per person) and rail (413 pass-km per person) than the average English passenger, who travels 377 and 723 pass-km respectively. This is likely to be a reflection of geographic nature of the South West, where towns and villages are more isolated and public transport is limited. Trips for leisure and commuting to work are the two main reasons for travelling, representing 39% and 29% respectively of all personal transport in the South West. 70% of commuter trips to work were done by car, followed by rail at 12% (see Figure 15).

For more detail on personal transport, see the Resource Flow Report.

Figure 15
Purpose of travel for a South West resident, by mode, in 2001

fig 15

* Other personal business includes, for example trips to the doctor, bank, hairdresser or library or providing lifts for friends and family.
** Other includes taking a walk for relaxation or having a driving lesson.
Note: Totals may differ due to rounding

Sources: DfT, 2002; Espineira & Haslam, 2002; Pathan, 2004 and Salathiel, 2003

Personal transport ecological footprint

The personal transport ecological footprint for residents in the South West in 2001 was 0.53 gha per person, and accounted for 10% of the total ecological footprint of the region.

The largest component was car travel, which accounted for 79% of the personal transport ecological footprint. Air travel had the second largest ecological footprint at 15%, although it was only 5% of the distance travelled. The air travel ecological footprint is high due to the energy input required for flying, particularly at take-off and landing.

The personal transport ecological footprint includes all personal travel by South West residents in 2001. The footprint takes into consideration the energy required for manufacturing, maintenance and fuel used for different modes of transport. It does not include freight transport, which is accounted for in the 'materials and waste' ecological footprint as part of a product's impact.

For more detail on the personal transport footprint, see the Ecological Footprint Report.

Figure 16 shows a breakdown of the personal transport ecological footprint, by mode.

Figure 16
Personal travel ecological footprint for a South West resident, by mode, in 2001

fig 16

Transport scenarios

Transport scenarios investigated personal transport only. Personal transport accounted for 10% of the South West's total ecological footprint in 2001. The scenarios investigate changes in the way people travel, as well as increases in efficiency of travel, and are built on the 2001 base case with a footprint of 0.53 gha per person.

For more detail on personal transport scenarios, see the Scenarios Report.

Figure 17 shows the ecological footprints for the personal transport base case and several scenarios.

  • Scenario 1 : meets local targets for reducing car commuter travel and increases other modes of transport.
  • Scenario 2 : overall distance travelled is reduced for car and air travel, without increasing other travel modes.
  • Scenario 3 : fuel efficiency of the South West's car fleet is improved from current average fuel consumption to the best currently available.
  • Scenario 4 : includes further measures required to achieve a one planet lifestyle level for environmentally sustainable transport use in the South West.

Figure 17
Personal transport base case and scenario ecological footprints for the South West, in 2001

fig 17


In 2001, 28,600 million kilometres were travelled by cars in the South West, with a further 398 million kilometres travelled by motorbike (Espineira & Haslam, 2002; Pathan, 2004 and Salathiel, 2003). Transport energy use is projected to grow by 2% per year, with a corresponding increase in greenhouse gas emissions (DTI, 2000). To limit greenhouse gas emissions from this sector, the European Commission (2003) has set a minimum target for each member state to replace 5.75% of all petrol and diesel consumed (by energy content) with biofuel (or other renewable fuels) by 2010. Further information on biofuels can be found in Additional Information.

Scenario 1: Optimum mix to meet European target of 5.75% biofuels

How would the biofuels ecological footprint alter with a change in the biodiesel/bioethanol mix?

The area of land required to provide this amount of biofuels depends upon the fuel replacement mix. If only biodiesel was used to meet the target, this would require 128,000 hectares of land (24% of the South West's available land) for growing biofuel energy crops. However, if only bioethanol was used to meet the target, this would require 30,000 hectares of land (6% of the South West's available land) for growing biofuel energy crops.

Scenario 2: One planet lifestyle mix

How large would the biofuels ecological footprint be if 100% of car, taxi and motorbike travel was fuelled by bioethanol?

It would take almost 292,000 hectares (an ecological footprint of 0.31 gha per person) to produce enough bioethanol to fuel all South West cars, taxis and motorbikes travelling an annual amount equivalent to 2001. This is more than 54% of the arable land in the South West. Hart et al. (2003) state that the UK land availability for short rotation coppice by 2050 will be 25% of 'agricultural' land. It is also worth considering that currently there is negligible supply of bioethanol for transport use in the UK (Hart et al., 2003).