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Fewer commuters but journeys longer

A dual carriageway28/3/14

By Peter Woodman

People are travelling further to get to work but the number of commuters is falling as more staff work from home, according to official figures.

Based on Census statistics, the average distance travelled to work in England and Wales increased from 8.3 miles (13.4km) in 2001 to 9.32 miles (15km) in 2011.

Those living in the Midlands and south west England had the largest increase in average distance travelled between 2001 and 2011 - going an extra 1.36 miles (2.2km).

In 2011, commuters living in the east of England travelled furthest (10.34 miles/ 16.6km) while Londoners had the shortest average commutes - 6.83 miles (11km).

People working from home has increased

The number of people working mainly from home increased from 9.2% in 2001 to 10% in 2011, with a further 8% having no fixed place of work or working offshore.

As a result, only 81% made a regular commute in 2011 compared with 86% in 2001.

In both 2001 and 2011, men commuted further than woman. In 2001, 39% of males and 25% of females commuted more than 6.2 miles (10km ).

By 2011, the rates of commuting such distances had increased to 42% for men and 30% for women.

Professional workers more likely to commute

With the exception of those living in London, workers in managerial and professional occupations were more likely to commute 12.4 miles (20 km) or more.

The difference with other occupation groups was not so noticeable for London residents, where skilled trade workers were most likely to commute 12.4 miles (20km) or more.

Full-time workers commuted longer distances in 2011 than their part-time counterparts.

While 55% of part-time workers commuted less than 3.6 miles (5km), 38% of full-time workers did the same.

'UK business is getting on the road'

The figures came from the Office for National Statistics, which also revealed today that the number of people aged 16 to 74 living in London who cycled to work more than doubled between 2001 and 2011, from 77,000 to 155,000.

AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: "These latest figures seem to confirm the trend shown in recent Department for Transport traffic statistics - that UK business is recovering and getting on the road, the workers much less so."

He went on: "Although economic recovery has lifted motorway traffic 2.9% since the boom period of 2007, last year's traffic on rural main roads was down 2%, urban main roads was down 4%, rural minor roads was 6.0 per cent lower and traffic was 4.3% lower on urban minor roads.

"Much of this is due to the lag between inflated pump prices and wages that have failed to keep pace."

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