The present day scale of car use is covered in the Government's Transport Statistics Great Britain 1998 report, which shows that, while car use is increasing, pollution caused by vehicles is in decline. Britain is a car-based economy, with fleets and private motorists relying on road transport to do business, the reports show.
Firms are often located in areas not serviced by alternative means of travel, including the train or the bus. In the past 50 years, the number of licensed cars has grown from five million to 22 million vehicles and distance travelled in cars has rocketed, while total distances covered by alternatives, such as cycles, buses and coaches have remained relatively static.
Bus use dropped just under 1% in 1996/97 to 4.3 billion journeys. It is at half the levels of 1970, according to Government figures. Only bus use in London is increasing. Meanwhile, the cost of using the bus and train has risen faster than the cost of using cars, discouraging use of alternative transport. Despite congestion, people travel further to work because their journeys have been made faster, with 70% of journeys to the office by car and most travel during working hours by car.