4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, July 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2013   
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25 July 2013
Embargoed: 11.30 am Canberra Time

Most Aussies travel by car

The latest Australian Social Trends (AST) report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today looks at the dominance of cars over public transport in Australia.

ABS Assistant Director of Social and Progress Reporting, Jane Griffin-Warwicke, said our report found that the majority of Australian adults (71 per cent) use a passenger vehicle to get to work or full time study. Of those who drove themselves, three quarters did not take a passenger with them.

“One of the main reasons people give for driving their cars to work or study is that they can’t access public transport” said Ms Griffin-Warwicke “Over half said lack of public transport services at the right time (or at all) was the reason they used a car," said Ms Griffin-Warwicke.

Sydney has the lowest proportion of people using a passenger vehicle to travel to work (70%) and the highest public transport use (25%). Adelaide has the highest passenger vehicle use to travel to work (84%) and Darwin had the lowest public transport use (4.8%).

Ms Griffin-Warwicke said that while cars gave people greater freedom in travelling and going out, wide-spread usage has its down side as well.

"Just over a third of people thought that noisy driving and dangerous driving were social problems in their neighbourhood.

“The analysis also showed that even though deaths from car accidents were declining over time, there were still over 1,300 people who died as a result of a traffic accident in 2011,” Ms Griffin-Warwicke added.

In 2013, there were 13.0 million cars registered in Australia. The most common brands registered were Toyota (2.6 million), Holden (2.0 million) and Ford (1.6 million).

Cost is the most common thing people think about when buying a car (59%), followed by fuel economy/running costs (46%), size (41%) and type of car (36%).

All AST articles are available in full and for free online at www.abs.gov.au/socialtrends

Media notes:

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.