Transport: Census

Latest release

Information on number of motor vehicles and method of travel to work

Reference period
Next release Unknown
First release

Key statistics

  • The average number of motor vehicles per household is 1.8.
  • 673,969 households don’t have a motor vehicle, primarily amongst lone households.

  • 91 per cent of households (91.3 per cent) reported having at least one vehicle and more than half (55.1 per cent) reported having two or more vehicles.

  • Cars continued to be the most popular mode of transport to get to work in every state and territory. 52.7 per cent (6,347,498 people) of the Australian workforce drove to work by car only, compared to 61.5 per cent (6,574,571 people) in 2016. 

  • Using trains as the sole mode of transport to get to work decreased from 488,012 in 2016 to 170,326 in 2021. 

  • 2.5 per cent of people (306,045) walked to work. Northern Territory had the highest proportion of people who walked to work at 7.6 per cent (8,115 people).

  • Of the 12 million people employed on Census day, 2.5 million people (21.0 per cent) worked from home, compared to 500,000 (4.7 per cent) in 2016. 1.4 million people (11.8 per cent) didn’t go to work on Census day, compared to 1 million people (9.4 per cent) in 2016.

  1. Excludes motorbikes, motor scooters and heavy vehicles.
  2. Based on place of enumeration. Excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households.

Source: Number of motor vehicles (VEHD), Household composition (HHCD)

Census data stories and concepts

Articles and information papers that related to this topic include:

How Census data is used

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Census data helps keep the remote community of Coen connected

Key questions in 2021 Census

  • How many registered motor vehicles owned or used by residents of this dwelling were garaged or parked at or near this dwelling on the night of Tuesday 10 August 2021? 
  • How did the person get to work on Tuesday 10 August 2021? 
  • Where does the person usually live?
  • For the main job held last week, what was the person’s workplace address?

The questions from the 2021 Census are output into variables. To see descriptions of the variables, including data use considerations, relevant to this topic see the 2021 Census dictionary: Transport.

Data downloads

Data table for Transport data summary

Other ABS links

To access more 2021 Census data, see Search Census data or to build your own data sets, see Census data tools.

Explore other ABS data: 

Post release changes

12/10/2022 - Key statistics updated with information on how people travelled to work. Transport data summary download file amended to include second release data tables. 

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