627: Travel Methods

A Thousand Things to Talk About
627: Travel Methods

What’s your preferred method of travel?

Full episode script

There are plenty of people around the world that do not travel more than a few miles away from home in their entire lives. One recent survey in the United States found that 11 percent of people had never traveled outside of their home state.


But even those who do not travel far do need to do some traveling at least occasionally. And when we do choose to travel, the method of travel is often informed as much by the infrastructure and resources around us as it is by our desires.


In many places, the preferred method of travel has two wheels. Quoting from Fortune magazine:

The bicycle is the world’s most popular form of transit. There were an estimated 133 million bikes produced and sold to retailers last year, says industry analyst Jay Townley. That’s more than double the number of cars manufactured worldwide in 2011, and a 500% increase from 50 years ago.


And perhaps the most striking thing that I’ve found is that our preferred methods of travel may have more to do with speed than anything else. Researchers took a look at data from 50 years of the National Transportation Survey in the UK and found that, quote:

According to the authors of the report, the most striking change to our travel habits is that “we are travelling further but not more often”. In other words, though the individual trips we take are longer in terms of distance, the number of times we travel has remained much the same over the past 50 years. What’s more, there has been little change in the total time spent travelling, due to faster travel speeds.


This jives with research from previous episodes, where we discovered in discussions of commuting that it’s commuting methods that change more than the amount of tie we are willing to spend getting back and forth to work.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.