Commuting accounted for 16% of all journeys across all modes of transport in the UK last year, with business travel taking a further 3%, according to new figures from the Department for Transport’s annual National Travel Survey.

As distances for both types of travel tend to be longer than the average trip, commuting actually accounted for 19% of the average distance covered per person last year, with business travel another 9%. That compares with 20% for visiting friends, and the same figure attributed to the category called other leisure activities.

The DfT statistics state that the number of commuting trips has decreased by 10% since 1997, but the length of the average commute has increased by 5%.

According to the National Travel Survey 57.7% of people commute by car, 10.2% walk, 9.6% are car passengers and 8.3% travel on either a train or local bus, while 70% of non-commute business journeys were carried out by car.

The National Travel Survey also found that the average company car travelled well over twice as far as its private equivalent per year at 19,760 miles against just 8130. For company cars, 72% of their miles are attributed to either commuting or business mileage, against 38% for private cars. So despite the huge discrepancy in total mileage, the survey found that company cars do just 480 extra private miles per year, with almost all the extra being work-related. Outside of commuting, the average private car does just 680 miles per year.

The proportion of company cars on the road has slipped from 7% to 5% in the past 12 years.

The travel survey also looked at the issue of working from home, and found that the proportion of respondents working from home has remained stable since 2002.

It found 4% of people always work from home, another 6% don’t always work from home but had in the past week, while a further 10% have the possibility of working from home.

The only change from 2007 is a 1% increase in the number that always work from home.

The survey takes data from more than 8000 households that completed both an interview and a seven-day travel diary.

Number of trips per person in 2008
Mode of travel Commute Business travel
Walk 16 2
Bicycle 5 0
Car driver 90 21
Car passenger 15 2
Motorcycle 2 0
Local bus 13 1
Rail 13 2
Other public 2 1
All modes 156 29