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24.3.2024 | Estonia

Fewer people commuting by public transport or foot in Estonia

Text Mark Taylor
Photo Visit Tallinn / Rasmus Jurkatam

Fewer people commuting by public transport or foot in Estonia

 

Fewer and fewer people are commuting on foot or by public transport in Estonia. Increasingly, people are preferring to travel to work by car.

In the last 20 years, the share of people walking to work has fallen by nearly half. Tea Vassiljeva, an analyst at Statistics Estonia, looked at the data and examined how the commuting habits of Estonians have changed in the past two decades.

The majority of people travel to work either on foot, by public transport, or by car. While 20 years ago the shares of these three modes of transport were more or less equal, the proportions have now changed dramatically.

The share of people walking to work has dropped from 27.3 per cent to 14.6 per cent. There has also been a strong decline in the use of public transport. 29.9 per cent of people traveled to work by public transport in 2003, whereas 17.8 per cent did so in 2023.

As the number of people commuting on foot and by public transport has fallen, the share of people traveling by car has risen: 25 per cent of people drove their own car to work in 2003, whereas 46.9 per cent did so last year. Notably, the share of women commuting by car has increased more over the last 20 years than that of men.

 

 

What could be behind these changes?

The increase in car use is, of course, due to a general rise in the number of cars. In addition, the distance between the place of work and home has increased somewhat. There has been a drop in the number of people living 2 kilometers or less from their place of work and an increase in the share of people whose workplace is more than 10 kilometers away. However, the percentage of people traveling 2 to 10 kilometers from home to work has remained fairly stable. Overall, the average distance between a person’s home and place of work has increased by 3.5 kilometers.

The proportion of people whose workplace is within 2 kilometers of their home has fallen from 32.2 per cent to 22.6 per cent over the last 20 years. In 2003, three-quarters of the people living within 2 km of their workplace walked to work. However, in 2023, just over half did so. Thus, it is not only the distance to work, but people’s changing choices that have made this a less popular method to commute to work.

 

Why are people choosing to travel by car?

In the last 20 years, the number of privately owned cars has doubled, which means that their use has also increased. This is a reflection of growing economic prosperity. However, increasing awareness of the environmental impact of human activity and the health benefits of daily exercise have been growing in recent years, which may be reflected in future statistics.

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Commuting Commuting By Car in Estonia Commuting By Foot in Estonia Commuting By Public Transport in Estonia Commuting in Estonia Public Transport Estonia Statistics Estonia

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