Return to travel – time to understand peoples’ needs

19 April 2021

What will help people return to transport and who will need the most reassurance or incentives to consider public transport again?

To help governments and industry understand people’s attitudes to travel Transport Focus has published new segmentation analysis. This provides deeper insight into how people are feeling about public transport now and about returning in the future.

For almost a year Transport Focus has been talking to people about their views and concerns about travel. Our Travel During Covid-19 survey has tracked behaviours, journey satisfaction and attitudes. Now, as restrictions begin to ease, we are digging deeper into the survey. This new analysis breaks the population down into five groups according to key behaviours and attitudes.

Introducing our five segments:

  1. Cautious Car Choosers – more likely to have owned and used a car before Covid-19 which, along with strong concerns about Covid-19, means they are unlikely to consider using public transport.

    Almost half in this segment say public transport is not for ‘people like me’.

  2. Anxious and Affected – anxious about Covid-19. More likely to be reliant on public transport and not feel enough is being done to ensure safety.

    Only one in 10 in this segment agree enough is being done to ensure coronavirus safety on public transport.

  3. Rethinking Reducers – more likely to have used public transport regularly before Covid-19, but they are rethinking and expect to use public transport less in future.

    Two in three in this segment say coronavirus has made them rethink how they will use transport in the future.

  4. Spring-back Socialisers – more likely to return to public transport as they are keen to get back to their normal activities as soon as they can.

    Seven in 10 in this segment say that, when restrictions are lifted, they expect to use public transport as much as before.

  5. Carefree and Carrying on – more likely to have used public transport recently and least anxious about Covid-19.

    Only around one in 10 in this segment are anxious about using trains or buses.

This analysis can help build a picture of the future market for public transport. It illustrates the sort of people that may return first and also those who will need the most reassurance or incentives to consider public transport again. It confirms the challenge facing public transport providers to encourage some people to consider using it again and the need to ensure that people feel safe and confident when they do.

Transport Focus will apply this segmentation analysis to our weekly Travel During Covid-19 survey. We will use this to show how different segments respond to concepts, messaging, incentives, triggers and initiatives as restrictions ease and rules change in the coming weeks and months.

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