Northern Ireland

Access to transport

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • In 2001, only a small minority of couples, both working-age and pensioner, and whether with or without dependent children, were lacking a car: from just 5% among those with children to 20% for pensioners.
  • By contrast, over half of lone parent families and two-thirds of single pensioners lacked a car.  Both the very low levels of non-ownership among the corresponding couple households, and the enormous difference between those rates and the ones for single adult households, suggest that the latter suffer a considerable degree of disadvantage as a result of not owning a car.
  • Looked at on a district basis, Belfast and Derry stand out for the proportion of their working-age households without a car: 38% and 29% respectively.  In all other districts, the proportions fall in a fairly narrow range, from 22% in Craigavon, to 12% in Magherafelt.
  • Belfast also has a much lower proportion of its working households with at least one person driving to work: 59%.  In all other districts, this proportion varies between 70% and 80%.  The implication of this is that, perhaps apart from Belfast, a car is virtually an essential everywhere, with little difference between the different districts.

Definitions and data sources

The ability to travel is an important element of access, which is in a sense the opposite of social exclusion. Almost all jobs require some form of travel, whether to and from work or at work itself. Transport is also needed to access services such as schools and hospitals. In rural areas in particular, lack of access to transport can have a major detrimental effect on the quality of a person’s life.

The first graph shows the proportion of households who do not have access to either a car or van, with the data shown separately for each major type of household.

The second graph shows the proportion of households in each local authority without a car, against the proportion of working-age adults in each local authority where at least one person in the household drives to work.

The data source for both graphs is the 2001 Census (tables S062 and S118).

Overall adequacy of this indicator: limited. Ideally, this indicator would cover all aspects of transport rather than juts cars. Furthermore, the need for a car, either to get to work or for other purposes, will depend on a household’s circumstances, including where they live.