In their daily nonoccupational travel, people in the United States journeyed about 4 trillion miles in 2001, or 14,500 miles per person that year. On average, people traveled 40 miles per day on four one-way trips. Daily trips are influenced by a number of interrelated socio-demographic characteristics. Among them are household income, gender, and age .
Daily trip making increases slightly with household income. People in households earning $100,000 or more a year averaged 4.6 trips per day, while people in households earning less than $25,000 took 3.5 trips per day (figure 5-11). Because lower income households are less likely to own a personal vehicle, however, they tend to use transit, walk, or bicycle more than do higher income groups1 (figure 5-12). There is a greater gap between lower and higher income households in the distance they travel, on average. People in households earning less than $25,000 traveled 26 miles a day each on average compared with 53 miles by people in households earning $100,000 or more. People in the income groups between these extremes traveled between 38 and 48 miles a day, on average .
Men and women, on average, made the same number of trips per day: four. Both men and women made most of their daily trips in personal vehicles; 86 percent and 87 percent, respectively.However, men tend to travel farther than women, 43 miles per day compared with 35 miles a day (figure 5-13). These differences in trip distance are related, to some extent, to trip purpose. Men, on average, make more longer distance work and work-related business trips, while women make more shopping and other family/personal business trips, which tend to be shorter.
Age is another factor affecting how much and by what means people travel on a daily basis. People travel the most in the middle years when income tends to be higher and traveling to work and on work-related business may be necessary. People between the ages of 35 and 44 made the most trips a day, about 4.8 per person on average, compared with 2.8 per person for those 75 and older and 3.2 per person for children under 5 (figure 5-14). Not only do those in the middle years make more trips, again those trips tend to be longer work and work-related trips. As a result, people between 35 and 44 traveled 51 miles, on average, compared with less than 30 miles for the youngest and oldest age groups.
1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.
1 Other factors, such as household location, may also contribute to this difference.