Long-Distance Travel by Purpose and Mode

Long-Distance Travel by Purpose and Mode

Long-distance trips are those over 50 miles away from home. People in the United States took over half of their long-distance trips (56 percent) in 2001 for pleasure. These include trips to visit friends and relatives and for recreation. Another 16 percent were for business travel and 13 percent for commuting to a regular place of employment. Trips for personal business, such as shopping, medical visits, weddings, and funerals, accounted for another 13 percent of long-distance trips [1] (figure 5-6).

Nearly 90 percent or more of most long-distance trips are made by personal vehicle.1 The only exception is for business, where 328.6 million (79 percent) of trips were made by personal vehicle and 73.6 million (18 percent) were made by air (figure 5-7). Bus was the second choice by people traveling on personal business (18.2 million trips) and the third choice for pleasure (31.8 million trips). For train trips, differences in the shares by purpose cannot be discerned because of the small sample size.


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 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks (e.g., dump trucks and trailer trucks), recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.