Method of travel to place of work or study

Mnemonic reference (code): TRANSPORTPS11

Type: Primary variable

Definition: The method of travel used for the longest part, by distance, of the usual journey to work or place of study.

Applicability: Person





Work or study mainly at or from home


Underground subway metro light rail or tram




Bus minibus or coach




Motorcycle scooter or moped


Driving a car or van


Passenger in a car or van




On foot




No code required

Total number of categories: 12

Not applicable category (XX) comprises: Those not currently working or studying and schoolchildren and full-time students living away from home during term time.

Source question:

Image of Scottish question 12 from 2011

Reason for asking: This question collects information used for transport services and policies to inform planning and modelling. The information helps in the assessment of local public transport needs.

England & Wales (2011) and Scotland (2001) comparisons:

The England & Wales (2011) question only applies to the resident population who are working whereas the Scotland (2011) question applies to those who are working and studying.

Image of E & W question 41 from 2011

England & Wales (2011)

The 2001 and 2011 Scotland questions are fully comparable.

The table populations were different for table QS702SC in 2011 and its equivalent 2001 table.  Therefore, in order to allow comparisons between the census years, the 2001 data were re-run using the 2011 table population.  The re-run 2001 data are available as Table A3 from the release 2C section of the downloadable files page.

Known quality issues:

The full-time student variable was restricted to those aged four or over.  This introduces some differences with the 2001 data as there 22,953 students aged 0 to 3 travelling to school (Table S218).

There are almost 12,000 four and five year olds in the dataset whose parents have answered that they are full time students but when they were asked what address they travel to for course of study they answered that their children are 'not currently studying'.

There are approximately 78,000 students aged 16 or under who report they study from home. This is much higher than the Scottish Government estimates of home-schooled students, and is probably a result of the respondents misunderstanding the question and giving the place where they study or do homework instead of the way they travel to the place of study. Question number 11 (‘What address do you travel to for main job or course of study (including school)’) filters out those who answered that they ‘study/work from home’ therefore they are not required to provide a mode of transport. In many cases the respondents who appear as studying from home have also provided a valid address of the school they attend. However, the postcode supplied was their enumeration postcode rather than where they travel to school. This is likely to have happened because the respondents did not know the postcode of the school their children attend. When this data was processed, a very first step was to check whether the enumeration postcode was the same as the postcode these students travel to. If the postcode was the same, then they were set to ‘studying from home’ and the text was ignored.  One other group of records who appear as studying from home are those who ticked the ‘studying from home’ box at Q11 and did not provided text. For these records the tick was accepted and the postcode processed to be the same as the enumeration postcode.

The number of records who ticked that they study from home but they gave a postcode different than the enumeration postcode is tiny and even though we would correct those records, the number of students who report that they study from home will still be a lot higher than what SG has estimated.

Working from home: It is possible that this number is higher than in reality because people might have misunderstood the question. For example, there will be people who run their own businesses, are self-employed (tutors, hairdressers, etc) and they might have answered ‘working from home’ although they would travel to wherever their clients are, therefore, it should have been ‘no fixed place’ rather than ‘working from home’.

Another issue in the data is that there are a small number of full time students, who live in the UK but appear to study outside the UK. When their forms were checked it turned out that these people are from abroad, but they are full time students in the UK and they provided their home country address when they were asked about the address they travel to for their course of study, and also provided a mode of transport. An example of such a case would be: someone who is a full time student at the University of Aberdeen, the address they travel to is Singapore and the mode of transport is 'walking'.


To see which of our published standard, additional and commissioned tables use this variable please use the Table Index.