How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

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1. Concessionary bus travel

In 2012-13, 9.7 million older people and disabled people made £1,016 million bus journeys using a statutory English National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass – the scheme provides travel for free on local bus services anywhere in England, between 0930 and 2300 during weekdays and anytime at weekends and bank holidays.

The scheme is administered at a local level by Travel Concession Authorities (TCA). Many TCAs provide enhancements to the statutory scheme, which for example allow for free or discounted travel before 0930 or on other modes of transport.

2. Rail Cards

A range of railcards are available that offer discounts on rail travel. These include:

16-25 Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those aged 16-25 or full time students. It is reported to provide an average saving of £145 per year.

Family and Friends Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those travelling with children aged 5-15. It is reported to provide an average saving of £117 per year.

Senior Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those aged over 60. It is reported to provide an average saving of £83 per year.

Network Railcard

Provides up to 1/3 off rail fares for the cardholder and up to 3 others in London and the South East.

Disabled person’s Railcard

Provides up to 1/3 off rail fares for the card holder and a companion. It is reported to provide an average saving of £94 per year.

HM Forces Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off adult rail fares and 60% off kids’ fares for members of the Regular forces, their spouses and dependent children aged 16 or 17.

Regional Railcards

A number of other railcards are offered for use in specific geographical locations or on certain lines of a route.

3. Support for young people

Local authorities offer a range of travel support for young people. These include:

Home to School Transport

Local authorities currently spend around £1 billion every year providing free transport to and from school. At a minimum this covers pupils travelling more than 2 miles (for those under 8 years of age), pupils travelling more than 3 miles (for those aged 8 or over) and those unable to walk to school due to their Special Educational Needs.

Extended Rights to Free Home to School Transport

There is an additional entitlement to free travel for children from low income families (that is those entitled to free school meals or whose parents receive the maximum working tax credit). Local authorities were allocated around £38 million in 2013-14 to provide this transport.

Care to Learn

Care to Learn provides support with the cost of childcare and associated travel costs to ensure these do not prevent young parents (under the age of 20) from participating in education. Care to Learn supports around 6,500 young parents every year.

16-19 bursary

The bursary provides support for those aged 16-19 participating in education or training who face additional barriers to staying in education. The most vulnerable young people may be entitled to a bursary of at least £1,200 per year while discretionary bursaries are provided at the discretion of education providers.

Discretionary learner support

Those aged 19 or over and facing financial hardship could be eligible for support through the discretionary learner fund. This includes support for the cost of travel (e.g. through the provision of travel passes or reimbursing the cost of fuel).

4. Support for the unemployed

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

This is provided to those unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s). Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim and if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets.

Flexible support fund

May be used at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus staff to help with the cost of travelling to an interview, training or for the first months of travelling to work.

Further information on the support available for the unemployed can be found in your local Jobcentre Plus office. See more details on how to contact your local Jobcentre Plus office

Commute mode share reflects how well infrastructure, policies, investments, and land-use patterns support different types of travel to work. Commute patterns are directly tied to the economy (where jobs are located within a region relative to housing). Commute mode share is linked to environmental conditions and contributing factors that affect health outcomes, such as air pollutant emissions, which vary by transportation mode. Motor vehicle emissions contribute nearly a quarter of world energy-related greenhouse gases. Reducing motor vehicle use and increasing active transportation are ways to mitigate harmful environmental impacts caused by a large amount of vehicle use (Xia et al., 2013).

Traveler safety is also an issue related to commuting, and long commutes in motor vehicles (i.e., cars and trucks) are linked to physical inactivity and associated health problems (Ewing, Schieber, Zegeer, 2003). Conversely, active commute modes are a potential source of health-enhancing physical activity. Additionally, pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic fatalities decrease in more compact communities, suggesting that shorter commutes are safer for commuters in all modes.

It is important to also consider other influences when connecting various health outcomes to modes of travel. These factors include food choices, sedentary hobbies, stress, unemployment rates, and regional culture, and may have impacts on obesity and diabetes (Price and Godwin, 2012).

The information gleaned from commute mode share data can inform decisions about Complete Streets policies and infrastructure investments for street connectivity, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks. Commute mode share can be a useful way for transportation decision makers to measure the success of such investments or policies over time. Changes in commute mode choice, for example, have occurred in areas where bicycling facilities have been added, suggesting that changes to the built environment might lead to changes in travel behavior (Pucher, Dill, Handy, 2010).

Ewing R, Kreutzer R. Understanding the Relationship Between Public Health and the Built Environment: A Report Prepared for the LEED-ND Core Committee 2006.

Ewing R, Schieber RA, Zegeer CV . Urban sprawl as a risk factor in motor vehicle occupant and pedestrian fatalities. American Journal of Public Health 2003;93:1541-5.

Federal Highway Administration. Summary of Travel Trends: 2009 National Household Travel Survey. FHWA-PL-11-022.​

Pisarski A. Commuting in America III: The Third National Report on Commuting Patterns and Trends; 2006.

Price A. Godwin A. Mapping Transportation and Health in the United States; 2012.

Pucher J, Dill J, Handy S. Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: an international review. Preventive medicine 2010;50:S106-S125.

Xia T, Zhang Y, Crabb S, Shah P. Cobenefits of Replacing Car Trips with Alternative Transportation: A Review of Evidence and Methodological Issues. Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2013(Article ID 797312).

* Indicates research that supports policies analyzed

† Indicates research that supports equity or vulnerable populations studied

This calculator can estimate fuel cost according to the distance of a trip, the fuel efficiency of the car, and the price of gas using various units.

The price of gas may go up or down, but it’s always a major expense for most drivers. The average American driver spends about $3,000 per year on gas, according to the American Automobile Association. Some of the practical ways to reduce fuel costs are listed below.

Use public transportation

Walking or biking does not consume fuel, and as such does not accumulate fuel cost. In most cases, public transport alternatives to cars such as buses, trains, and trolleys are viable options of reducing fuel costs. Due to the communal nature of ride sharing, the fuel costs of operating public transport are generally less than the fuel costs associated with each individual operating their own vehicle. In some places, public transport is free. Considering the costs associated with owning or renting a car creates even more incentive to use other modes of transportation.


Also known as car sharing, carpooling is the arrangement between two or more people to travel to a shared destination in a single vehicle. Although a heavier car consumes slightly more fuel, it is usually much more efficient than two people driving separate cars towards the same destination.

Use a more fuel efficient vehicle

Driving a smaller car makes a great difference – the fuel cost is about half for a small sedan than for a very large SUV. Similarly, drive with a less powerful engine than you need. Don’t pay for an eight-cylinder engine when four cylinders work just fine. Unless you’re hauling heavy loads on a routine basis, the extra cost of a bigger engine results in more money spent on gasoline.

Tune the engine

A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency. But tuning the car engine is often done to increase horsepower – that’s not the way to save on fuel. Make sure the tuner gets the message.

Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent – this amount will vary depending on the nature of the repair.

Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

Placing ornaments and ground effects, aerodynamics kits, and airfoils, such as deck-lid spoilers, may make you feel good, but they also increase the car’s drag and make it require more fuel. Such accessories offer no real handling enhancements, although they may look nice on your car. Also, place signs or cargo on the roof so that the object angles forward. This will reduce the frontal area of the object, and it will cause less drag, and cause you to use less fuel.

Adjust tires

Make sure the tires are inflated to the right levels. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3 percent. Your tires also lose about 1 PSI per month, and when the tires are cold (e.g., in the winter), their pressure will decrease due to the thermal contraction of the air. It is recommended to check tires at least monthly, preferably weekly. Having properly inflated tires will also help you avoid uneven wear on the tread.

Gas stations don’t always have accurate equipment for this purpose. Sometimes gas stations use automatic air compressors that stop at a pre-determined level. To make sure you inflate to the right level, double-check pressure with your own gauge.

Recommended inflation pressures are for cold tires; put about 3 PSI more in if the tires have been driven on a while. Inflate to the pressure recommended by the car manufacturer, not to the level stamped on the tire.

Use the correct motor oil

Gas mileage will improve by 1 percent to 2 percent if you use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can reduce your gas mileage by a considerable amount. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1 percent to 2 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Plan trip carefully

There is no more obvious way to save gas than to drive a shorter distance.

Plan your route carefully. With today’s GPS route planners, it’s easy to calculate a straight route with the fewest stops and diversions. It is also possible to judge which route will have the least traffic. Take highways instead of local routes or city streets when possible – the steady speed maximizes fuel efficiency.

When driving in a city, try to park in a central location, and then walk from one appointment to another, or take public transportation. Ragged stop-and-go city driving is terrible for your gas mileage. This also saves the high level of gas used in parking and pulling out in a parking lot.

Factors that determine the fuel price

Government intervention

Governments may intervene in gasoline (referred to as petrol in some parts of the world) markets by taxation, which may raise prices for consumers within or outside the governmental territory. Similarly, certain industries may receive financial support from the government to promote commercial enterprise (a subsidy). Generally, subsidized products or services can be sold at lower prices.

Financial markets

The global oil price fluctuates constantly. The key crudes quoted are Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) in the unit of US$ per barrel. The retail fuel price is closely related to the global oil price fluctuation.


Political elements such as structure, regime, personnel, and events can all affect the cost of fuel. For instance, a change from a political leader who doesn’t believe in climate change to one who does may be less likely to subsidize, or reduce the cost of fuel to consumers. Political relationships between countries are also a factor; nations can go to war over resources, or form alliances in order to trade, both of which can affect the cost of fuel.

Geographic area

Certain geographical areas or countries in the world have an abundance of oil, while others do not have a single drop. Regional consumers within close proximity of high supplies of oil are more likely to have lower costs of fuel due to ease of access. Areas without their own supply of oil that are isolated from the rest of the world (such as islands in the Pacific) can find fuel to be relatively expensive.

Natural disaster or weather

Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, major floods, and other such nature-related phenomena can affect the production, manufacturing, and logistics of gasoline, which can possibly affect the price of fuel. For instance, a snowstorm may close certain roads, disallowing the transportation of the resource and driving up fuel costs in these areas. Hurricanes or earthquakes can damage oil refineries, abruptly halting production, which can also eventually increase fuel costs.

How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

Transportation costs can be a significant part of a company’s overall logistics spending. With increases in the price of fuel, the proportion allocated to transportation can be upward of 50 percent. This cost is passed on to the customer and the price of goods continues to rise.

Consider a number of transportation strategies that can be used by management to help reduce costs.

Fewer Carriers

In the same way that the purchasing department streamlines vendors to gain better prices with higher volume, the transportation manager should adopt the same strategy when it comes to the number of carriers used.

A transport manager spends time finding the best carrier at the best price, but sometimes that leads to a large number of carriers being used, albeit giving excellent service. The multiple carrier approach occurs when the transport manager has negotiated the best deal for each route but has not looked at the big picture.

By reducing the number of carriers, the amount of work offered to the remaining carriers will increase. By offering vendors a larger volume of work, the carrier should be able to offer lower rates across all routes. It may be the case that on some routes the rate is not as good as was negotiated with another carrier, but overall the rates across all routes should be lower.

As carriers are offered more work, theoretically the negotiated rates should fall even more as the carrier wants to retain the routes they have and increase the volume of work they are receiving.

Of course, with any strategy, there is also a downside. The risk associated with only using a small number of carriers is that a company can become very dependent on those carriers.

If a company uses five carriers fairly equally and one of those carriers goes out of business, the company would quickly have to find carriers to allocate those routes. Otherwise, delivery delays could cause financial consequences with customers not receiving their deliveries and a drop in customer satisfaction which could lead to fewer orders in the future.

Consolidating Shipments

If a company uses carriers for its deliveries, the rate it pays is negotiated by trip based on weight, distance, and other variables.

One strategy that can be used by transportation managers is to consolidate shipments so that fewer trips are made, and the company reaps the benefit of lower rates based on larger shipments.

Consolidating shipments means that transportation managers will be moving away from less than truckload (LTL) shipments to truckload (TL) shipments. This is not always possible, but given that discounts for larger shipments are almost always available, the transportation manager should be looking at this strategy to reduce costs.

Single Sourcing

Some companies believe the best-negotiated prices can be achieved when they use a single source for all their transportation. This is fairly common for purchasing departments to use a single source for a range of products that a single vendor can provide.

The same can be achieved for transportation. By offering all transportation out to bid, via a request for quotation (RFQ), a company can provide carriers with a detailed explanation of what it requires, which may fall outside of what is normally provided by a common carrier.

If it wanted to use a single source, a company would have to thoroughly evaluate a bidder’s ability to provide the service and whether the carrier has the stability not fall into bankruptcy within the timeline of the contract. If the winning bidder fulfills the needs of the company and has been fully evaluated, a company could gain significant transportation savings using a single carrier.

The logistics and transportation industry in the United States is highly competitive. By investing in this sector, multinational firms position themselves to better facilitate the flow of goods throughout the world's largest consumer market. International and domestic companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs. United States Business Logistics Costs reached $1.6 trillion in 2018 (8 percent of GDP that year). In 2018, foreign direct investment in the industry totaled $1.5 billion.

Analysts expect investment to correlate with sector-specific growth in the U.S. economy. America's highly integrated supply chain network links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport. To serve customers efficiently, multinational and domestic firms provide tailored logistics and transportation solutions to ensure coordinated goods movement from origin to end user through each supply chain network segment.

FDI Fact Sheet

Industry Subsectors

Logistics services: This subsector includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.

Air and express delivery services (EDS): Firms offer expedited, time-sensitive, and end-to-end services for documents, small parcels, and high-value items. An $87 billion industry in the United States, EDS firms also provide the export infrastructure for many exporters, particularly small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to operate their own supply chain. Recent EDS industry growth has been generated by the expansion of electronic commerce use by businesses and consumers.

Freight rail: High volumes of heavy cargo and products are transported long distances throughout the United States via rail network. Each day, this 140,000-mile system delivers an average of 5 million tons of goods and serves nearly every industrial, wholesale, retail, and resource-based sector of the economy. In 2017, Freight rail moves more than 70 percent of the nation's coal, about 58 percent of its raw metal ores, 1.6 million carloads of wheat, corn, and other agricultural products, and 13.7 million intermodal containers and trailers that transport consumer goods.

Maritime: This subsector includes carriers, seaports, terminals, and labor involved in the movement of cargo and passengers by water. Water transportation moves nearly 70 percent of all U.S. international merchandise trade, including 72 percent of U.S. exports by tonnage.

Trucking: Over-the-road transportation of cargo is provided by motor vehicles over short and medium distances. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucking revenues were $700 billion in 2017. That year, trucks moved almost 11 billion tons of freight.

Transportation to doctor appointments is not generally covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). However, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover transportation to doctor appointments.

You may also be able to get non-Medicare transportation to doctor appointments through various organizations, such as your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

Does Original Medicare cover Transportation for Medical Reasons?

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) generally does not cover transportation to get routine health care. However, it may cover non-emergency ambulance transportation to and from a health-care provider. You need to have a health condition diagnosed or treated and other forms of transportation could endanger your health. Your doctor must provide a written order verifying that ambulance transportation is medically necessary because of your health condition.

Medicaid may cover your ride to a doctor appointment if:

  • You don’t have a working vehicle or a driver’s license.
  • It’s not safe for you to drive or wait for a ride to a doctor appointment because of a health condition, physical disability, or mental disability.
  • You have no other reasonable means of getting to the doctor.

If your ride to a doctor appointment qualifies, Medicaid-covered transportation could include:

  • Car
  • Van or carpool
  • Bus
  • Subway
  • Taxi

It’s up to each Medicaid program to decide the most appropriate means of transportation for your ride to a doctor appointment. Keep in mind that Medicaid programs are state-run, and each state has its own criteria for medical transportation coverage.

If you use an ambulance company based in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina, you may be affected by prior authorization rules if you need non-emergency, scheduled, medically necessary ambulance services 1) three or more times over a 10-day period or 2) at least once a week for three or more weeks. To find out if these rules affect you, contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 (TTY users, dial 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What non-Medicare transportation options might be available?

For beneficiaries who do not qualify for non-emergency ambulance transportation, there may be non-Medicare transportation services available in their immediate area through local organizations. For instance, your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) may be able to help you find transportation to and from your health-care provider. To locate a State and/or Area Agency on Aging, you can use the SUA/AAA Finder on the organization’s website.

If you’re looking for a ride to a doctor appointment, visit for more information on senior transportation services in your city. You can also contact your local Area Agency on Aging if you need a ride to a doctor appointment and need help finding resources where you live.

If you are eligible for Medicaid or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), these organizations may also provide transportation for routine medical care. Visit or for more information.

As of 2020, Medicare Advantage plans are authorized to offer innovation benefits, including

Medicare transportation to doctor’s appointments. Medicare Advantage is another way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through a private insurance company approved by Medicare.

To find a Medicare Advantage plan that may cover Medicare transportation, enter your zip code on this page.

Medicare information is everywhere. What is hard is knowing which information to trust. Because eHealth’s Medicare related content is compliant with CMS regulations, you can rest assured you’re getting accurate information so you can make the right decisions for your coverage. Read more to learn about our Compliance Program.

You put a dollar value on the card and pay $2.75 at the beginning of each trip. The minimum balance for new cards is $5.50, the cost of two swipes.

You can combine time and value on the same MetroCard. Time will always be used first. Value will become available the time on your card runs out. PATH, AirTrain, and Express buses will always deduct from the value on your card.

Cost: $33 (7-day) or $127 (30-day).

You have unlimited swipes on the subway and local buses for either 7 or 30 days.

Your MetroCard can only hold one Unlimited Ride refill at a time. You can’t pause an unlimited ride card once you’ve started using it.

You can combine time and value on the same MetroCard. Time will always be used first. Value will become available the time on your card runs out. PATH, AirTrain, and Express buses will always deduct from the value on your card.

Cost: $62.

You have unlimited swipes on express buses, local buses, and the subway for 7 days.

Your MetroCard can only hold one Unlimited Ride refill at a time. You can’t pause an unlimited ride card once you’ve started using it.

Cost: $3.

These are only available at ticket machines. They aren’t refillable. These are useful if you don’t want to put the $5.50 minimum on a pay-per-ride card.

You cannot transfer between the subway and the bus with this fare. If you’re transferring between buses, ask the driver for a paper transfer when you board the first bus.

Schools distribute MetroCards that let eligible students get to and from school and school-related activities. As with regular MetroCards, Student MetroCards allow for a free transfer between the subway and local/limited/Select Bus services, or a free transfer between buses

You can use your card for three rides each school day, between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Student MetroCards are good for one semester.

Cost: 50% of the base fare.

Riders who are 65 or older and riders with qualifying disabilities can apply for a reduced fare card.

There is also an EasyPay Reduced Fare option for automatic refills.

Cost: $40.

These are good for unlimited JFK-AirTrain trips until midnight, 30 days from first use.

Your MetroCard can only hold one Unlimited Ride refill at a time. You can’t pause an unlimited ride card once you’ve started using it.

Cost: $25.

These are good for 10 JFK AirTrain trips until midnight, 30 days from first use.

You can buy these only at MetroCard Vending Machines in Howard Beach and Jamaica Air Train stations.

The AAR MetroCard gives Paratransit customers four free trips a day using the subways, local buses, Select Bus Service (SBS), and Staten Island Railway (SIR).

A day is a 24-hour calendar day, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Like any other MetroCard, you get an automatic free transfer between the subway and a local bus route, SIR and a local bus, or between two local bus routes.

How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

How transfers work

Transfers with a MetroCard

Transfers get encoded on your card when you swipe it. Make sure to use the same MetroCard when you’re transferring so you’re not charged twice.

  • With a pay-per-ride card: You get one free transfer within two hours of swiping your MetroCard. You can transfer from subway to bus, bus to subway, or bus to bus. Note: You can’t transfer to an express bus unless you have a 7-Day Unlimited Express Bus Plus MetroCard.
    • With pay-per-ride for multiple people: Swipe the same MetroCard once and the turnstile will let everyone through.

    Transfers with OMNY

    • You get one free transfer within two hours of tapping your card or device.
    • Use the same card or device throughout your trip. Your transfer will be recorded automatically.

    About paratransit fares

    Access-A-Ride is our paratransit service. The fare for any transportation is $2.75.


    Jim Cooper and Jonathan Corcoran

    Queensland Centre for Population Research, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.


    The journey to work is a daily reality for many Australians with important social, economic and environmental consequences. The Australian Census of Population and Housing is the main source of data on the journey to work in Australia. The journey to work is captured by an individual’s location of usual residence, their location of workplace along with the method by which they commuted. For the first time, 2016 Census data has been released with the distance travelled to work, enabling further analysis on this topic to be performed. See Commuting Distance for Australia for more information. This article focuses on the application of Census data to understand the characteristics of the journey to work in Australia. The Census provides a rich source of information on commuting patterns and helps us understand how these patterns differ by mode of travel, gender, occupation as well as their variation across our capital cities and other regions.


    In Australia 9.2 million people were recorded as commuting to work on Census day, on average travelling 16.5 kilometres (km) to reach their workplace. This figure compares to estimates of 10.9 km in New Zealand 1 , 15.0 km in England and Wales 2 and 12.0 km in The Netherlands 3 . For this article, average distance has been calculated using the distance variable available in TableBuilder and employed in the ABS article Commuting Distance for Australia, but only those persons who travelled to work on Census day have been included in the calculation.

    We observe important differences in the distance of this commute across cities, regional and remote areas, reflecting variations in the form and structure of our settlements. That is, how they are geographically organised in terms of land use and transportation infrastructure, along with their physical extent. Table 1 highlights these variations across the country, showing the shorter commutes in the small capitals of Greater Darwin (13.1 km), Greater Adelaide (13.5 km), Greater Hobart (13.8 km) and the Australian Capital Territory (14.4 km) and longer journey to work trips in regional and remote areas, in particular this is the case for the Rest of WA (20.7 km). Commuting distance can be calculated in several ways. For a more detailed discussion of commuting distance and how these calculations have been made, see: Commuting Distance for Australia.


    For 60% of employed Australians, work was reported to be in the same labour market region (Statistical Area 4 – SA4) as their residence. The proportion of individuals living and working in the same labour market region is referred to as the level of self-containment and is seen as a positive characteristic reflecting a balance between jobs and dwellings in an area. It also holds important environmental consequences in its capacity to increase the likelihood of transport to work via methods other than private cars, given distances between home and work are probably shorter. Despite the shorter distances, car use may be the only viable commuting option unless appropriate public transport is available between nearby areas, rather than focussed on the city centre. Figure 1 reveals the regional variations in self-containment across the country, highlighting the extent to which the larger size of SA4s in rural and remote regions (in particular the remote areas of both the NT and WA) contributes to higher rates of self-containment than in the major urban areas. In the capital cities, the concentration of jobs in the CBDs is reflected in lower self-containment rates for the surrounding SA4s.


    Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

    Table 2 shows that the proportion of workers who live and work in the same SA4 has decreased since 2011 for most Australian cities. Adelaide, the Australian Capital Territory and Sydney report the three largest declines in self-containment with Darwin returning a small increase. In Sydney the lowest rate of self-containment occurs in Sydney-Inner West, with just 26% living and working in the same SA4. For Melbourne, the lowest rate is in Melbourne – Inner East (35%). Comparatively low rates of self-containment are also found in Brisbane – West (31%), Adelaide – West (49%) and Perth – North East (41%).

    Whether by land or by sea, eighteenth century colonial travel was arduous, expensive, and many times dangerous. Because of this, many few people traveled very far from their homes – a striking difference from the world of today, where a trip across the ocean takes only a few hours, compared to a voyage of several months in Colonial times.

    How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

    Who Could Travel

    In those days, it was fairly expensive to travel. Because of this, generally only government officials, merchants, and planters took the risk. They had to make trips for business or for official duty – but they were among the select few who could afford it.

    Also, it was the men who did the traveling. Women, for the most part, were expected to stay home and look after the children and to tend to their husband’s affairs in his absence.

    African-American slaves were also not allowed to travel in many parts of the country without permission or the accompaniment of their masters. If any were caught without a written pass signed by their masters, they were assumed to be runaways.

    How They Traveled

    By Land

    Although there weren’t motor vehicles, airplanes, or even steam technology at the time, there were various modes of transportation available to the Colonists. The most common mode, and the cheapest, was walking. People would travel by foot for extraordinary distances to get supplies or visit friends and family. The lower classes rarely, if ever, travelled for pleasure.

    Another popular means of travel, especially in the southern colonies, was by horseback. Because of the ease of transport horses afforded, many colonists bought a horse as soon as they could afford its maintenance. The price of a horse ranged from £5 – £1000, depending on breeding, speed, and ability. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson frequently would enjoy long rides in their Virginia country estates, and riding became as much as a source of leisure as it would be an essential means of transport.

    How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

    Many people, who could afford it, had a wheeled vehicle at their disposal as well. Farmers, especially, used carts and wagons for work around the farm and to cart supplies into town for sale or trade. The Conestoga Wagon (shown above) was used to transport large amounts of materials over long distances. The wagon was named after the Conestoga River near what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was the earliest American form of the Covered Wagon, which early pioneers would use to settle the area west of the Appalachian Mountains.

    By Sea

    Although the colonists had made many technological advancements in transportation since the arrival of the Mayflower in the early seventeenth century, transcontinental journeys were still treacherous and time consuming. Ships traveling across the Atlantic took at least six to eight weeks, sometimes longer depending on weather conditions.

    How to find people to travel with and share transport costs

    Some of the threats early seafarers faced, apart from cabin fever in cramped quarters, were disease, shipwreck, and piracy. If they managed to avoid these, many of the passengers dealt with chronic seasickness, and the perpetual rocking of the ship kept them bedridden throughout their voyage.

    Because the journey took such a long time, visitors to different countries would stay for months, sometimes even years. It was a very different world than the one that exists now, but it’s thanks to the extraordinary bravery of these men and women who made these difficult journeys that America is the thriving nation it is today.

    Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License 3.0