What percentage of car trips are under 5 miles?


I am trying to find out what percentage of car trips (such as for shopping, running errands, etc) are under 5 miles in length. I’m not interested in commute times but any general metrics on either average distances traveled by cars or what percentage of car trips fall under 1,5, 10 miles, etc. Any info or sources for find this info would be great. Thanks!


Well, none of my trips are, cause I commute 30 miles each way. And that’s it. So, for me, it’s 0% are under 5 miles.

For what it’s worth, cars travel, on average, about 20,000 miles a year. How that helps I don’t know, but there it is.


Help me out with the math. Each week I drive 7 miles to the shopping district. Then I make 8 short hops to stores, the bank, PO, and library. After that I drive home. So is this 8+2? 1+1? Am I expected to also include the longer trips taken the rest of the week? How do you want this figured so we are all consistent?


I can’t think of a possible survey that would get you a really accurate figure for this. Most volunteer surveys are severely flawed by the fact that they only give you a picture of the type of people who volunteer for the survey. Also, people are notorious for underestimating or overestimating their habits. Unless all cars become equipped with a GPS transponder to report when an where people drive to a central agency somewhere, we will probably never know for sure.


The AAA (American Automobile Association puts out travel figures, and such. Maybe, they, or a government agency, collect such information. The national average for mileage driven is about 13,000 miles per year.


For example, I came across a site that said “More than half of commute trips, and three out of four shopping trips, are under five miles in length…” “Forty percent of all trips are under two miles.” I found this on the California EPA site. I’m trying to find other sources of similar information, but I want to make sure these are indeed pretty accurate numbers.


Keep a log and figure it out for yourself. If you do that, it will even help you see how you might combine trips to saeve fuel.


I would keep a log but it would take a while to get anything statistically meaningful…I ride my bike most of the time.


I think you average is seriously high. I think the average car travels about 12 to 15 thousand miles per year. Where are you getting the 20 thousand figure?


Driving patterns are highly personal. My neighbor is retired; nearly all his trips are 5 miles or less.

As mentioned, buy yourself a $1.25 spiral booklet from Wal-Mart, and by reading the odometer, record all your trips. Then count all the trips less tan 5 miles, and those over 5 miles. Divide the trips under 5 miles by the total, that gives you the % of trips under 5 miles.

If you want the AVERAGE length of trip, divide the total distance travelled over the study period by the number of trips. You cannot use averages to calculate the distribution of trip lenth; you do that by keeping track of your trips as described above.

As for published statistics, they may not be useful for you, since your driving pattern is highly unusual for an American.

There are few statistics avaliable, but in 2001, 60% of trips to or from work were less than 15 miles to work, and only 13 % of drivers reported more. The rest, 27%, presumably did not work. They would be the ones making short trips.

I’m not sure why you want this info, but rest assured, car manufacturers are aware of the short trip, “Aunt Minnie” driving pattern, which requires more frequent oil changes.


I must have been thinking 20,000 kilometers, which is about 12,500 miles.


Every single day my “cummute” tops out at 1 mile to work. I can walk it in 12 minutes if there’s no train. My wife’s commute is 3 miles one way. Yhe WallMart…1 mile west. etc.etc.etc.


Mine are about 1% under 5 miles.

My guess is that a study would show the number varying widely between different areas. Metropolitan areas such as the regions around Boston, LA, SF, Chicago, Miami, and the like would probably show a very high percentage of low mileage driving. Rural areas would probably show a very low percentage, especially in the farm belts. I’m just guessing, of course. You’d probably have a multimodal curve.


I used to be 4.5 miles from work. I moved and now I am 6 miles from work. Since my commute is %95 going back and forth to work then you do the math.


I’m trying to get some relatively average stats on this because I’m interested in city planning and alternative modes of transportation, especially for the shorter trips that “may” not be necessary (if the infrastructure was/were available). I understand these numbers can vary widely and will based on all sorts of factors. Maybe I should instead be asking about the mean, not average.


Unless you live in a large city most trips for anything requires a drive in excess of 5 miles. I can’t imagine anyone that lives within 5 miles of all their “needs.”


Do you (and your wife) typically walk or bike or still hop in the car every couple days?


That’s why I’m trying to find an ‘average’. There are always exceptions.


Most people I know who work have daily commutes in excess of 5 miles. Those that don’t work, nealy all trips are less than 5 miles, since supermarkets, librayry, etc. are all less than 5 miles. In other words, without good rapid transit, most Noth American workers commute more than 5 miles; they would commute less than 5 miles if they could park at the train station and take the rapid transit into town.


I must admit, we “car” every day and yet I know better…:frowning: