Evolution of Travel over 50 Years


Consider how you travel and what transportation you use today. Do you think if you were at the same stage of life as you are now, 50 years ago, it would be much different? A recent study suggests that while some things would change radically a lot would remain the same. 


The study has shown that one of the biggest things to change in 50 years is the distance we are traveling. People now travel much further than they used to. This is clearly thanks to the increased affordability of the car. Fifty years ago only the wealthy could afford their own car and most people relied on public transport to get from A to B. Today the majority of people can afford a car and use it often.

The affordability of plane travel is also a factor. The study shows that we are traveling further but not more often. When you consider holidays this makes sense. People still go on vacation during the same time of year but they are going to further corners of the world due to the advances in economic flying.


People are spending the same time traveling as they did before. While the form of transport has changed this has meant people are willing to go a little further but are not willing to travel for a longer period of time, generally. This was explained by psychologists when pointing out the needs of the masses. The majority of people are driven by their need for an income, to look after their family, to socialize and to provide food. These drivers can all be achieved close to home. This is why people don’t see the need to travel more today compared to 50 years ago. Our basic needs remain the same.


The mode of transport has clearly changed a lot in 50 years. We now use cars a lot more and busses and bike usage has fallen dramatically. Today walking still accounts for 22% of all trips made and 76% of all trips under one mile. Clearly walking is still of huge importance to people but legislation often neglects it.

Overall the study showed the importance of travel and transport in our lives as it takes up a huge amount of our time every day. One thing the study did not focus on was how we perceive transport over time. The rise of private transport has likely made it more comfortable for people but may have also increased stress levels for the average person. How do you feel about the changes to transport in the past 50 years? How do you think it will change 50 years from now?