The Future of the Commute

4 min read

The working world is constantly evolving, which means employers and their workforces are considering how the commute to and from work will change to match it. One of the key conversations is how costs will rise, especially around more common commuting methods like driving and public transport. According to Statista Consumer insights, driving is the most common form of transport for commutes for 61% of respondents, with public transport being the second most used at 28%.

With the average cost of petrol and diesel continuing to rise and issues with the reliability of public transport amidst industrial action and maintenance works, what will the future of the commute look like for workforces throughout the UK?

Driving – hybrid, electric, and more

While driving is a popular commuting method, plenty of changes will likely transform the landscape of motorways in the future. The most important is the UK government's plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to curb the amount of vehicles contributing to emissions on the road.

From this, we can predict that hybrid and electric cars will likely become more popular as more and more motorists move away from fossil fuel reliance. As demand increases for alternatively fuelled vehicles, accessibility of the vehicles and charging infrastructure will likely improve to meet said increase.

The used car market has also seen fluctuations in demand in recent years, and a ban on new fossil fuel cars being sold won’t mean that petrol and diesel as fuelling methods will disappear completely. This could result in the used car market seeing a skyrocketing interest amidst commuters needing to purchase vehicles.

For those not looking to get rid of their personal vehicle, one option that could become more prevalent among the workforce is organising more carsharing for commuting. This not only cuts down on emissions but also promotes a sense of community among colleagues by fostering new friendships across the teams.

Public transport

Although the UK lags behind other European countries in the use of public transport, increasing driving costs might lead to a surge in commuters using available services in major cities. As a result, public transport could become more popular than driving for commuting in the future.

Whether it’s buses, trams, or metro and underground services, the rise in popularity would, in turn, require more focus on funding from transport providers and operators to ensure that public transport runs more efficiently. According to a YouGov poll, 33% of respondents believe train fares are not good value for money, so ensuring cost-effective travel options is vital to improving its popularity.

Considering how unpredictable transport options can be, from punctuality to industrial action, solving these issues to meet increased demand will be pertinent.

Other options are sustainability, cycling, etc.

As prices continue to rise, many commuters may look to other methods of travel to make their journey to and from work align with their values. This includes finding more eco-friendly options to cut down on their contribution to carbon emissions that affect the environment.

One option that many might explore is cycling, particularly if a workplace offers a cycle to work scheme. More cities are investing time and funding into making infrastructure more road bike-friendly, such as improved bike lanes, making jumping into the saddle a more viable option for commuting to and from work.

Aside from cycling, another greener alternative for commuting could come from local governments investigating and investing in 15-minute cities. This is the concept that everything within local communities is accessible with only a 15-minute walk or bike ride away from their home. This requires a lot of commitment from local governments, but by making workplaces accessible within a short walk, it could revolutionise the commute for many workers and cut down on emissions by removing transport entirely.

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