The Commission sought to improve its understanding of the long run development of the transport sector in Britain through the curation of a historical transport dataset.
The Commission asked Dr Oliver Dunn of the University of Cambridge to look for, and curate, transport statistics that have to-date not been made accessible online. Dr Dunn uncovered data on railways, tramways and light rail, roads, vehicles in use, and civil aviation, reaching as far back as 1870. The study of historical data can provide valuable insights into the how our use of transport and related infrastructure has changed over time and can provide context to current transport statistics. The data covers England, Scotland, Wales and, in some early cases, Ireland. We have included more recent data to extend the historic time series to current times, where consistent data is available. All data on these pages, and more, is available to download via the button at the bottom of this page.
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How has the use of railways changed over time?
Data showing how railway infrastructure and our use of railways has changed between 1872 and 2019.View Data Set
How has road length changed over time?
Data showing the change in Britain’s total road length between 1922 and 2019. The total road length is the sum of all trunk roads, class I roads, class II roads and unclassified roads.View Data Set
Vehicles in Use
How many vehicles are in use?
Data showing the number of road vehicles, light rail and tramcars that were in use between 1904 and 1964.View Data Set
How has civil aviation changed over time?
Data showing the evolution of civil aviation between 1919 – the start of civil aviation in the UK – and 1938, through the lens of British airlines.View Data Set