May 29, 2023

LNER survey shows perception problem for rail

Fewer than one in 10 people recognise how much better rail is for the environment when compared to aviation and car travel, new research has revealed.

A survey commissioned by LNER and undertaken by OnePoll asked 2,000 people in London and Edinburgh what they thought would be the best for price, environmental impact, speed and reliability when travelling between the two cities.

It asked respondents to imagine they were travelling alone, in four weeks, with luggage and between city centres, meaning they would need to use connecting transport for a flight.

According to LNER, an Azuma train emits 97% fewer emissions than a typical aircraft used on domestic routes yet less than 10% of people who responded were able to identify the extent to which this was the case.

The results, independently analysed by Steer, found that 75% of people were also unaware that rail travel was the cheapest option when compared to aviation and car travel.

The average price of air travel and the connecting transport to and from the city centres was found to be £105, compared to an LNER service that, on average, was only £72 when booked four weeks in advance.

Car travel, despite 49% believing it to be the cheapest, averages £86 a journey.

David Horne, Managing Director of LNER, said: “This is important research for guiding how we can all encourage more people to choose rail, the most environmentally responsible way to travel.

“The rail industry certainly has more to do to make people aware of the reality, but this is also a job for wider society too, to help the UK reach its net zero targets.

“We hope that by promoting the reality of rail travel we can encourage more people to choose and think rail. By doing so, we will reduce our carbon footprint and collectively make a real difference as we all strive to reach net zero.”

Mike Goggin, Managing Director at Steer, said: “This comparison between the three main modes of domestic transport shows a clear gap between potential customers’ perception of travel between London and Edinburgh and the reality.

“It demonstrates that the consumer does not have a good understanding of how well rail performs in terms of price, journey time and reliability, and while there is some recognition that LNER clearly performs best in terms of carbon emissions, most are not aware of the magnitude of the difference. A better understanding will help improve modal shift and a reduction in overall emissions from transport.”