From July to September 2010, we ran a paper-based travel survey sampling daily travel by visitors staying at caravan sites and self-catering cottages within a 15 mile radius of Brecon. The aim of the survey was to discover what proportion of visitor car journeys could (in principle) be accommodated by a 2 seater b-bug with a range of 30 miles.
We received 109 completed surveys recording 402 individual trips.
The majority of visitors came from Southern England and the median round trip from home was 322 miles.
From a b-bug perspective, the most relevant findings were as follows:-
1. The commonest party size (46%) was 2 people. This is good news for us as the b-bug can only accommodate 2 people!
2. 92% of the 402 trips were taken by car and the visitors did a far higher car mileage during their stay than we had anticipated. Although some visitors did as little as 25 car miles in a week’s stay, others did over 600 miles! One party managed 600 miles in one day! The median (for those staying in holiday cottages) was 318 miles in a week – i.e. almost exactly equal to their round trip mileage from home and significantly higher than the national average for car mileage in a week (230 miles).
We had thought that the b-bug was not going to be tackling the major carbon footprint for visitors, i.e. their car journey from home. As it now appears, the carbon impact is just as high during their stay and that’s where b-bugs can make an impact.
Maybe the b-bug might encourage people to enjoy exploring more locally given that it’s a fun experience in its own right and particularly enjoyable on the narrow country lanes which criss cross this area.
3. But the challenge is that the visitors are very car-centric – the majority used their cars every day with a median trip length of 15 miles. Even those who were visiting here for the many outdoor activities still typically drove 14 miles to engage in those activities. They also drove to the local shops or a pub only 1 mile away from where they were staying. Although many enjoyed walking and cycling, they engaged in these as leisure activities rather than ever using them to replace a local car journey to the shops or pub, for example.
The b-bug offers an interesting outdoor alternative to those local trips to the shops or pub and, hopefully, could start to break the ingrained habit of always taking the car. When people are on holiday and not time stressed, we hope they are more open to experiment with new (and more sustainable) ways of doing things.
4. But how many of the 402 recorded trips could, in principle have been completed by a b-bug? The answer was 37% but clearly, offering charging at some destinations (as we are currently planning) increases this number.
You can access the complete survey report here: b-bug Visitor Travel Report
We would like to thank the following for their help with the 2010 visitor survey. We hope they will reap due benefit when the b-bugs arrive next summer. -
The Brecon Beacons Sustainable Development Fund for part funding.
Glasu – Wild and Green Tourism for part funding.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Sustainable Tourism for their helpful collaboration.