Bad news for the airlines: Today's road warriors appear to prefer the road. Confirming perceptions that the hassles of air travel in a post-9/11 world are driving business travelers to the nation's highways, a new report shows that 16 percent of U.S. trips of more than 50 miles from home are business trips, and that on 80 percent of those trips, execs would rather be behind the wheel than behind the drop-down tray table.
According to America on the Go … U.S. Business Travel, the latest National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) shows that business travelers make more than 405 million long-distance business trips each year in the United States. Four out of five business trips are taken by automobile. Almost three out of four business trips are less than 250 miles and only one out of 14 business trips extends more than 1,000 miles.
The report, a joint project of the BTS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), also found that 81 percent of long-distance business trips in the United States are made by personal vehicle; that the average one-way distance for a business trip is 123 miles, which is longer than any other type of trip; and that air travel accounts for just 16 percent of all business travel.
In addition to determining the types of trips, their lengths and their purpose, the report developed a profile of the typical business traveler. According to that profile, the average traveler is:
The NHTS, conducted in 2001 and 2002, gives a picture of travel in the United States at the start of the 21st century. Combining new long-distance travel information with short-distance data released in 2003, it offers information on who travels, why they travel, where they travel and how they travel. For the complete findings of the survey, which was conducted among 26,000 households across the nation and for which 60,000 people were interviewed, visit www.bts.gov.