transport & environment

Understanding Society explores how, why and when we travel and whether our environmental behaviour and intentions match up. 

Our environmental and transport behaviours can be influenced by a number of factors. Our home life, whether we're in employment, our wellbeing and the time we have available all impact on transport and environmental choices. Understanding Society helps researchers to investigate the links between these areas.

Professor Peter Lynn

Champion for Environment

View profile
Peter Lynn

What data do Understanding Society collect?

Understanding Society is a study of people within their household context. We interview all members of the household over the age of ten and re-interview them annually, as the Study is longitudinal. A sub-set of the Understanding Society sample can be traced back to 1991 using the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). This design means we collect information which captures the interactions between people and their households with transport and environment behaviours; changing household circumstances, personal and household actions and evolving beliefs.

We ask children and adults regularly about their environmental behaviours and beliefs. Each year we ask households about their private transport and we regularly ask employees about their commutes to work. 

Tackling spatial disparities: geographical mobility and commuting

Watch the discussion event hosted by Understanding Society and Centre for Cities


Changing transport use

Dr Kiron Chatterjee talks about his research on how transport use changes over people's lives.


Blog: Biology and being 'green'

Dr Chris Hand explores why some of us take action on the environment, and some of us don't. 

Questionnaire grid

Find out more about the key topic areas available in the questionnaire that focus on the environment and transport.

Latest News

Photo of help button on pc

New online User Guide

We've expanded and refreshed the User Guide for the Understanding Society main survey. 


Latest Case Study


Contact our User Support Forum if you need help using the data or have a question for the Study team

Support forum