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Do Americans Prefer Trains, Planes or Automobiles?

Monday May 20, 2019
Do Americans Prefer Trains, Planes or Automobiles?
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Do you get a familiar pang of dread anytime you have to go to an airport? You're not alone.

In fact, the average American would happily add six and a half hours onto their traveling time if it meant they could avoid the airport and road trip to their destination instead, according to new research.

The new statistic emerged in a study of 2,000 Americans which found that between planes, trains, and automobiles, Americans prefer traveling by plane least.

The new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ford, revealed that three in four (73 percent) Americans feel that road tripping is just simply a much more pleasant experience than flying.

Why? According to the study, Americans' biggest grievances with flying are the delays (55 percent), going through security (50 percent), the cramped seats (50 percent) and the inability to pack everything they'd like (44 percent).

But with road tripping, it's a different story. According to the study, scenic views topped the list (69 percent) with the freedom to stop whenever (69 percent) and pack whatever you want rounding out the top three (57 percent).

And road trips are coming back in style, too, as over half of Americans polled said they are planning on taking one this summer, with six in ten Americans (59 percent) saying they are planning on taking more road trips in the next five years than they did in the past five years.

Another 63 percent of Americans say they would actually look forward to a trip more if they were road tripping.

"Millennials came of age in a time when air travel was democratizing. They were known as the globe-trotting generation, but now we're seeing a shift. Many of them are choosing to stay closer to home, taking family road trips instead and reliving their childhood for their kids, something we call the #RoadTripRewind," said Sheryl Connelly, chief futurist for Ford Motor Company.

But road tripping is not without its potential drawbacks, and, according to the results, Americans would go on more trips if it weren't for a few crucial reasons.

Nearly half of the respondents (45 percent) say that road tripping is slightly out of their price range. Additionally, one in three (29 percent) are worried about bad weather conditions and one in five (20 percent) are concerned their kids would get restless during the long ride.

"Today's vehicles offer many of the creature comforts of home so this means road tripping is no longer an either/or proposition," adds Connelly. "The pastime of exploring the open road now comes with the option to stay digitally connected. You can optimize your route... and discover stops along the way with little effort, making the trip more enjoyable."

Spring 2019

This story is part of our special report titled "Spring 2019." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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