I was fishing around for some data a few weeks' back (I can't remember why now) when I found this table linked from the 2014 National Travel Survey report for England.
The full table can be downloaded as a spreadsheet here (it's linked on p12 of the NTS, Table 0308) and I have shown the table in two parts with the first being trips per person by year and the second a cumulative percentage of trips under the given distances. This data is about the numbers of trips people make rather than mode share, so please don't confuse the two.
I don't know why there isn't UK data here, but I assume the devolved administrations have their own. I find the data interesting as it is a good summary of how people travel in terms of distance by mode. We need to be aware that this is about "main mode" and so other journey stages are not counted. In other words, someone being dropped off at the station by car is not counted, the rail journey is.
You can play with the data of course. Looking at the top part of the table, when we look at walking, we have 134 trips out of 175 trips under a mile made on foot which is 76%. Looking at the second table, 19% of trips are under 1 mile - I hope this makes sense. With private cars, looking at the top part of the table, we have 6+7 trips out of 175 made by car (as a driver or a passenger) which is 7% of all trips under a mile.
Looking at the bottom part of the table, in cumulative terms, 66% of trips are under 5 miles and this is very interesting as 5 miles is generally considered to be an easy distance to cycle at a reasonable pace, but not so vigorous as to need a shower (we're talking utility cycling here folks). For 2 to 5 miles (top section of the table), we have 7 out of 256 trips made by cycle (the table says 'bicycle' which sums up thinking here) which is 3% (I've rounded up). For car travel (driver or passenger) this is 128+70 out of 256 or 77%.
Surface rail has people making most trips at the 10 to 25 mile range and this is 8 out of 109 trips or 7%. 95% of all trips are under 25 miles.
The main document gives this as a little summary table as follows;
In walking terms, the sub-mile journeys are the easiest to make in terms of physical effort and I would argue that this is largely facilitates by the highway network having walking generally built in (regardless of quality). In addition, this type of trip will generally be a school journey or a trip to the local shops - remember this is not about commuting, this is about all trips. It also shows us that the highway network and access to private cars means that relatively short trips are dominated by the mode.
Think about 5 miles if you will in terms of your local town centre or place of work or anywhere you make day to day trips; are you aware how much of an area a 5 mile (or 8km) radius could cover? Let's look at four examples (Leicester, Brighton, Winchester and Stratford) where I have taken a point and drawn an 5 mile circle around (and I acknowledge Free Map Tools for help).
The maps starkly show how much space is covered by a 5 mile radius. The whole of the city of Leicester comfortably fits in the circle which means all trips to the city would be under 5 miles. Brighton is similarly catered for, notwithstanding the South Downs to the north which are on the steep side! Winchester is dwarfed by the circle and it shows a number of villages within. Stratford has a catchment which includes a colossal amount of people. I realise that if one lives on one side of town and is going to the other, the circle would have a different centre, but the point is many UK towns and cities will easily fit in the 5 mile circle.
My inevitable conclusion is the 2 to 5 mile distance is easily cyclable and with only 3% of people's annual journeys being made by cycle for that distance as opposed to 77% by car, it takes no leap of the imagination at all to realise that the either the car is too convenient or cycling conditions are too hostile. In fact, they are different sides of the same coin.
This data does rather dismantle the argument that from a mass movement of people point of view, very few people travel a long way for their day to day trips, yet we are investing in long-distance high-speed rail and motorway/ trunk road building. Longer journeys in terms of town and cities will invariably be for people travelling in from outside and so we maintain a level of big-road (and not-so big road) capacity for people driving into our communities which maintains all of the severance, pollution and danger issues we have.
Over this distance and in places like those shown above, we simply cannot provide more motor vehicle capacity unless were are seriously considering knocking down homes and businesses and it we did, it just enables people to come in from further afield. for some places, park and ride might be an option, but buses still take up road space and car parks are needed. If there is no advantage to using park and ride, people will still drive into town and this makes it politically difficult to reallocate road space.
In any case, all of this leads me to an inescapable conclusion. We should be investing in the 66% of trips which are 5 or less miles and we should be doing so by making it easy, comfortable and safe to do so by cycle. This means we have to take capacity away from the private motor car, but if we do it right, people will choose the easiest mode. We may be able to take pressure of the motor capacity which is left and in that case, we can set aside other space for buses and possibly freight. But, we are not going to be able to change anything by investing in long journeys.