Where is cycling to work most common?
Each year for #cycletoworkday we take a look at cycling statistics across the country and try to map commuter data and find interesting trends. This is mainly because we at Beacon Dodsworth are either a little bit obsessed about cycling (I’m looking at you Toby Jarvis), or we tend to worry about the environment.
Looking past the usual suspects
Most cycling commute analysis comes to the same conclusions: Oxford and Cambridge have the highest percentage of cycle commuters. Our own home town of York usually comes in at a respectable 14%. At the other extreme, the countryside normally looks terrible, with a very low percentage of cycle commuters. As you would expect, cycling is more prevalent in urban areas, where a larger proportion of the population live closer to their place of employment and tend to be supported by dedicated cycling infrastructure. All this general analysis really underlines is those urban areas that don’t show up as cycling oases should work harder to encourage cycling.
How far away do you work?
This year we wanted to take a more well-rounded look at the problem, in a way that wouldn’t discriminate against rural areas or more sprawling cities. To start with, we looked at the last census to see what average commute distances were in any given postcode sector. The results surprised us, with an average commute across England of 16km - too far for most people to cycle, even if they were so inclined and supported by perfect health and a good cycle network (no, not you Toby!). We mapped this in our Prospex GIS to show trends across England. In most cases it shows the tiers of the commuter belt around major cities, but the borders, mid Wales, south east and west have very high average commute distances.
Cycling analysis where cycling is actually possible
To come up with a more informed analysis of cycle trends, we went back to the data and then looked at the percentage of cycle commuters out of those who travel less than 10km to work. The results seem to remove the urban bias to some extent and thankfully reduce the amount of red on the map. The map also shows some interesting areas of cycling virtue: East Anglia and the east coast, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
These results also hint at something that population data won’t help with - topography. A large amount of the areas with low cycling penetration are in the extreme north, north west or other areas with big flipping hills. So let’s not be too quick to judge those areas in red.
With the census being the main source of population and lifestyle data and the next census two years away, it will be fascinating to see what has changed in commuting patterns over the last 10 years and if the situation has improved. In the meantime, keep pedalling!
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Cycle to work day
Each year for #cycletoworkday we take a look at cycling statistics across the country and try to map that data and find interesting trends. This is mainly because we at Beacon Dodsworth are either a little bit obsessed about cycling, or we tend to worry about the environment.
Administrative geography is a way of dividing the country into smaller sub-divisions or areas that correspond with the area of responsibility of local authorities and government bodies. It provides an alternative to postcode geography but because it tends not to be used by consumers, it is often overlooked. We take a look at administrative geography, what it is and how to use it.
Mapping for local projects
Recently, we were contacted by a company responsible for organising charity door knockers. They needed more than 9,000 postcode sectors mapped at A4 size to pass to ground staff showing street level detail. This would enable them to use maps at a local level to plan fundraising routes and clearly define territories for each agent.
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National Vegetarian Week (#NationalVegetarianWeek) this year runs from 13th to 19th May. What better opportunity to highlight how GIS mapping can be used to create marketing campaigns and raise awareness of the benefits of eating more fruit and veg.
The foundations of geographical analysis
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Social change over 10 years
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