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Travel to Work Areas

For those involved in labour market analysis and planning, it is useful to be able to use data for labour market areas.

To meet this need, labour market areas are defined to reflect areas where the bulk of the resident population also work within the same area.

Defining these areas requires the analysis of commuting patterns; we have worked with Newcastle University to apply a complex allocation process in order to define a set of travel to work areas (TTWA) for the whole of the UK.

The current criteria for defining TTWAs is that generally at least 75% of an area's resident workforce work in the area and at least 75% of the people who work in the area also live in the area. The area must also have a working population of at least 3,500. However, for areas with a working population in excess of 25,000, self-containment rates as low as 66.7% are accepted. TTWA boundaries are non-overlapping, are contiguous and cover the whole of the UK. TTWAs do cross national boundaries, although no account is taken of commuting between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The resulting pattern is that although the definitive minimum working population in a TTWA is 3,500, many areas are much larger – indeed, the whole of London and the surrounding area forms one TTWA.

2011 Travel to Work Areas

Please note that following the release of the 2011 TTWAs on 19 August 2015, a small number of TTWA geography codes have been revised.  All the published documentation has been updated where applicable to reflect these changes.

The 228 TTWAs forming the 2011 TTWAs, covering the whole of the UK, were defined in 2015 using 2011 Census commuting flow data, indicating home and workplace address. The TTWAs are based on aggregations of Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England and Wales, Data Zones (DZs) in Scotland, and Super Output Areas (SOAs) in Northern Ireland, and in some cases span country borders.

Supporting documentation includes a map and guidance and information covering the following. These can be found in the links below and further information can also be found in the links in the ‘Related Links’ section:

  1. Lookup file of LSOAs/DZs/SOAs to TTWAs

  2. Methodology note

  3. Overview of TTWAs

  4. Summary statistics for the TTWAs

Map of 2011 Travel to Work Areas

Travel to Work Areas 2011 Guidance and Information

A paper outlining the changes between the 2001 and 2011 TTWAs is planned for later in the year.

2011 TTWA boundaries for use in GIS, names and codes and lookup files are available in the Open Geography portal

2001 Travel to Work Areas

The 243 TTWAs forming the 2001 TTWAs, covering the whole of the UK, were defined in 2007 using 2001 Census commuting flow data, indicating home and workplace address. The TTWAs are based on aggregations of LSOAs in England and Wales, DZs in Scotland, and SOAs in Northern Ireland, and in some cases span country borders.

Please see the links in the ‘Related Links’ section and the downloads below for further information:

Supporting documentation includes a map and guidance and information covering the following.  These can be found in the links below and further information can also be found in the links in the ‘Related Links’ section:

  1. Final report

  2. Introduction to TTWAs

  3. Lookup file of LSOAs/DZs/SOAs to TTWAs

  4. Methodology note

  5. Summary statistics for the TTWAs (data file)

Map of 2001 Travel to Work Areas

Travel to Work Areas April 2001 Guidance and Information

2001 TTWA boundaries for use in GIS, names and codes and lookup files are available in the Open Geography portal

Contact Us

If you have any questions on TTWAs please email ttwa@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.