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2011 Census Analysis - Cycling to Work This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 26 March 2014 Download PDF

Key Points

Changes in cycling to work in England and Wales since 2001:

  • In 2011, 741,000 working residents aged 16 to 74 cycled to work in England and Wales. This was an increase of 90,000 compared with 2001. As a proportion of working residents, the share cycling to work was unchanged at 2.8%.

  • Between 2001 and 2011 the number of people living in London that cycled to work more than doubled from 77,000 in 2001 to 155,000 in 2011. There were also substantial increases in other cities including Brighton (increasing by 109% between 2001 and 2011), Bristol (94%), Manchester (83%), Newcastle (81%) and Sheffield (80%).

  • In the majority of local authorities in England and Wales (202 out of 348), the numbers of working residents cycling to work declined between 2001 and 2011.

Areas with the most and least Cycling:

  • In Cambridge, 29% of working residents cycled to work, making it the local authority with highest rate of cycling to work. The next highest rate was in Oxford (17%) followed by Isles of Scilly and Hackney at 14%.

  • There are 31 local authorities where over 5% of working residents cycled to work. The proportion was greater than 10% in six of these local authorities.

  • There were 29 local authorities where less than 1% of working residents cycled to work. The four local authorities with the lowest rates were all in Wales with Merthyr Tydfil the lowest with 0.3% of working residents cycling to work in 2011.

Who cycles to work?

  • In 2011, urban working residents (3.2%) were twice as likely to cycle to work as rural working residents (1.6%).

  • Males were more likely to cycle to work than females (3.9% of male workers compared with 1.6% of female workers).

  • Cycling to work was most common among those aged 30 to 34 with 3.5% of workers in this age group cycling to work. Up to 60 years of age, the rate of cycling to work was above 2% for all age groups.

  • Cycling was most common among those working in elementary and professional occupations. It was least common amongst managers, directors and senior officials.

Foreword

The England and Wales census asked the same question in 2011 as was asked in 2001 (See Census Comparability Report for further details). People in work were asked ‘How do you usually travel to work? Tick the box for the longest part, by distance, of your usual journey to work’. Due to definitional differences, and because the census questionnaire is self-completed by the population of England and Wales, the census estimates of people travelling to work may differ from other sources.

In nearly all cases, figures given for the 2011 Census use the 2001 methodology for calculating home workers as used in CT0015EW. That is, people who recorded their place of work as working mainly at or from home were considered to have their mode of travel to work as working mainly at or from home. This means the statistics for cycling to work in 2011 are broadly comparable with the data from 2001.

The only exception to this is where method of travel to work has been analysed across rural and urban areas. In this case only information from the method of travel to work question was used to derive home workers as used in QS701EW. In terms of cycling to work, however, the difference between the two sets of figures is minimal.

Where multivariate data has been analysed (e.g. method of travel to work by age by sex), the data for the 2001 Census is workers aged 16 to 74. The data for the 2011 Census, however, is for workers aged 16 and over. Due to statistical disclosure control, ONS is unable to publish multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly and the City of London. Multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly has been combined with Cornwall while data for the City of London has been combined with Westminster.

All data discussed in this report concerns the resident working population. That is, where a figure is given for a local authority or region, it refers to the workers that are resident in that particular area.

How has cycling changed since 2001?

In 2011, 741,000 workers aged 16 to 74 cycled to work, up from 651,000 in 2001. This made up 2.8% of workers in this age range, broadly similar with the 2001 Census. When combined with other variables, however, cycling to work in England and Wales has changed since 2001.

Change by location

Table 1 shows the absolute number of people cycling to work in the English regions and Wales in 2001 and 2011.

At 77,000, London had the third most cyclists in 2001. In 2011, however, London had the largest number of people who cycled to work at 155,000. Outside of London, the largest percentage increase was in the North East at 19%. The East of England, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands had fewer people cycling to work in 2011 compared with 2001.

An alternative way to examine the data is to look at the proportions of working residents cycling to work. Data on this measure for each of the English regions and Wales is shown later in this report in Table 8. The South West, North East and Wales all had very small increases in the proportions of their working residents cycling to work, whilst London had a larger increase up from 2.3% of resident workers in 2001 to 3.9% in 2011. In all other regions, the proportion of working residents cycling to work declined.

Table 1: Percentage change in the number of people cycling to work

English regions and Wales, 2001 and 2011

English regions/Wales a2001 a2011 Percentage Change
London 77,330 155,289 100.8
South East 119,315 124,156 4.1
East 100,193 98,046 -2.1
South West 76,430 87,912 15.0
North West 65,961 69,082 4.7
Yorkshire and The Humber 63,384 60,865 -4.0
East Midlands 62,644 57,689 -7.9
West Midlands 52,545 49,243 -6.3
North East 16,786 19,945 18.8
Wales 16,389 19,156 16.9
England and Wales 650,977 741,383 13.9

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.

  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Of the 348 local authorities in England and Wales, 146 had an absolute increase in the number of people cycling to work between 2001 and 2011. As a proportion of resident workers in the local authority, however, only 87 of the 348 local authorities witnessed an increase1.

Table 2 lists the 10 local authorities in London with the largest percentage increases in the number of people cycling to work. All 10 are Inner London boroughs, with cycling to work more than trebling in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and the City of London. Hackney also experienced one of the largest increases in the rate of cycling. In 2011, 13.8% of workers cycled to work, up from 6.2% in 2001 (see also Table 9).

Overall, the number of residents in Inner London that cycled to work increased from 43,000 in 2001 to 106,000 in 2011 (144%). In Outer London, the number of people cycling to work increased from 34,000 in 2001 to 49,000 (45%).

Table 2: Local authorities with the largest percentage increases in the number of people cycling to work in London

London, 2001 and 2011

Local authority a2001 a2011 Percentage Change
Tower Hamlets 2,213 7,785 251.8
Hackney 4,940 16,389 231.8
City of London 74 243 228.4
Southwark 3,965 10,450 163.6
Islington 3,770 9,763 159.0
Haringey 2,388 5,911 147.5
Lewisham 2,121 5,164 143.5
Lambeth 5,407 12,930 139.1
Wandsworth 5,498 12,804 132.9
Westminster 2,496 5,092 104.0
Inner London1 43,494 106,219 144.2
Outer London2 33,836 49,070 45.0

Table notes:

  1. Inner London: Camden, City of London, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.
  2. Outer London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Waltham Forest.
  3. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Outside of London, the largest increases in cycling to work were, for the most part, in large urban conurbations (Table 3). In the local authorities of Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield the numbers of residents cycling to work increased by over 80% between 2001 and 2011. In Cardiff there was a 65% increase.

Of the 10 local authorities in Table 3, Bristol experienced the largest percentage point increase in residents cycling to work, increasing from 4.6% of all journeys to work in 2001 to 7.5% in 2011 (Table 4). It is possible that this is a consequence of the fact that in 2008 it became Britain’s first Cycling City2. The largest percentage point increase in the proportion of cyclists, however, was to be found in Cambridge where the proportion rose from an already very high 25.9% in 2001 to 29.0% in 2011.

Table 3: Local authorities outside London with the largest percentage increases in the number of people cycling to work

England and Wales excluding London, 2001 and 2011

Local authority a 2001 a 2011 Percentage Change
Brighton and Hove 3,168 6,635 109.4
Bristol, City of 8,108 15,768 94.5
Manchester 4,610 8,426 82.8
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,781 3,223 81.0
Sheffield 2,365 4,267 80.4
Cardiff 3,514 5,791 64.8
Gateshead 816 1,314 61.0
Exeter 2,304 3,542 53.7
Leeds 4,189 6,237 48.9
Liverpool 2,686 3,970 47.8
England and Wales excluding London 573,647 586,094 2.2

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Table 4: Local authorities with the largest percentage point increases in cycling to work outside of London

England and Wales excluding London, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a2001 a2011 Percentage point change
Cambridge 25.9 29.0 3.1
Bristol, City of 4.6 7.5 2.9
Isles of Scilly 12.0 14.2 2.2
Oxford 14.9 17.1 2.2
Brighton and Hove 2.7 4.7 2.1
Exeter 4.5 6.2 1.7
Newcastle upon Tyne 1.8 2.7 0.9
Cardiff 2.7 3.6 0.9
South Gloucestershire 3.0 3.9 0.9
South Cambridgeshire 6.7 7.6 0.9
England and Wales excluding London 2.8 2.6 -0.2

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Table 5 shows the 10 local authorities with the largest percentage decreases in the number of people cycling to work. In contrast to the areas that experienced increases in cycling, many of these areas have a larger proportion of their population living in rural areas.

Cycling to work was quite rare relative to the rest of England and Wales in some of these places in 2001. In Merthyr Tydfil, for example, just 0.6% of workers cycled to work in 2001. By 2011, this had fallen to 0.3%, making it the local authority with the lowest rate of cycling to work in England and Wales.

In some of the other areas, however, cycling was relatively prominent in 2001. In North Norfolk, 4.8% of workers cycled to work in 2001, giving it the 37th highest rate of cycling. By 2011, the rate had fallen to 2.8%, giving it a rank of 113th among local authorities in England and Wales.

Table 5: Local authorities with the largest percentage decreases in the number of people cycling to work

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local authority a 2001 a 2011 Percentage Change
North Norfolk 2,002 1,208 -39.7
Breckland 2,314 1,574 -32.0
Rushmoor 2,032 1,413 -30.5
Tendring 2,419 1,683 -30.4
Bolsover 387 272 -29.7
Selby 1,440 1,032 -28.3
Merthyr Tydfil 111 80 -27.9
South Northamptonshire 651 470 -27.8
Ribble Valley 522 380 -27.2
West Lindsey 1,174 860 -26.7
England and Wales excluding London 573,647 586,094 2.2

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Table 6 lists the 10 local authorities with the largest percentage point decreases in the proportion of workers cycling to work between 2001 and 2011. With the exception of Sedgemoor in Somerset, these are areas on the eastern side of England. Driving to work has increased in many of these areas, but so too in Boston and Peterborough has commuting as passengers in a car or van (up by 3.2 percentage points in Boston and up by 0.6 percentage points in Peterborough).

Table 6: Local authorities with the largest percentage point decreases in cycling to work

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Percentage point change
Boston 10.1 6.4 -3.7
Kingston upon Hull, City of 11.7 8.1 -3.6
Waveney 8.4 6.1 -2.4
North East Lincolnshire 7.7 5.4 -2.3
Fenland 6.7 4.5 -2.2
North Norfolk 4.8 2.8 -2.0
Peterborough 7.7 5.7 -2.0
North Lincolnshire 5.6 3.8 -1.8
North Kesteven 5.5 3.8 -1.7
Sedgemoor 6.2 4.5 -1.7
England and Wales excluding London 2.8 2.6 -0.2

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Notes for How has cycling changed since 2001?

  1. Data on the numbers and proportions of residents cycling to work, for each local authority, is available in the reference table in this release.
  2. See www.bristol.gov.uk/page/transport-and-streets/cycling for details.

Change by distance travelled to work

Figures 1 and 2 show the rate of cycling to work, by distance, in 2001 and 2011 for London and the rest of England and Wales respectively. The figures exclude those working from home.

It should be noted that cycling to work at the longer distances reflects the fact that some people commute to work from a second address. Workers are more likely to have a second address for work where their enumeration address is a substantial distance from their place of work. So workers enumerated 60 km or more from their workplace are more likely to be commuting much shorter distances in reality. This explains why the rate of cycling was higher for those commuting 60 km or more compared with those commuting between 20 km and less than 60 km.

It should also be noted that the vast majority of workers in the ‘other’ category are those with no fixed place of work. Both inside and outside London the rate of cycling to work for such workers increased between 2001 and 2011.

In London, cycling to work increased for commuters travelling all distances. For those commuting between 2 km and less than 5 km, the rate of cycling increased from 4.1% in 2001 to 6.9% in 2011, while for those travelling between 5 km and less than 10 km, the rate increased from 2.7% in 2001 to 5.7% in 2011.

Figure 1: Percentage of workers cycling to work by distance

London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 1: Percentage of workers cycling to work by distance

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode
  2. Cycling commutes over 20km probably reflect shorter commutes from second homes. Nevertheless, such commutes are measured from the enumeration address.
  3. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the United Kingdom, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work. Home workers are excluded from the figures
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  6. Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Outside London, the rate of cycling decreased for those commuting less than 2 km from 6.1% of all in 2001 to 5.1% in 2011. For other distances, there were marginal increases in the rate of cycling to work. The largest increase was for those commuting 60 km or more (0.6 percentage points). As previously explained, these are people with second residences, many of whom are likely to work in London.

Figure 2: Percentage of workers cycling to work by distance

England and Wales excluding London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 2: Percentage of workers cycling to work by distance

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. Cycling commutes over 20km probably reflect shorter commutes from second homes. Nevertheless, such commutes are measured from the enumeration address.
  3. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the United Kingdom, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work. Home workers are excluded from the figures.
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  6. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Change by gender

In both 2001 and 2011, the male rate of cycling to work in England and Wales was more than double the female rate (Table 7). In 2011, male workers resident in London were most likely to cycle to work (5.1%), while male workers resident in Wales were least likely to cycle to work (2.2%). For females, the East of England had the highest rates of cycling to work (2.5%), while Wales had the lowest rates of cycling to work (0.6%).

For the English regions and Wales, where the male rate of cycling to work increased between 2001 and 2011, the female rate also increased. Similarly, in the English regions in which the rate of cycling to work declined, it did so for both males and females.

Table 7: Percentage of male and female workers cycling to work

English regions and Wales, 2001 and 2011

English regions/Wales Males Females
a 2001 b 2011 a 2001 b 2011
North East 2.6 2.8 0.6 0.6
North West 3.4 3.3 0.9 0.8
Yorkshire and The Humber 3.7 3.4 2.0 1.5
East Midlands 4.4 3.8 1.9 1.4
West Midlands 3.4 3.0 0.9 0.8
East of England 4.5 4.2 3.1 2.5
London 3.1 5.1 1.4 2.4
South East 4.0 3.9 2.0 1.8
South West 4.7 4.8 1.7 1.9
Wales 2.1 2.2 0.5 0.6
   
England and Wales 3.7 3.9 1.6 1.6

Table notes:

  1. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Change by age

Figure 3 shows by age the proportion of workers living in London that cycled to work in 2001 and 2011. With the exception of 16 to 19 year olds, the rate of cycling to work increased for all age groups. The largest increase was for 30 to 34 year olds with the rate of cycling for this age group increasing from 2.9% in 2001 to 5.2% in 2011.

Figure 3: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 3: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

Notes:

  1. The 2001 figure for workers aged 65 and over is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Figure 4 shows the corresponding percentages for the rest of England and Wales. There were slight percentage point rises in cycling outside of London for the 30 to 34 and 45 to 54 age groups. For the other age groups, however, there was a decrease in cycling. The largest decrease was for those aged 16 to 19 with the rate decreasing from 4.4% in 2001 to 3.2% in 2011.

Figure 4: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

England and Wales excluding London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 4: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

Notes:

  1. The 2001 figure for workers aged 65 and over is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Figure 5 shows, for areas outside of London, the proportion of male and female workers who cycled to work in 2001 and 2011 by age. In 2001, the rate of cycling among female workers broadly increased with age, ranging from 1.4% for female workers aged 30 to 34 to 2.7% of those aged 65 and over.

By 2011, however, the level of variation across the age groups had reduced considerably. At 1.2%, the lowest rate of cycling was for females aged 16 to 19. Having had the lowest rate for females in 2011, those aged 30 to 34 had the highest rate in 2011 at 1.5%.

For males, the largest change was for 16 to 19 year olds. In 2001, 7.3% of males aged 16 to 19 cycled to work. This had reduced to 5.4% by 2011. The decrease in the rate of cycling for 16 to 19 year olds reflects an increase in driving to work for this age group. A greater proportion of this age group was aged 18 or 19 in 2011 compared with 2001. As such it is to be expected that a greater proportion of this age group were able to drive in 2011 compared with 2001. Moreover, car ownership increased in the same period meaning that these workers were more likely to have access to a vehicle.

Overall, male rates of cycling were, in 2011, greater than female rates for all 11 age categories. This was also the case in London.

Figure 5: Percentage of male and female workers cycling to work by age

England and Wales excluding London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 5: Percentage of male and female workers cycling to work by age

Notes:

  1. The 2001 figure for workers aged 65 and over is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Which areas have the most cycling to work?

As well as being the region with the highest absolute number of people cycling to work in 2011, London also had the highest rate of cycling to work at 3.9% (Table 8). This was up from 2.3% in 2001. At 1.4%, Wales had the lowest rate of cycling to work.

Table 8: Percentage of workers cycling to work

English regions and Wales, 2001 and 2011

English regions/Wales a 2001 a 2011 Percentage Point Change
London 2.3 3.9 1.6
East of England 3.9 3.4 -0.4
South West 3.3 3.4 0.1
South East 3.1 2.9 -0.2
East Midlands 3.3 2.7 -0.6
Yorkshire and The Humber 2.9 2.5 -0.4
North West 2.3 2.1 -0.1
West Midlands 2.3 1.9 -0.3
North East 1.6 1.7 0.1
Wales 1.4 1.4 0.0
England and Wales 2.8 2.8 0.0

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

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The variation in the proportion of workers who cycled to work across England and Wales is shown in Map 1. The highest rates of cycling are seen in London, Eastern England and some other cities – most notably Cambridge and Oxford.

In 2011, cycling to work accounted for 5.0% or more of the workforce in 31 local authorities, 10 of which were in London. The East of England, the South East and South West each had five local authorities, while Yorkshire and The Humber (3), the East Midlands (2) and the North West (1) also feature on the list. However, the North East, the West Midlands and Wales did not have any local authorities with a cycling rate of 5.0% or more.

Map 1: Percentage of working residents aged 16 to 74 that cycled to work

England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Map 1: Percentage of working residents aged 16 to 74 cycling to work, England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

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The 10 local authorities with the highest proportions of workers aged 16 to 74 who cycled to work in 2011 are shown in Table 9. Cambridge – with 29% in 2011 – had by far the largest rate of cycling in 2011, with Oxford (17%) coming next. This may include students cycling to part-time jobs, but it is likely to indicate that the culture of cycling in these cities extends beyond the student population.

London is represented by three local authorities: Hackney (14%), Islington (9.1%) and Lambeth (7.8%). Cycle paths alongside the River Lea and Regent’s Canal may partly explain the relative prominence of cycling in Hackney.

Table 9 also includes three cities in eastern England: York, Norwich and Hull. Climate may be a factor with rainfall being lower in eastern England compared with western England and Wales1. Eastern England is also generally flatter than other parts of England and Wales which may also explain the higher rates of cycling in these regions.

The Isles of Scilly, at 14%, is third on the list. Those workers living and working on the islands would have short commutes, so it is not surprising that cycling to work was relatively high compared with the rest of England and Wales.

Gosport is a peninsular on the west side of Portsmouth Harbour. One reason for the high rate of cycling may be the cycle path along part of what used to be the Fareham to Gosport railway line. Gosport also has a cycle path that leads to the ferry to Portsmouth.

Two of the 10 local authorities with the highest proportions of workers cycling to work actually experienced a decrease in the rate of cycling between 2001 and 2011. Firstly, cycling to work in York decreased from 12% in 2001 to 11% in 2011. In absolute terms, however, the number of people cycling to work increased from 10,500 in 2001 to 11,100 in 2011.

In Kingston upon Hull, the rate of cycling fell 3.6 percentage points from 11.7% in 2001 to 8.1% in 2011. The number of people cycling to work in Hull fell 20% from 11,200 in 2001 to 8,900 in 2011.

Table 9: Local authorities with the highest proportions of workers cycling to work in 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Percentage point change
Cambridge 25.9 29.0 3.1
Oxford 14.9 17.1 2.2
Isles of Scilly 12.0 14.2 2.2
Hackney 6.2 13.8 7.6
York 12.0 11.2 -0.8
Gosport 10.7 10.7 0.0
Islington 4.7 9.1 4.4
Norwich 8.8 8.8 0.0
Kingston upon Hull, City of 11.7 8.1 -3.6
Lambeth 4.1 7.8 3.6

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Notes for Which areas have the most cycling to work?

  1. www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/anomacts

Which areas have least cycling to work?

In 2011, cycling to work accounted for 1.0% or less of working residents in 29 local authorities, eight of which were in Wales (Map 2). The South East and Yorkshire and The Humber each had five local authorities, while London, the North West and the East Midlands each had two local authorities. The North East and West Midlands both had one local authority leaving the South West as the only region to not feature on the list.

Map 2: Local authorities with the lowest percentage of cycling to work among working residents

England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Map 2: Local authorities with the lowest percentage of cycling to work among working residents, England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

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Table 10 lists the 10 local authorities with the lowest rates of cycling to work in 2011 with Merthyr Tydfil having the lowest rate at 0.3%. With the exception of Rossendale and Tandridge which remained stable, all of the local authorities had a lower cycling rate in 2011 than they did in 2001.

Topography and climate may partly explain the low rates of cycling in some of these areas. The age of the employees, the distances they commuted, their industry of employment as well as other factors such as safety concerns may have contributed to the low rates in these areas.

Table 10: Local authorities with the lowest proportions of workers cycling to work

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Percentage point change
Merthyr Tydfil 0.6 0.3 -0.2
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 0.5 0.4 -0.1
Blaenau Gwent 0.6 0.5 -0.1
Caerphilly 0.7 0.6 -0.1
Barnsley 0.8 0.7 -0.1
North East Derbyshire 0.8 0.7 -0.1
Rossendale 0.7 0.7 0.0
Carmarthenshire 1.1 0.8 -0.3
Harrow 0.9 0.8 -0.1
Tandridge 0.8 0.8 0.0

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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The effect of distance on rates of cycling

Table 11 lists the 10 local authorities with the highest rates of cycling among workers commuting less than 5 km. At 43%, Cambridge had the highest rate in 2011 and was up nearly 6 percentage points on the 2001 figure (37%).

Hackney had the largest percentage point increase in the rate of cycling for workers commuting less than 5 km. In 2001, 8.2% of all such workers cycled to work. By 2011 this figure had grown to 17.3%.

Table 11: Local authorities with the highest rates of cycling to work in 2011 for workers commuting less than 5 km

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 b 2011 Percentage point change
Cambridge 37.0 42.8 5.8
Oxford 22.5 26.1 3.6
South Cambridgeshire 17.4 20.0 2.6
York 18.9 17.4 -1.5
Hackney 8.2 17.3 9.1
Gosport 16.3 17.0 0.6
Vale of White Horse 16.5 15.4 -1.1
Boston 18.2 12.9 -5.3
Waveney 15.7 12.0 -3.7
Norwich 11.6 12.0 0.5

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Whereas London is only represented by Hackney in Table 11, five London boroughs are present in Table 12 that lists the local authorities with the highest rates of cycling to work for people commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km.

Cambridge had the highest rate of cycling in 2001 (15%) and 2011 (22%). As with those commuting less than 5 km, the rate of cycling in Hackney more than doubled for those cycling between 5km and less than 10 km from 6.9% in 2001 to 17% in 2011.

Table 12: Local authorities with the highest rates of cycling to work for workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 b 2011 Percentage point change
Cambridge 14.6 21.9 7.3
Hackney 6.9 17.1 10.2
Oxford 7.9 11.7 3.9
Islington 4.5 10.8 6.3
South Cambridgeshire 6.4 10.5 4.1
Gosport 7.1 9.8 2.6
Lambeth 4.5 9.7 5.2
York 7.6 9.5 1.9
Southwark 4.5 9.3 4.8
Wandsworth 3.9 9.2 5.3

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Overall, there was not a large difference between cycling rates in London (5.9%) and the rest of England and Wales (5.1%) for those commuting less than 5 km (Table 13). For those commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km, the rate of cycling in London (5.7%) was more than double that for the rest of England and Wales (2.2%).

Table 13: Rates of cycling to work in London and the rest of England and Wales for workers commuting less than five km and workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km

England and Wales, 2011

Area < 5 km 5 km to < 10 km Difference
London 5.9 5.7 -0.2
Rest of England and Wales 5.1 2.2 -2.9

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Alternatively, other factors such as the age of the workers or their industry of employment may explain the differences between London and the rest of England and Wales. Figures 6 and 7 show respectively the age distribution of workers commuting less than 5 km and the age profile of workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km. For both distance ranges, workers living in London had a younger age profile than the workers living in the rest of England and Wales. However, the difference was greater for workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km. For workers commuting such distances, therefore, this may be a contributory factor to the higher rate of cycling to work for workers resident in London compared with workers resident in the rest of England and Wales.

Figure 6: Age of workers commuting less than 5 km

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 6: Age of workers commuting less than 5 km

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Figure 7: Age of workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 7: Age of workers commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Walking to work as an alternative to cycling

Some areas with relatively low rates of cycling have relatively high rates of walking. At three distance ranges, Table 14 lists the local authorities with the highest rates of walking to work for areas where rates of cycling to work are below (the England and Wales) average.

For workers commuting less than 2 km, Westminster/City of London1 has by far the highest rate of walking to work at 67%. This local authority aside, the other areas have sizeable rural populations. The topography of some of these areas may mean that walking is preferable to cycling.

For those commuting between 2 km and less than 5 km, Richmondshire in North Yorkshire has the highest rate of walking to work at 13%. This list does, however, include Nottingham (10%) and Sheffield (9.3%), indicating that walking may be preferable to cycling in some cities too.

At 8.3%, Richmondshire also tops the list for walking to work by people commuting between 5 km and less than 10 km.

Table 14: Local authorities with the highest rates of walking to work where the rate of cycling to work is lower than the rate for England and Wales

England and Wales, 2011

Local authority Walk1 Cycle1 Rural2
0 to 2 km3  
 
Westminster/City of London 66.9 3.9 0.0
Winchester 56.2 4.7 57.5
Bath and North East Somerset 55.7 4.1 21.1
Tunbridge Wells 55.2 2.2 40.1
Scarborough 53.5 3.3 31.1
South Hams 53.4 2.4 78.9
West Devon 52.3 2.8 77.1
Isle of Wight 51.8 4.8 32.3
South Lakeland 51.6 4.3 60.9
Craven 51.6 2.4 60.0
 
England and Wales 42.1 5.1 18.5
 
2 to 5 km3  
 
Richmondshire 12.8 3.3 77.3
Tunbridge Wells 12.3 2.8 40.1
Winchester 11.3 4.8 57.5
Watford 11.3 4.8 0.0
Nottingham 10.1 3.9 0.0
Carlisle 9.8 5.3 27.0
Sheffield 9.3 3.2 1.8
Luton 9.2 2.7 0.0
Dover 9.2 4.2 35.3
Hastings 9.0 2.4 0.0
 
England and Wales 7.1 5.4 0.0
 
5 to 10 km3  
 
Richmondshire 8.3 1.7 77.3
Rutland 4.7 2.2 69.2
Scarborough 4.4 2.2 31.1
West Somerset 4.1 2.0 65.4
Eden 3.9 1.5 71.1
Blaenau Gwent 3.9 0.3 13.5
Hambleton 3.8 2.0 81.1
Knowsley 3.7 1.4 0.7
Blackpool 3.6 2.7 0.4
Darlington 3.6 1.7 12.5
 
England and Wales 2.2 2.9 18.5

Table notes:

  1. The walking/cycling percentages are for the relevant commuting distances for workers that are resident in the area.
  2. The percentage of the usually resident population that lives in rural areas (i.e. workers and non-workers)
  3. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  4. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  5. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Notes for Walking to work as an alternative to cycling

  1. Due to statistical disclosure control, ONS is unable to publish multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly and the City of London. Multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly has been combined with Cornwall while data for the City of London has been combined with Westminster.

Areas with low rates of walking and cycling

For workers commuting distances of less than 2 km, between 2 km and less than 5 km and between 5 km and less than 10 km, Table 15 lists the local authorities with the lowest combined rates of walking and cycling to work in 2011. The rate of driving to work, the median age of the workers and the proportion of workers working in the construction industry are also listed.

Beginning with those commuting less than 2 km, all the local authorities in Table 12 have above average rates of driving to work alongside their below average rates of walking/cycling to work.  Possible reasons for this include the above average median age of commuters in most of these areas. The industries in which residents of different areas work may also have an impact, particularly if a high share of workers are employed in industries such as construction which may require use of a vehicle. There are also likely to be other reasons to explain the low rates of cycling/walking some of which may be specific to particular places.

For those commuting between 2 km and less than 10 km, the local authorities with the lowest shares of walking/cycling again have above average rates of driving to work and are non-London local authorities.

For people commuting 5 to less than 10 km, the London borough of Harrow had the lowest rate of walking or cycling at 1.9%. This is compared with 4.3% in Outer London as a whole. Among workers commuting between 5 and less than 10 km, Harrow had the fifth highest rate of driving for local authorities in Outer London at 62%; as well as 20% using trains and light rail services.

Elsewhere, in Gravesham and Crawley, the median ages and rates of driving are relatively low, unlike most of the places with low cycling/walking. These local authorities, however, have ‘bus rapid transit’ schemes which provide priority lanes to buses on specified routes. Crawley (21%) and Gravesham (12%) both have relatively high rates of commuting by bus and this may partly explain the relatively low rates of walking or cycling.

Compared with the 2001 Census, the local authorities with lowest rates of walking or cycling to work (for those commuting less than 2 km) in 2011 all experienced a decrease in the rate of walking or cycling to work.

This was true for four of the 10 local authorities for 2 km to less than 5 km, but for only one of the 10 local authorities for 5 to less than 10 km – South Northamptonshire which decreased from 3.0% in 2001 to 2.6% in 2011.

Table 15: Local authorities with the lowest combined rates of walking and cycling to work

Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

Local authority Walk/Cycle1 Drive1 Construction1, 2 Median age3
0 to 2 km4
Torfaen 29.0 55.0 5.0 42.6
Corby 29.1 49.8 1.8 40.3
Merthyr Tydfil 29.3 50.8 4.2 41.6
Redditch 32.7 51.2 3.0 40.6
Caerphilly 32.8 53.5 4.0 43.1
Telford and Wrekin 33.7 52.5 2.6 42.0
Bridgend 34.1 53.6 3.9 42.9
Carmarthenshire 34.7 54.8 4.2 42.5
Dudley 35.2 51.3 4.7 43.4
North Tyneside 35.3 43.1 3.5 43.3
England and Wales Excluding London 46.6 41.4 3.3 41.3
2 to 5 km4
North East Derbyshire 4.2 75.0 4.7 43.8
South Staffordshire 5.3 78.1 5.4 44.1
South Northamptonshire 5.5 82.4 4.7 43.6
Pembrokeshire 5.5 77.1 8.3 43.3
Caerphilly 5.5 73.2 4.5 41.7
Bridgend 5.9 76.7 4.6 42.2
Merthyr Tydfil 5.9 65.4 4.2 40.9
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 5.9 72.5 4.6 42.5
Epping Forest 6.1 75.8 7.0 45.6
Wrexham 6.1 71.4 3.4 41.6
England and Wales Excluding London 12.1 63.6 4.1 41.1
5 to 10 km4
Harrow 1.9 62.1 4.2 41.5
Havering 2.5 69.7 6.7 42.6
Outer London5 4.3 47.6 4.1 39.1
South Staffordshire 2.0 84.2 5.7 45.0
North East Derbyshire 2.2 79.0 5.2 43.6
Epping Forest 2.3 81.1 7.1 44.6
Crawley 2.4 66.2 3.7 38.0
Tandridge 2.5 79.6 5.9 43.9
Gravesham 2.5 73.3 5.9 39.6
South Northamptonshire 2.6 85.3 3.9 43.9
Sevenoaks 2.6 83.0 5.8 44.5
England and Wales Excluding London 4.7 74.5 4.9 41.7

Table notes:

  1. All percentages and median ages are for the relevant commuting distances.
  2. Construction: The percentage of employees working in the construction industry category.
  3. Median age is estimated using the breakdown of distance by age by sex in table DC7102EWla.
  4. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  5. Outer London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, Waltham Forest.
  6. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  7. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

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For workers commuting less than 2 km, Table 16 lists the 10 local authorities with the largest percentage point decreases in the rate of cycling between 2001 and 2011; all of which are located on the eastern side of England. In Selby, the rate of walking to work decreased from 40% to 39%. In the other nine areas, however, the rate of walking increased. In Waveney (6.5 percentage points) the increase in the rate of walking more than offset the decrease in the rate of cycling.

Table 16: Local authorities with the largest percentage point decreases in cycling to work for workers commuting less than 2 km

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority 2001 2011 Percentage Point Change
Kingston upon Hull, City of 18.6 11.3 -7.3
Boston 21.4 14.4 -7.0
Fenland 19.0 13.1 -5.9
Waveney 18.1 12.6 -5.5
Selby 14.0 8.9 -5.1
North Norfolk 13.6 8.6 -5.0
South Holland 16.1 11.1 -4.9
North East Lincolnshire 13.5 8.9 -4.6
Peterborough 15.3 10.7 -4.6
North Kesteven 17.2 12.7 -4.5

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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A similar pattern exists for workers commuting 2 km to less than 5 km and 5 to less than 10 km. In both cases Kingston upon Hull had the largest decrease (3.4 percentage points and 1.4 percentage points respectively). As with those commuting less than two km, in many cases the rate of walking increased and more than offset the decrease in the rate of cycling.

Who cycles?

Young or old?

For England and Wales as a whole, workers aged 30 to 34 were the most likely age group to cycle to work at 3.5%. The rate of cycling to work was above 2% for all age groups up to 60 years of age.

In 2011, workers living in London were more likely to cycle to work than those living outside of London (3.9% compared with 2.6%). Figure 8 show that this was true for all age groups with the exception of 16 to 19 year olds and those aged 60 and above.

The rate of cycling to work was greatest in London among 30 to 34 year olds at 5.2%. As age increases, the rate of cycling in the capital decreases with 1.3% of those aged 65 and over cycling to work in 2011.

The chart has a similar shape for the rest of England and Wales. However, the rate of cycling to work outside of London peaks at 3.2% for those aged 16 to 19. In London the rate of cycling to work for this age group is 2.2%.

Figure 8: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 8: Percentage of workers cycling to work by age

Notes:

  1. The 2001 figure for workers aged 65 and over is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Males or females?

In 2011, 3.9% of males cycled to work compared with 1.6% of females. Figure 9 shows how these rates varied across the English regions and Wales.

While London had the highest rate of cycling to work among males (5.1%), the East of England had the highest rate for female workers (2.5%). Wales had the lowest rate for both males (2.2%) and females (0.6%).

Figure 9: Percentage of workers cycling to work by males and females

English regions and Wales, 2011

Figure 9: Percentage of workers cycling to work by males and females

Notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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At the local authority level, there is some variation. Figure 10 shows that the male rate of cycling to work was greater than the female rate in nearly all local authorities.

Table 17 shows that as the male rate of cycling to work increases, the female rate increases by a proportionally larger amount. In the 75 local authorities where the male rate of cycling was less than 2%, the combined rate of cycling for males was 1.6%. This was more than four times greater than the female rate for the same areas (0.4%).

This ratio decreases as the male rate increases. For the 18 local authorities where the male rate of cycling was equal to or greater than 8%, the combined male rate was 11%. This was less than double the female rate (6.7%).

In Cambridge – the local authority with the highest rates of cycling to work – the rate for females was only slightly lower than the male rate of 29%. The male and female cycling rates were also very similar in Boston and Fenland, while in East Cambridgeshire the rate of cycling to work for females was slightly higher than it was for males.

In Barrow-in-Furness on the other hand, the male rate of cycling to work (9.0%) was 10 times higher than the female rate (0.9%).

Figure 10: Percentage of female workers cycling to work by the percentage of the percentage of male workers cycling to work

Local authorities, England and Wales, 2011

Figure 10: Percentage of female workers cycling to work by the percentage of the percentage of male workers cycling to work

Notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Table 17: Male and female rates of cycling to work by the male rate of cycling to work

Local authorities, England and Wales, 2011

Male rate of cycling to work Number of local authorities Males Females Male/Female Ratio
Less than 2% 75 1.6 0.4 4.3
2 to less than 3% 86 2.4 0.7 3.7
3 to less than 4% 75 3.5 1.3 2.8
4 to less than 5% 45 4.4 1.8 2.4
5 to less than 8% 47 6.0 2.8 2.2
8% or more 18 11.4 6.7 1.7

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Figure 11 shows the rates of walking or cycling to work for males or females. On this occasion there are only 18 local authorities where the rate of walking or cycling to work is higher for males than for females. In Richmondshire in North Yorkshire, 18% of males walked or cycled to work in 2011. This is compared with 15% for females. Similarly in Lambeth, 16% of males walked or cycled to work, while 13% of females did the same.

For the most part, however, the rate of walking or cycling to work was higher for females than for males. For example, 27% of females walked or cycled to work in Scarborough compared with 18% for males. In Redcar and Cleveland, the female rate (15%) was more than double the male rate (7.3%).

Figure 11 can be partly explained by the length of commutes, with a higher share of females having a short commute of (less than 5 km) compared to males. As has been shown earlier, this does not typically lead to higher rates of cycling for females compared to males. However, it does lead to higher rates of walking amongst females.

Figure 11: Percentage of female workers walking or cycling to work by the percentage of the percentage of male workers walking or cycling to work

Local authorities, England and Wales, 2011

Figure 11: Percentage of female workers walking or cycling to work by the percentage of the percentage of male workers walking or cycling to work

Notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Rural or urban residents?

The method of travel to work data in this section uses the 2011 methodology for deriving home workers as used in QS701EW. That is, only the method of travel to work question was used to derive the number of people working from home.

This is different to the rest of the report which uses data from CT0015EW, which uses the 2001 methodology to filter out workers who stated that they worked from home in the workplace address question. In terms of cycling to work, the difference between the two sets of figures is minimal.

The 2011 Rural-Urban Classification allocates each of the 181,408 output areas in England and Wales to a rural or urban category. This is done by assessing land use and population size. For more information on the classification and the results of the 2011 Census please refer to the previously published report – 2011 Census Analysis - Comparing Rural and Urban Areas of England and Wales.

In 2011, 3.2% of the resident working population of urban areas cycled to work. This is twice the rate of cycling among workers living in rural areas (1.6%). Given that rural residents are likely to commute longer distances than their urban counterparts, it is perhaps not surprising that cycling rates are lower in rural areas.

Overall, London had the highest rate of cycling to work in 2011 at 3.9%. As can be seen in Figure 12, however, the rate of cycling to work among urban residents was greater in both the South West (4.3%) and the East of England (4.1%) compared with London (4.0%).

For workers living in rural areas, the East of England had the highest rate of cycling to work at 2.2%, followed by the South West at 1.8%. For both urban and rural residents, Wales and the North East had the lowest rates of cycling to work in 2011.

As has been seen with other Census topics, the variation in the rate of cycling in urban areas was greater than it was in rural areas.

In terms of the ratio of cycling rates in urban and rural areas, London was the region with the greatest difference between the two areas (4.3% for urban compared with 1.8% for rural). It should be noted, however, that the rural population of London is extremely small. The smallest difference was observed in the North West where the urban rate of cycling to work was 2.3% compared with 1.6% for rural areas.

Figure 12: Proportion of workers resident in urban and rural areas that cycled to work

English regions and Wales, 2011

Figure 12: Proportion of workers resident in urban and rural areas that cycled to work

Notes:

  1. The figures are for workers aged 16 to 74
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Industry, occupation and hours worked

Table 18 shows the rates of cycling and walking to work for 15 industry groups. At 4.1%, workers in the manufacturing category were the most likely to cycle to work in 2011.

There is variation across the country, however. Corby (24%) and Barrow-in-Furness (21%) have respectively the highest and third highest proportions of resident workers employed in manufacturing. The rate of cycling among such workers in Barrow-in-Furness (13%) was considerably higher than that seen in Corby (4.8%).This may reflect the nature of the manufacturing jobs in the two areas. While Barrow continues to possess large employers, Corby’s manufacturing industry consists of smaller firms.

Construction workers were the least likely to cycle to work (1.2%) and the least likely to walk to work (2.3%). More than 36% of workers employed in this industry commuted ‘other’ distances in 2011. Most of this can be attributed to commuting to multiple locations, as would be expected with this industry and as such use of a vehicle is likely to be essential.

Table 18: Percentage of workers cycling or walking to work by industry

England and Wales, 2011

Industry Cycling Walking
ABDE 2.3 4.2
C: Manufacturing 4.1 6.7
F: Construction 1.2 2.3
G: Wholesale and Retail trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles 2.6 13.4
H: Transportation and Storage 3.2 5.5
I: Accommodation and Food Service Activities 2.8 19.9
J: Information and Communication 3.3 5.5
K: Financial and Insurance Activities 2.1 7.2
L: Real Estate Activities 1.6 6.7
M: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities 3.2 6.4
N: Administrative and Support Service Activities 2.7 9.0
O: Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security 3.7 9.0
P: Education 3.3 14.3
Q: Human Health and Social Work Activities 2.2 11.0
RSTU 2.8 11.6
All Industries 2.8 9.8

Table notes:

  1. ABDE: A: Agriculture; Forestry; Fishing, B: Mining & Quarrying, D: Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply, E: Water Supply; Sewerage; Waste Management and Remediation activities.
  2. RSTU: R: Arts, entertainment and recreation, S: Other service activities. T: Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods - and services - producing activities of households for own use, U: Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies.
  3. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Does occupation matter?

Table 19 shows the proportion of workers that cycled or walked to work in 2011 by occupation. At 4.5%, workers in elementary occupations were most likely to cycle to work in 2011. Walking to work in this occupation group was relatively high at 18.5%.

Other occupations with rates of cycling above 3.0% are process, plant and machine and also professional and associate professional occupations. This shows that cycling to work occurs across quite a cross-section of different occupations ranging from professional occupations requiring high-skilled workers to lower-skill elementary occupations.

The lowest rates of cycling to work were amongst workers in administrative and secretarial occupations at 1.7% and amongst managers, directors and senior officials at 1.9%.

In terms of walking, caring, leisure and other service occupations (15.6%) and sales and customer service occupations (18.8%) had high rates of walking to work along with elementary occupations. This reflects the shorter distances commuted by such workers. The lowest rate of walking occurred in skilled trades occupations.

Table 19: Percentage of workers cycling or walking to work by occupation

England and Wales, 2011

Occupation Cycling Walking
Managers, directors and senior officials 1.9 5.9
Professional 3.3 6.3
Associate professional and technical 3.1 6.6
Administrative and secretarial 1.7 9.2
Skilled trades 2.7 5.3
Caring, leisure and other service 2.1 15.6
Sales and customer service 2.1 18.8
Process, plant and machine 3.5 6.2
Elementary 4.5 18.5
All Industries 4.5 18.5

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics

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Table 20 shows that for all nine categories of occupation, the male rate of cycling was higher than the female rate. The smallest male/female ratio is for those employed in skilled trade occupations (2.8% for males compared with 1.9% for females). Males employed in ‘administrative and secretarial occupations’ were 3.5 times more likely to cycle to work than their female counterparts in 2011.

Table 20: Percentage of male and female workers cycling or walking to work by occupation

England and Wales, 2011

Occupation Males Females Male/Female Ratio
Managers, directors and senior officials 2.3 1.0 2.2
Professional 4.7 2.0 2.3
Associate professional and technical 4.1 1.6 2.5
Administrative and secretarial 3.7 1.1 3.5
Skilled trades 2.8 1.9 1.5
Caring, leisure and other service 4.7 1.5 3.2
Sales and customer service 3.7 1.2 3.1
Process, plant and machine 3.7 2.0 1.9
Elementary 6.1 2.5 2.4
 
All Industries 3.9 1.6 2.4

Table notes:

  1. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  2. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Cycling and hours worked

People working 30 hours or less are classified as part-time workers, while those working more than 30 hours are classed as working full-time. In 2011, 3.0% of full-time workers cycled to work while 2.2% of part-time workers did the same.

Table 21 shows how this differs for males and females in the nine English regions and Wales. Males working full-time were slightly more likely to cycle to work than males working part-time. For females, however, there was almost no difference.

The rate of cycling in London for part-time workers is lower than for full-time workers for both males (3.4% compared with 5.5%) and females (1.8% compared with 2.8%).

By contrast, part-time workers in the East of England were more likely to cycle to work than their full-time counterparts for both males (5.0% compared with 4.1%) and females (2.9% compared with 2.2%).

Table 21: Percentage of male and female workers cycling to work by hours worked per week

English regions and Wales, 2011

English region/Wales Males Females
Full-Time1 Part-Time2 Full-Time1 Part-Time2
North East 2.8 2.7 0.6 0.7
North West 3.3 3.2 0.8 0.9
Yorkshire and The Humber 3.4 3.3 1.3 1.7
East Midlands 3.8 3.9 1.2 1.6
West Midlands 3.0 2.7 0.7 0.9
East of England 4.1 5.0 2.2 2.9
London 5.5 3.4 2.8 1.8
South East 3.8 4.4 1.7 1.9
South West 4.9 4.6 1.9 1.8
Wales 2.2 2.2 0.6 0.5
       
England and Wales 3.9 3.7 1.6 1.6

Table notes:

  1. Full-time = more than 30 hours per week.
  2. Part-time = 30 hours or less per week.
  3. a. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

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Background notes

  1. This publication follows the 2011 Census Population and Household Estimates for England and Wales. The census provides estimates of the characteristics of all people and households in England and Wales on census night. These are produced for a variety of users including government, local and unitary authorities, business and communities. The census provides population statistics from a national to local level. This report discusses the results for England and Wales.

  2. The 2011 Rural-Urban Classification can be found on the ONS Open Geography Portal and the 2001 Rural-Urban Classification can be found on the ONS website. 2011 Census data are available from the NOMIS website and 2001 Census data are available via the Office for National Statistics website.

  3. Interactive data visualisations developed by ONS are also available to aid interpretation of the results.

  4. ONS has ensured that the data collected meet users' needs via an extensive 2011 Census outputs consultation process in order to ensure that the 2011 Census outputs will be of increased use in the planning of housing, education, health and transport services in future years.

  5. Figures in this publication may not sum due to rounding. 

  6. ONS is responsible for carrying out the census in England and Wales. Simultaneous but separate censuses took place in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These were run by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) respectively. 

  7. A person's place of usual residence is in most cases the address at which they stay the majority of the time. For many people this will be their permanent or family home. If a member of the armed forces did not have a permanent or family address at which they are usually resident, they were recorded as usually resident at their base address.

  8. All key terms used in this publication are explained in the 2011 Census glossary. Information on the 2011 Census Geography Products for England and Wales is also available.

  9. All census population estimates were extensively quality assured, using other national and local sources of information for comparison and review by a series of quality assurance panels. An extensive range of quality assurance, evaluation and methodology papers were published alongside the first release in July 2012 and have been updated in this release, including a Quality and Methodology Information document (152.8 Kb Pdf).

  10. The 2011 Census achieved its overall target response rate of 94 per cent of the usually resident population of England and Wales, and over 80 per cent in all local and unitary authorities. The population estimate for England and Wales of 56.1 million is estimated with 95 per cent confidence to be accurate to within +/- 85,000 (0.15 per cent).

  11. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

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