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Commuters travel further to work than 10 years ago

Latest Census figures show increasing distances travelled to work

The latest 2011 Census figures show the average distance travelled by commuters to work has increased in all English regions and Wales. Commuters resident in the Midlands and the South West had the largest increase in average distance travelled to work at 2.2km further than in 2001, while residents in the East of England travelled the furthest to work on average, at 17.3km. Commuters in only four regions travelled, on average, further than 16km to work in 2011. These were the East of England, Wales, South East and North East.

Chart: Average distance travelled to work by residents of English regions and Wales in 2001 and 2011

Chart: Average distance travelled to work by residents of English regions and Wales in 2001 and 2011

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The decline of the regular commute

Despite the average distance travelled to work increasing, a smaller proportion of workers made a regular commute in 2011, at 81% of workers, than they did 10 years ago (86%). This was caused by the fact that the number of people who worked from home increased by a quarter and the number of people who either had no fixed place of work, worked outside the UK or on offshore installations more than doubled, to 2.2 million, over the decade (95% of these 2.2 million had no fixed place of work).

The census does not directly identify the reasons for the increase in the numbers of commuters who do not have a fixed place of work.  It does show that those with no fixed workplace or working abroad were more likely to be male, more likely to work in the construction industry or a skilled trade occupation, and more likely to be part-time workers. 

The map shows the percentage of working residents with no fixed workplace or working outside the UK in 2011 for local authorities in England and Wales. The local authorities with the highest percentage of residents in this category in 2011 were Newham (16.3%), Waltham Forest (15.3%) and Brent (14.6%), all of which are in London. The local authorities with the lowest shares were Copeland (5.4%), Cambridge (5.8%) and Carlisle (6.0%).

Map 1: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category

England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Map 1: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category, England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

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Where can I find out more about distance travelled to work statistics?

These statistics were analysed using the results of the 2011 Census. For more information about cycling to work figures, read the full article. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at: better.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Categories: Travel and Transport, Roads, Public Transport, Transport in London, Usage of Public Transport, Other Modes of Transport, Labour Market, People in Work, Hours of Work
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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