Distance travelled to work


This short article highlights the distance travelled to work results from the 2011 Census of Population. The figures have been downloaded from the Office for National Statistics website (table DC7102EWla) and complement the range of other census data sets that have been added to our website.  

The Lancashire results can be accessed via this link to an interactive report that has the distance travelled to work figures for the 14 Lancashire local authorities. The figures are for usual residents aged 16 and over, and are split by eight distance categories ranging from less than two kilometres to 60 kilometres and over. There are also categories for people who work at or mainly from home, plus an indeterminate 'other' category.

Farmers, pub landlords and owners of Bed & Breakfast establishments have traditional occupations that involve working from home. These are nowadays supplemented by people who take advantage of new technology.  People with no permanently fixed place of work and those working offshore may be allocated to the 'other' category.

 The 2011 Lancashire results and summary findings

A local authority level analysis using interactive maps has been prepared which includes further full details of numbers and rates for the 14 Lancashire local authorities.

  • 15,851 or a substantial 25.7% of Blackpool's working residents aged 16+ commute less than two kilometres. The authority also has the highest percentage in the 2-5km category (28.6%). Preston was the only other Lancashire authority to have over 50% of its workers allocated to the two lowest commuting distance categories.
  • In total, 12,859 or almost 23% of South Ribble residents commute between 5 and 10km. This coincides with the commute to the neighbouring authority of Preston which has a high job-density figure. In addition, the 2011 census results by industry sector reveal that many public-sector workers live in South Ribble, but the figures by workplace show the jobs concentrated in Preston.
  • The figures for three authorities appear to reveal identify commuting patterns to Manchester. Rossendale has the highest percentages in the 10-20 and 20-30km categories. In the latter category, 3,472 (10.5%) of working residents commute a distance that would allow them to reach central Manchester from most parts of the authority. The locations of Lancaster and Blackpool mean few job opportunities in the 10-20km commuting distance.
  • The percentages naturally fall as the distances increase. Chorley and Lancaster were the only two authorities that recorded over 5% of workers commuting between 30 and 40km. People commuting to Manchester from Chorley would fall within this category. Ribble Valley was the only authority with more than 3% in the 40-60km category.
  • The 30-40km commuter distance would give access to Manchester from Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Burnley, but there is little to suggest that there are significant commuter flows. Direct rail services to Manchester from Hyndburn and Burnley from December 2014 onwards may encourage greater flows.
  • In Lancaster district, 2,773 or 4.4% of working residents commute more than 60 kilometres. Once again, Manchester is a likely location for a number of these people. Direct access to the M6 and the West Coast Mainline facilitate longer-distance commuting.
  • The results for Ribble Valley show that 4,175 (14.4%) of working residents aged work mainly at or from home. Agriculture is very important to the local economy so farmers will represent an important proportion of this total. 
  • The 'other' category accounts for around 6-9% of workers in each Lancashire authority. Wyre and Blackpool were alone in having rates in excess of 8%.

Page updated January 2018