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CURDS research underpins new TTWA definitions of the Office for National Statistics

CURDS research underpins new TTWA definitions of the Office for National Statistics

RR2015-05 commissioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), including new analyses of 2011 Census data on commuting patterns, forms the basis for ONS’s newly-revised Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs). It is a unique achievement for academic researchers to undertake, for four decades running, the research needed for updating official statistical areas.


TTWAs are the local labour market areas (LLMAs) used by the UK Government and others so that comparisons between areas on key issues such as unemployment rates are meaningful. They are also widely cited in debates about appropriate areas for policy delivery at scales such as city regions.


CURDS has developed and refined the analysis method underpinning TTWA definitions and this method has been recognised internationally as ‘best practice’ approach to defining LLMAs. In particular a RR2013-00 led to the method being adopted as the basis of its proposals for ‘harmonised’ LLMA definitions right across Europe.
The new definitions of TTWAs are also a key input to RR2015-06 used by the Centre for Cities to monitor and analyse Britain’s cities and city regions.


CURDS researchers who undertook the research were Mike Coombes (Professor of Geographic Information) and Dr Colin Wymer (CURDS Visiting Fellow).

published on: 5 January 2016