20-Minute Cities In Summary
About the Project
Every month of 2021, accessibility to supermarkets, hospitals and GPs, primary schools, secondary schools and public transport stops were assessed for a different city in the UK.
All the cities begin with a foundation of a detailed road and footpath network, OS Highways. On top of this, Basemap layered the public transport network, for consistency, public transport data (utilising data from, Q4 2020), allowing for any drastic changes to happen in 2021 without skewing the comparison results.
The scope of the series was specifically looking at accessibility within the city limits therefore the origins were created using the city boundary. The Points of Interest (POI) within this boundary for each destination type was then selected.
We did divert a little by also taking a look at Sydney, whereby the data for this was sourced elsewhere.
Here are the final results once more:
Looking back at each city we certainly saw some interesting results over the year, and truth be told, the findings defied our own expectations.
Normally when I think of a city size’s geographically, I believed that a larger public transport network naturally means a better level of access. Though this may still ring true for some cities it isn’t necessarily the case with them all. Drawing on from what we found with Birmingham and Manchester, for example, these are both rather large cities yet public transport access remained well under 70%. Again, defying the odds considering that they both ended up with average access over 90%, with London and Cardiff following suit.
Now from a population perspective, the results for Glasgow left a lot to be desired, which had a substantially low % of access to stops despite it being one of the top largest cities in the UK. It clearly goes to show there is more to a city’s accessibility than meets the eye.
Bringing us nicely to one of the other factors that came to light; geography. I think it was around the time we reviewed Belfast that the natural make-up of a city had a lot to answer for. Yes, I admit that stunning views are a welcomed trade-off, it does however run the risk of having less coverage of stops resulting in lowered access to key sites as was witnessed in Belfast.
Let’s not forget that Belfast did also draw attention to how the number of destinations should be taken into consideration. The fewer the destinations, the less accessible they become. And we soon saw other cities such as Cardiff and Edinburgh following suit. These two cities especially showed us that it’s all about location, location, location. With an incredibly high number of supermarkets, (yes, access was incredibly high!) but it was surprising to see there was room for improvement. It goes to show that the placement of sites is equally important.