Analysis of the 2011 Census for England and Wales: Trends Related to Population Density and the "Peak Car" Phenomenon



Analysis of the 2011 Census for England and Wales: Trends Related to Population Density and the "Peak Car" Phenomenon

Authors

Tim Gent, WSP, Dan Raizman, UCL

Description

Analysis of the 2001 and 2011 Census for England and Wales, and trends in traffic levels, to investigate evidence for 'Peak Car' and in particular relation to population density.

Abstract

"This paper utilizes evidence from the 2001 and 2011 Census for England and Wales, coupled with analysis of traffic flow data over this period to reveal trends in Land Use and Transport, focusing on attributes that relate to the ‘peak car’ phenomenon and the extent to which these have a spatial dimension. Two different approaches were used to attempt to show how spatial relationships may help explain these changes.

First, 338 districts of England and Wales were grouped by population density, and trends in demographic and travel behaviour trend were assessed. This approach revealed that similar trends often apply to areas of the same density, independent of the region within the country. This result was tested for transport behaviour (car ownership and method of travel to work), as well as other demographic attributes such as age, working status and household size.

Second, a new methodology using maps to visually analyse the trends in car ownership was used. Car ownership is compared against population density, before analysing potential relationships between these trends and other demographic variables. Trends in traffic count data are analysed, based on UK Department for Transport Annual Average Daily Flows (AADF) and compared with Census trends. While causal relationships cannot be confirmed based on the aggregate nature of the data, visual and statistical analyses assess potential relationships between changes in variables.

The results confirm that Land Use and particularly density have a large role in determining trends in demographics, travel behaviour and ultimately traffic flows. Car ownership changes, relative to the population of eligible drivers, reveal declines in the largest cities, but increases in the vast majority of areas. The results contribute to the debate regarding trends in car ownership and use, and point to further analysis which will be possible with existing traffic count datasets, and emerging results from the 2011 Census."

Publisher

Association for European Transport