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Journey to work measurement

Home working is increasing. Traditionally mode split data on the journey to work was just that. Now, however, a new category (or "mode") is often included, for example in the 2011 UK Census. 

The inclusion of "work at home" is of questionable value. Working at home does not involve a journey and therefore inclusion in the journey data distorts the picture. As homeworking grows this distortion will become more and more significant, especially in comparisons between the journey to work and other journey purposes. If the data are primarily intended as a tool of transport and accessibility planning, then including activities that do not involve travel seems illogical. If the same approach were taken in mode split data for all journey purposes then we would need to include "recreation and leisure at home", "eating at home", "education at home", and increasingly of course with the rise of the internet "shopping at home". This would clearly be ridiculous. So why, then should working at home be included in the Census journey to work data?

The practice is justified perhaps if the data are not seen primarily as transport data, but relating instead to working habits. It is interesting to monitor the extent of homeworking, but in my view this should be presented separately from data on method of travel to work.

The key mode split from the 2011 Census data show that working at home accounts for around 10-15% of employment practice (see chart in right sidebar).

For an example of the distortion of produced by the inclusion of home working, see the data for Cambridge 2011 (right sidebar).


Journey to work, home working, peak hour, peak travel, mode split, Cambridge,

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Journey to work mode split, England and Wales, 2011
Cambridge mode split 2011

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