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Defining labour market areas by analysing commuting data: innovative methods in the 2007 review of Travel-to-Work Areas

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Mike Coombes



This chapter draws on research undertaken in revising a set of functional regions known as Travel-to-Work Areas (TTWAs) which are the only official statistical areas in the UK defined by academics. The objective of the research is to define the maximum possible number of separate TTWAs that satisfy appropriate statistical criteria that ensure the areas meet guiding principles for labour market area boundary definition. Thus, the research is an example of a functional regionalisation which is highly constrained by the purpose to which the resulting boundaries will be put. The chapter briefly reviews previous TTWA definition methods, setting this in the context of the very limited academic research on regionalisation methods. The production of the 2001 Census commuting data provided opportunities for defining new labour market areas and the chapter explains how the TTWA research has responded with several key innovations. The empirical component of the chapter then illustrates the effect of these innovations by presenting a new visualisation of the workings of the definition method and also some analysis of the sensitivity of the results to changes in the method. Finally, there is a very brief look at some possible ways in which this field of research could be extended.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coombes M

Editor(s): Stillwell, J., Duke-Williams, O., Dennett, A.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Technologies for migration and commuting analysis: spatial interaction data applications

Year: 2010

Pages: 227-241

Publisher: IGI Global

Place Published: Hershey, PA

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781615207558