Shape file for Newcastle upon Tyne LSOAs

A little while ago, I was contacted by someone who was looking for a shape file for the Newcastle upon Tyne area, as they wanted to map some data as part of a research project.

It occurred to me that other people might be looking for such a file since, back when I made my maps of transport usage in Newcastle (see previous blog), I’d had to source an ONS shape file of all the LSOAs in England and then manually edit it down to only those contained within the Newcastle area. Should you wish to avoid doing all that work yourself, here is the file!

It is a KML file showing the Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in Newcastle Upon Tyne (2011 boundaries). Click here to download.

Example map, based on the KML file provided above, showing percentage of people walking to work by LSOA.

Mapping Census data from Newcastle commuters

In my current Research Associate role at the Institute for Health and Society, I’m working with a lot of data on travel behaviour, traffic flow and traffic accidents. As part of this, I’ve been having fun mapping Census data on how people travel to work. Since the data are publicly available, it would be a shame not to share some of the interactive maps I’ve built. So here they are. You can open the publicly available interactive maps by clicking on the screenshots below.

The data are organised by Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOAs – read more about ONS geographies here) and the maps were built using Google Fusion Tables, by uploading a CSV of the 2011 Census data on Travel to Work and combining it with a KML file of the boundaries of the LSOAs in Newcastle Upon Tyne, which I created myself. For an introduction to how to create maps using Fusion Tables, go here.

Map 1 – people travelling to work by bus

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those living within a few miles of Newcastle city centre, but not in it, were most likely to travel to work by bus. The proportion of people travelling by bus also tends to be higher in the more economically deprived parts of the city.

Percent travelling by bus


Map 2 – people travelling to work by underground, metro, light rail or tram

No big surprises here. A greater proportion of people reported travelling to work by underground, metro, light rail or tram in the LSOAs with, or near, metro stations.

Percent travelling by metro

Map 3 – people travelling to work by train

As with the other maps, the raw numbers are small, but the greater proportions of the available commuter populations are travelling by train in those LSOAs near central station.

Percent travelling by train

Map 4 – people travelling to work by taxi

Once more, the numbers are small, but I was surprised to see that anyone at all travels to work by taxi. Furthermore, there was a higher proportion of self-reported taxi commuters in the more economically deprived areas of Newcastle. Perhaps these people are taxi drivers?

Percent travelling by taxi

Map 5 – people travelling to work by motorbike

Bikers don’t appear to be numerous in Newcastle, nor does their distribution take on a discernible pattern. However, the biker stronghold of Newcastle seems to be in Coxlodge, where the proportion of people who report getting to work by motorbike reaches its zenith at 1.3%.

Percent travelling by motorbike

Map 6 – people travelling to work by car

The car commute is, of course, the most common. The numbers are high and increase with distance from the city centre, while driving sees its nadir at 17.07%, in the LSOA next to Newcastle Central Station.

Percent travelling by car

Map 7 – people travelling to work as passengers in cars

People getting to work in other peoples’ cars are fewer than those driving themselves.  Interestingly, the patterns also appear to be different, with a higher proportion of car passengers coming from LSOAs at intermediate distances from the city centre.

Percent travelling as car passengers

Map 8 – people who get to work by bicycle

As with many other modes of transport, bar the car, the numbers of people reporting bicycle use are low. However, the higher proportions do seem to be in inner-city LSOAs with thriving student populations.

Percent travelling by bicycle

Map 9 – those who walk to work

Unsurprisingly, the proportions of people walking to work are greatest in the city centre and decrease with distance from the city. However, peak walking proportions are at 49.48% and can be seen in the LSOA adjacent to my place of work.

Percent walking to work

Map 10 – people travelling by other means

These people travelling by “other means” are somewhat of a mystery. The 2011 Census Analysis on Method of Travel to Work in England and Wales Report reported that, “all of the English regions and Wales had less than 1 per cent of people commuting by other means (such as by ferry).” So the 2.88% travelling by other means in Newcastle upon Tyne 024B are an intriguing group. This LSOA is mainly park land, north of the city centre. There is no large body of water in the area, so the ONS assertion that, “ferry and hovercraft services are likely to make up the majority of the other means of commuting to work”, doesn’t explain this particular group of commuters. Perhaps they’re commuting by skateboard, by zip wire, on horseback, or by mobility scooter? Answers on a postcard please.

Percent travelling by other means

Videos: Why should medics care about evolution?

A friend of mine, the wonderful Thomas Carpenter, is currently studying medicine at Edinburgh University. He is part of a group of medical students with an interest in evloution, who are calling themselves the Evolutionary Medics.

The Evolutionary Medics recently ran an event, which was entitled “Bringing Darwin back to Edinburgh: wine, cheese and evolutionary medicine.” The excellent presentations are now available to view on YouTube and I wanted to promote them here:

Dr Sam Brown – Can we make evolution proof drugs?

Prof Gillian Bentley – The Clinical Significance of Evolutionary Medicine