Employment and commuting
This section explores information on commuting patterns and the characteristics of commuters into and out of the district. Comprehensive data on commuting can currently only be obtained from the ten-yearly Census of Population, which matches respondents’ home addresses to those of their places of work. The results of the 2001 Census, which have recently become available, are the primary source of information for this analysis.
A summary of the main points follows. This section of the report is available to download in full:
Changes between 1991 and 2001
The key points on commuting into and out of Calderdale are:
- altogether, almost 45,000 people travel into or out of Calderdale to work
- more than one quarter of residents in employment work outside the District
- almost one quarter of people in employment within Calderdale travel from other areas
- almost 5,000 more people travel out of Calderdale to work than travel in, confirming that the employment of residents has increased faster than employment within the district
- between 1991 and 2001, the number of people commuting out of Calderdale and into Calderdale both rose by over 20%
- Calderdale’s “daytime population” aged 16-74 is smaller than its resident population of that age, reflecting net out-commuting. However, these figures do not take account of shopping and other purposes for people to come to or leave Calderdale.
The impact of the above may include the following:
- there are increasing numbers travelling during the rush hours every day
- the implications of this for road congestion and crowded trains are evident and visible with knock-on effects on people’s time and health, on freight transport and on local and wider pollution. In addition, the duration of the rush hour is getting “stretched” in both the morning and the evening
- as an ever greater proportion of employment in Calderdale comes from outside, and larger numbers of residents work outside the District, the link between the nature of the economy and the social composition of residents is reduced. This can have implications for the sort of retailing and other businesses that the towns of Calderdale can support, and for the other facilities required by residents
- where there are clear social and income contrasts between out- and in-commuters, there are likely to be implications for the levels and nature of housing demand and the availability of affordable housing.
Working at or from home
In parallel with the growth in commuting, there has been a dramatic rise in numbers working at or from home. This is not a simple definition, since some people may work at home most of the week but go to work some days; others may work from home (and so have no other “place of work”) but travel a lot in their work. 12% of the workforce (almost one in eight) now either work from home or have no fixed place of work.
Distance travelled to work
Accompanying the growth in commuting, there has also been an increase in distance travelled to work.
- commuters travel far greater distances than Calderdale residents working within the District
- almost two thirds of all commuters travel 10 kilometres or further
- out-commuters tend to travel further than in-commuters, with 35% travelling further than 20 km (against 28% of in-commuters)
- in the course of the decade 1991 to 2001, the proportion living within 5 kilometres of work fell by 9%, whilst the proportion who work more than 10 kilometres from home has risen to over one quarter. These changes are much more significant for travel volumes than the effect of more residents working at or from home.
- the average distance travelled to work by Calderdale residents in 2001 was 11.0 kms. compared to 13.3 kms. for England. (These figures exclude those working at/from home)
- in comparison, the average distance travelled by all people working in Calderdale in 2001 was 8.0 kms., a rise of 2.6 kms. (48%) on 1991
- these two figures confirm that on average out-commuters from Calderdale travel substantially further than in-commuters into Calderdale.
Origins and destinations of commuters
The map illustrates daily trips in and out of Calderdale. It shows that the districts / towns to which Calderdale “loses” commuters are principally Bradford (net out-commuting of about 2,400), Leeds (2,300) and Greater Manchester (1,540). Huddersfield is the one area from which Calderdale has a large net “gain” – of about 2,000 per day.
Changes in commuting between Calderdale and other West Yorkshire Districts, Greater Manchester, and the rest of the UK
- there is a net outflow of commuters to Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Greater Manchester, and the Rest of the UK
- in contrast, there is a substantial net inflow from Kirklees
- for all 6 of the areas / Districts named above, there has been an increase in commuting both to and from Calderdale
- however, the extent of this increase has varied greatly. The smallest increases have been in Bradford (7% more commuting to Bradford and 16% more from Bradford) and Kirklees (15% and 7.5%). The largest increase has been commuting to or from Leeds (up 44% and 82% respectively), with commuting to and from Wakefield and the rest of the UK also having grown rapidly
- despite the overall increase in numbers commuting, in the case of Bradford, Wakefield and the Rest of the UK, the size of the net outflow has actually decreased, suggesting a trend towards a more balanced flow
- similarly, the net inflow from Kirklees has fallen, again hinting at a more even flow
- the size of the net loss to Leeds has increased, but less rapidly than the growth in commuting, again suggesting a slight balancing of the flows
- only with respect to Greater Manchester has the net outflow increased more rapidly than the overall change in commuting.
Mode of travel
Commuting has a big impact, largely because of the greater distances involved, on mode of travel. About 20% fewer people living and working in Calderdale use the car to travel to work than is the case amongst commuters, the difference being accounted for almost entirely by bus travel and going to work on foot. These two modes, together with bicycle, account for about one third of journeys to work amongst this group.
Amongst commuters, Calderdale residents commuting to other areas are substantially more likely to use the train (6.0% against 1.9%). The explanation may be related to greater congestion involved in travelling into Bradford, Manchester or Leeds in the morning, than travelling to towns in Calderdale from these localities.
- both for Calderdale residents and for all working within Calderdale, there has been a continued shift towards travelling to work in one’s own car
- the percentage increase in car drivers is almost exactly matched by the decreased percentage using the bus. There has been a substantial increase in the number of Calderdale residents using the train to travel to work, amounting to about 500 people (a 38% rise). However, its share in 2001 remains very small
- the percentage using bicycle or motorcycle remains at about the 1991 level, around 2% combined
- walking to work has continued to decline. This is likely to be more as a result of greater distances travelled to work than reluctance to walk
- perhaps surprisingly in the context of greater congestion, there has been no shift towards travelling to work as a passenger (which could be seen as an imperfect proxy for car sharing).
Profile of commuters
Whilst younger adults (under 35) are the largest group of in-commuters to employment in Calderdale, the middle age group (aged 35-49) makes the largest group of out-commuters. For both in-commuting and out-commuting, the “propensity to commute” falls considerably in the 50+ age group.
Substantially more men than women commute. This can be attributed to the far higher part-time working rate amongst women, associated with childcare. Further, it is often not financially worthwhile travelling the longer distances usual in commuting where work is only part-time.
Breaking down the rates of commuting into and out of Calderdale for different industrial sectors, we see the following:
- there is a substantial range of commuting rates. The proportion of employment in different sectors composed of in-commuters is highest in the Finance (32%) and Manufacturing (26%) sectors
- the lowest rates are 17% (Hotels & Restaurants) and 18% (Transport, Storage & Communications)
- out-commuting rates are highest for residents working in Finance; Transport, Storage & Communications; and Public Administration, Health, Education & Social Work
- out-commuting rates are lowest in the Hotels & Restaurants sector.
These characteristics reflect trends in employment growth which were summarised in Part 1, along with the higher income levels in professional occupations (see also following information on Occupations).
A break-down of commuting patterns by occupation shows:
- commuting remains much higher among Managers, Professionals, and Associated Professional & Technical Occupations. These three occupational groups account for 55% of out-commuters and 53% of in-commuters
- people in Personal Service, Sales & Customer Service, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives, and “Elementary Occupations” account for 24% of Out-Commuters and 23% of In-Commuters, despite accounting for 40% of residents working within Calderdale
- Managers and Skilled Trades account for more in-commuters than out-commuters, whilst among Professional and Technical occupations the reverse is true.
The contrasts between commuters and non-commuters is likely to reflect pay and the trade-off between time taken and pay/career advancement. The relatively small differences between in- and out-commuters may be the result chiefly of the sectoral changes discussed above, with managers and skilled trades being highly represented in Finance and Manufacturing respectively.
Results from the Calderdale Household Survey, 2005, carried out by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), suggest a very strong contrast in qualifications between Calderdale residents working in Calderdale, in-commuters and out-commuters. Most notable is the very high qualification levels of out-commuters, with almost 47% having an NVQ Level 4 qualification or above, almost double the proportion among residents working within the District and also far higher than the figure for in-commuters.
Traffic and travel
The rise in employment, growth in the rate and distance of commuting, and increasing use of the car to travel to work have combined to produce an increase of approximately 3,000 in the number of Calderdale residents travelling to work each day in their own car between 1991 and 2001. Over the same period, there has been a decrease in bus usage, for travel to work, of a similar number, possibly up to 4,000.
Journeys to work by Calderdale residents are only part of the traffic picture. The above estimates do not include in-commuters to Calderdale, people commuting through Calderdale to work, or the rise in travel as part of work, including the movement of freight.
In addition to travel to work and travel in work, there are other developments that have had a very substantial effect on the amount of journeys made, and the amount of road traffic. Broadly, these fall into the following categories:
- travel for leisure purposes. This has been affected by the rapid growth in car ownership, including numbers of households with more than 1 car and numbers of young people owning or having access to cars
- shopping. Growth in out of town shopping and the readiness to travel long distances to shops. Car ownership and use is dynamically related to such developments
- the “school run”. For a range of reasons, numbers of children being taken to work in a car has risen very substantially over the last decade.
Of these three developments, the journey to school has had the most marked impact on rush hour traffic, in particular the morning rush hour. Although it is partly a local issue, there is a general impact on traffic beyond the neighbourhood of schools.
Data on vehicle registration shows that the number of vehicles registered in Calderdale has risen by 60% since 1979, to a total of 82,660 in 2002. In the last ten years (1992-2002) the increase has been 15%.
This number represents an average of about 1 vehicle per household. The 2001 Census showed that 25% of households now have two or more cars although 31% of households did not own a vehicle.
Rush hour traffic
Traffic surveys provide data on weekday traffic flows across the District boundary on major roads. Comparisons of the peak flow into and out of the District in 1999 and 2003, undertaken by Calderdale MBC Regeneration and Development Directorate, Transport Section, show fairly moderate changes over the 4 year period, with increases in the number of vehicles coming into Calderdale but decreases in those going out. This reinforces the earlier observation that out-commuters are now somewhat less car-dependent than in-commuters, and may reflect the greater congestion or other difficulties (such as parking) in the destinations of out-commuters. (The data, of course, relates only to the specified rush hours and will not reflect movements starting before or after these hours.)
Comparison of cordon surveys measuring the amount of traffic travelling into or out of a town on a number of key routes in 1993 and 2003 show a slower increase in the Halifax peak flows than those of Brighouse and Rastrick or Sowerby Bridge. This may be indicative of the impact of congestion, and may suggest either a relative shift to other modes or increasing spreading of the rush hour flows outside the two peak hours.