This paper compares commuting behaviour in different regions of England, with the primary focus on a set of five northern city regions centred on Manchester whose built environment was forged by very early industrialization. Commuting flows are shaped by local geography, which in the
study area features many similarly sized, closely spaced towns with strongly localized identity, plus a central upland area of the Pennines. Recent policies to improve transport within and between these city regions aim to increase agglomeration economies through increased commuting, a strategy
supported by some research suggesting Pennine region people are unwilling to commute as far as workers elsewhere in England. Analysing data from two sources, Population Census and the National Travel Survey, provides diff ering evidence on regional commuting pa erns. Taking a historical perspective
makes it clear that the distances commuted in the Pennine region are less divergent from the national average than are the longer distances commuted in and near London. The key factors associated with either shorter- or longer-distance commuting in Britain help explain shorter-distance commuting
in the Pennine region and, in so doing, cast doubt on the potential of current policies either to increase longer-distance commuting or to enable many short-distance commuters to adopt a 'middling' distance commute. Labour demand deficiency is the key problem in the region: Pennine region
people could be expected to commute further if more, and more well-paid, jobs were available. The paper also provides an exploratory analysis which suggests that strong localized identity such as that in Pennine towns could be linked to a preference for working nearer to home.
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Document Type: Research Article
December 1, 2019
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