With the official census date of 21st March 2021 I will be writing a series of short blogposts looking back on the results from 2011 and asking what might be different this time around. This series is partly to support an AHRC-ESC funded project on Community Radio and Lost Voices.

This post will look at travel to work. Our first graph provide looks at the overall stats on how people get to work. The dominance of yellow shows how reliant we are on cars. In most of the region 70% of us travelled to work by car – dropping to 50% in Leicester City. With the search for a more sustainable way of living there will be hopes that use of bus, cycle and walking are higher this time around. One things is for sure – home working is likely to be much higher than than the 10% it was in 2011.

If we delve into the data then we see some notable gender differences. The next chart compares men and women in both Leicester and Leicestershire. It shows that women are much more likely to walk to work or travel by bus. Indeed, in 2011 it was the case that one in five women walked to work and just short of one in five got the bus. Men were much more likely to work from home and cycle. Is this different preferences or a sign of inequality of opportunity?

Our next chart compares White, Asian/Asian British and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British in both Leicester and Leicestershire. Black/African/Caribbean are less likely to drive to work compared to their white and Asian counterparts, and they are more likely to use the bus. Overall, though, travel to work seems similar in both Leicester and Leicestershire across these broad ethnic groups.

Finally, if we look at specific industry sectors then we some some big differences. The following charts look at car use, bus use and then bicycle and walk to work. Those working in the accommodation and food sector (i.e. hotels and restaurants) were least likely to drive and most likely to walk or cycle. Those in manufacturing were least likely to use the bus but relatively likely to walk or cycle. This all points towards limited public transport options outside Leicester city centre.

So, what might be different in 2021? A key question will be whether we are any less reliant on the car. Is public transport getting people to work? Are people able to walk or cycle to work? What are the gaps in the transport infrastructure that the local councils can fill?