The effect of labour market spatial structure on commuting in England and Wales

Patricia C. Melo, Daniel J. Graham, Robert B. Noland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We examine the relationship between commuting patterns and distances travelled for labour markets in England and Wales and find that there is considerable spatial heterogeneity. To explain the observed spatial variation in the distance-decay of commute trips, we test for the effects of urban structure and transport supply. The results indicate that these factors are important in explaining the observed heterogeneity in the magnitude of the distance-decay gradients. We find that larger, less circular labour markets, with a less urbanized spatial structure and a greater jobs-housing imbalance are associated with a flatter distance-decay of commuting trips. Similar effects are found for labour markets with a more specialized industrial structure and greater availability of railway infrastructure. These are reasonable results since labour markets with the characteristics described above will tend to have a higher proportion of medium and long distance commutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberlbr011
Pages (from-to)717-737
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Commuting
  • Distance-decay
  • Labour market spatial structure


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