Developments in long distance commuting to London
The stimulus for this work is the development in long distance commuting to Greater London, from areas beyond the South East Region, which has been increasing since the early nineteen fifties. Evidence of this is reported in the five censal periods dating back to 1966. Arising from this factor, the key objective, in this thesis has been to identify and understand the factors, which are generating the increase in the above movement. The methodology developed, in response to the above objective, had two interdependent stages. The first was a general descriptive analysis, undertaken at the aggregate level, which aimed to identify the contributory factors behind the increasing trend of LDC to London. The second was the undertaking of a new survey to identify and explain, at the disaggregate level, factors which are contributing to the general increase in LDC earlier described. Stated preference methods were used to test LDCs' sensitivity to journey time and price elasticity, which by industry's evidence are known to affect commuting behaviour. A logit formula was then applied to explain the latter. Other issues (economic activity, demography, location of residence relative to employment), which affect commuting behaviour were also investigated. The framework developed proved powerful enough to shed light on some of the key factors affecting LDC to London. Our findings indicate that, within the increasing trend of LDC to London, the traditional form of commuting from a fixed rural residence to a fixed workplace in London is still maintained. But advances in technology and communication (including transport) and the hub of commercial enterprise are creating a new type of LDC, who like their traditional counterparts, are commuting from fixed rural residences but to `multi-work destinations', including London, during the working week. LDCs are also responding to opportunities that exist in the London labour market - rather than the local market. This is not unusual. LDCs are highly skilled (SOC 1-3) and there may not be opportunities locally to suit inclination, training and skills. What is unusual is that many of those involved in this type of movement were formerly SDCs, who have chosen to retain rural residence and commute long distance to employment in London. This was contra to the conventional concept of LDC. LDCs are therefore far more mobile than was previously considered and it is these factors (not seen elsewhere in published literature), which are contributing to the increasing trend in LDC to London.