2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Distance to Work

This variable presents the distance between a person's Place of Usual Residence (PURP) and Place of Work (POWP). It is applicable to all persons aged 15 years and over who stated their labour force status as 'employed'. The calculation of these new data items used existing Census data. This provided a way to increase the value of Census data without asking additional questions on the Census form.

How this variable is created

Distance to Work (ranges) (DTWP)

Distance to Work (DTWP) is a measurement of the distance travelled between a person's Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work. The data item was created using a combination of existing statistical and geospatial data to make new calculations. An assumption in the calculation of this data is that a person has followed the shortest path with no stops when commuting to work.

The data was calculated using the shortest path of a road network, or where this was not possible a straight line distance, between a person's Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work. As a straight line distance is likely to under represent the true distance of a commuting route, a correction factor was incorporated by multiplying the straight line distance by 1.3. This value was selected based on ABS analysis on the difference between road network and straight line distance, and the value also aligned closely with similar studies (Broscoe, Henry & Zdeb 2012; Goncalves & Neves 2014; Newell 1980). The source of road network data was Navteq July 2016, produced by HERE Technology.

The data should be considered an estimate as it was a measurement between the centre point (or centroid) of the Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work, noting that the location of the centroid in the Mesh Block was weighted based on the location of residential and commercial addresses respectively. Mesh Blocks are the smallest geographical area defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and form the building blocks for the larger regions within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

Distance to work data has been presented in a hierarchical classification with four levels of distance ranges. Please see the Appendix for details on the classification of these ranges.

For persons who lived and worked in the same Mesh Block and their Mode of Travel to Work was not recorded as 'Worked from home', 'Did not go to work' or 'Mode not stated', a small distance has been calculated where the centre points for Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work were weighted to different locations.

The nil category includes:

  • Persons who stated they 'Worked from home', 'Did not go to work' or 'Mode not stated' and their Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work were the same
  • Persons with the same Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work where the centre points were not weighted to different locations

The Not Applicable (@) category includes:
  • Persons who were unemployed, not in the labour force, or whose labour force status was not stated
  • Persons under 15 years of age
  • Overseas visitors
  • Persons who were coded to Special Purpose Codes


Imputation Flag (IFDTWP)

The Imputation Flag for Distance to Work (IFDTWP) variable indicates that a person's distance to work was calculated using a straight line or road network distance. The straight line distance was only used where there was a break in the underlying road network data, for example, a person travelled between an island and the Australian mainland. Overall, 95.3% of people's commuting distances were calculated using a road network, 0.2% were calculated with a straight line distance, while 4.5% could not be calculated (see Not Applicable categories). This is applicable to all persons aged 15 years and over who stated their labour force status as 'employed'.

IFDTWP variable categories are shown below:

1 Distance to Work calculated with a straight line distance
2 Distance to Work calculated with a road network distance
@ Not applicable

The Not Applicable (@) category includes:
  • Persons who were unemployed, not in the labour force, or whose labour force status was not stated
  • Persons under 15 years of age
  • Overseas visitors
  • Persons who were coded to Special Purpose Codes

Mode of Travel to Work (MTW06P, MTW15P)

The Mode of Travel to Work (MTW06P, MTW15P) is a variable derived from the Census item Method of Travel to Work (MTWP) which records the method used to travel to work on the day of the Census. The Mode of Travel to Work classification has been sourced from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), and is applicable to all persons aged 15 years or over who state their labour force status as 'employed'.

Mode of Travel to Work has been presented in a hierarchical classification of two levels: a general level, with 6 modes of transport (MTW06P) and detailed, with 15 modes of transport (MTW15P). The classes within these classifications are shown below:

Mode of travel used for commuting to work

Mode of Travel to Work Codes
(MTW15P)
Mode of Travel to Work Description
(MTW15P)
Mode of Travel to Work Codes
(MTW06P)
Mode of Travel to Work Description
(MTW06P)

01
Train
1
Public Transport
02
Bus
1
Public Transport
03
Ferry
1
Public Transport
04
Tram
1
Public Transport
05
Taxi
1
Public Transport
06
Car, as driver
2
Vehicle
07
Car, as passenger
2
Vehicle
08
Truck
2
Vehicle
09
Motorbike/scooter
2
Vehicle
10
Bicycle
3
Active Transport
11
Other Mode
3
Other Mode
12
Walked only
4
Active Transport
13
Worked at home
5
Worked at home or Did not go to work
14
Did not go to work
5
Worked at home or Did not go to work
15
Mode not stated
6
Mode not stated


Variable history
Distance to Work (DTWP), Imputation Flag for Distance to Work (IFDTWR) and Mode of Travel to Work (MTW06P, MTW15P) are new variables for 2016.

Non-response rate
Distance to work does not have a non-response rate as it is a derived value for applicable persons. Non-response rate only applies to data items that directly reflect responses to individual Census form questions.

For more information, refer to Census of Population and Housing: Understanding Census and Census Data, Australia 2016 (cat. no. 2900.0).

Data usage notes
The distance to work data is available within TableBuilder Basic & Pro and is provided as a hierarchical classification (see Appendix) of four levels of distance ranges, at increasing detail.

Place of Work and Method of Travel to Work are collected on the Census form but represent different reference periods. The Place of Work represents the address of the main job held the last week before the day of the Census, while Method of Travel to Work represents how the person travelled to work on the day of the Census. As a result, in some cases a distance between a person's Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work has been reported for Mode of Travel to Work such as ‘Worked at home’ or ‘Did not go to Work’ where the Mesh Block of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work was not the same.

The distance recorded for persons who were away from their Usual Residence on Census night may not be indicative of their typical journey to work. For example, a Fly-in, Fly-out worker may have recorded their Usual Residence in Sydney but their main job held the last week before the day of the Census (Place of Work) was in Western Australia. In these cases, a large distance would be recorded.
Further information
For more information related to Distance to work, see the data quality statements for Method of Travel to Work and Place of Usual Residence, which can be used in conjunction with the Place of Work variable.

For further information about the ASGS please refer to the following publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics have conducted a similar study called Australia's Commuting Distance: Cities and Regions.


List of References
Boscoe, FP, Henry, KA & Zdeb, MS 2012 , A Nationwide Comparison of Driving Distance Versus Straight-Line Distance to Hospitals, The Professional Geographer,vol 64, no 2 10.1080/00330124.2011.583586.

Gonçalves, D & Neves, S 2014 , Analysis of the Difference between the Euclidean Distance and the Actual Road Distance in Brazil, Transportation Research Procedia 3, pp 876-885.

Newell, G 1980, Traffic Flow on Transportation Networks, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Appendix
Distance to Work (DTWP) Ranges

1Nil distance
10Nil distance
100Nil distance
1000Nil distance

2Over 0 to less than 2.5
20Over 0 to less than 1
200Over 0 to less than 0.5
2000Over 0 to less than 0.5
2010.5 to less than 1
20100.5 to less than 1
211 to less than 2.5
2101 to less than 2.5
21001 to less than 1.5
21011.5 to less than 2
21022 to less than 2.5

32.5 to less than 10
302.5 to less than 5
3002.5 to less than 5
30002.5 to less than 3
30013 to less than 4
30024 to less than 5
315 to less than 10
3105 to less than 10
31005 to less than 6
31016 to less than 7
31027 to less than 8
31038 to less than 9
31049 to less than 10

410 to less than 30
4010 to less than 20
40010 to less than 15
400010 to less than 11
400111 to less than 12
400212 to less than 13
400313 to less than 14
400414 to less than 15
40115 to less than 20
401015 to less than 16
401116 to less than 17
401217 to less than 18
401318 to less than 19
401419 to less than 20
4120 to less than 30
41020 to less than 25
410020 to less than 21
410121 to less than 22
410222 to less than 23
410323 to less than 24
410424 to less than 25
41125 to less than 30
411025 to less than 26
411126 to less than 27
411227 to less than 28
411328 to less than 29
411429 to less than 30

530 to less than 50
5030 to less than 50
50030 to less than 40
500030 to less than 32
500132 to less than 34
500234 to less than 36
500336 to less than 38
500438 to less than 40
50140 to less than 50
501040 to less than 42
501142 to less than 44
501244 to less than 46
501346 to less than 48
501448 to less than 50

650 to less than 250
6050 to less than 100
60050 to less than 60
600050 to less than 52
600152 to less than 54
600254 to less than 56
600356 to less than 58
600458 to less than 60
60160 to less than 80
601060 to less than 62
601162 to less than 64
601264 to less than 66
601366 to less than 68
601468 to less than 70
601570 to less than 72
601672 to less than 74
601774 to less than 76
601876 to less than 78
601978 to less than 80
60280 to less than 100
602080 to less than 85
602185 to less than 90
602290 to less than 95
602395 to less than 100
61100 to less than 250
610100 to less than 250
6100100 to less than 110
6101110 to less than 120
6102120 to less than 130
6103130 to less than 140
6104140 to less than 150
6105150 to less than 200
6106200 to less than 250r

7250 and over
70250 and over
700250 and over
7000250 to less than 300
7001300 to less than 350
7002350 to less than 400
7003400 to less than 600
7004600 to less than 800
7005800 to less than 1000
70061000 to less than 3000
70073000 and over

@Not applicable
@@ Not applicable
@@@ Not applicable
@@@@Not applicable