EXPLANATORY NOTES
INTRODUCTION
1 This publication, Census of Population and Housing: Commuting to Work  More Stories from the Census, 2016, adds to the existing suite of Census products created from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. The data and articles presented in this publication provide insight into commuting patterns and behaviours across Australia.
DISTANCE TO WORK
2 The Distance to Work data, or commuting distance, provides a measurement of the distance travelled between a person's Mesh Block of Place of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work. An assumption in the calculation of this data is that a person has followed the shortest path with no stops when commuting to work. Detailed information on the how commuting distances were calculated can be found on the Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat. no. 2900.0) page.
3 The data is applicable to all persons who stated their labour force status as 'employed'. It excludes persons who were unemployed, not in the labour force or labour force status not stated, as well as overseas visitors and those aged less than 15 years.
Data Cubes
4 The table below provides a summary of all data cubes included in the Downloads tab.
COMMUTING DISTANCE DATA CUBES

Data cube number  Data cube name  Attributes  Output geography 

1  Commuting Distance from Place of Usual Residence  Number of employed people living in region (no.)
Average commuting distance (kilometres)
Median commuting distance (kilometres)
Interquartile range (kilometres)
Standard deviation (kilometres)  National
State/Territory
Greater Capital City Statistical Area
Significant Urban Area
Local Government Areas
Statistical Area Level 4
Statistical Area Level 3
Statistical Area Level 2 

2  Commuting Distance to Place of Work  Number of employed people living in region (no.)
Average commuting distance (kilometres)
Median commuting distance (kilometres)
Interquartile range (kilometres)
Standard deviation (kilometres)  National
State/Territory
Greater Capital City Statistical Area
Destination Zones
Local Government Areas
Statistical Area Level 4
Statistical Area Level 3
Statistical Area Level 2 

3  Commuting Distance by Personal Characteristics  Number of employed people living in region (no.)
Average commuting distance (kilometres)
Median commuting distance (kilometres)
Interquartile range (kilometres)
Standard deviation (kilometres)  National
State/Territory
Greater Capital City Statistical Area
Statistical Area Level 4 

5 The first and second data cubes provide summary data on commuting distances from the lens of people who live in an area (Place of Usual Residence) and people who work in an area (Place of Work) respectively. The data has been presented for various statistical geographies sourced from the
Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
6 The third data cube provides commuting distance data based on where people live classified against other personal characteristics captured within the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. These include; age, sex, occupation, industry, income, education and mode of transport. The data has been presented for several levels of the
ASGS.
7 Users of the data cubes should note:
 People who commuted 250 kilometres or more are excluded from the statistics.
 Persons who were coded to Special Purpose Codes are excluded from the statistics. Nonspatial geographies (e.g. Migratory  Offshore  Shipping) are excluded from the data cubes as commuting distances were not calculated for these areas.
 Nil distances have been included in the calculations of average commuting distance, median commuting distance, Interquartile range and standard deviation. Information on nil distances can be found on the Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat. no. 2900.0) page.
8 Other data usage notes:
 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.
 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 Place 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 Place of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work was not the same.
 The distance recorded for persons who were away from their Place of Usual Residence on Census night may not be indicative of their typical journey to work. For example, a flyin, flyout worker may have recorded their Place of 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. Distances greater than 250 kilometres have been excluded from the statistics presented in the data cubes.
 The data is a measurement between the centre point (or centroid) of the Mesh Block of Place 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. A consequence of measuring distance between the weighted centroid of a person's Mesh Block of Place of Usual Residence and Mesh Block of Place of Work is this method can yield a different commuting distance to that which was taken. This limitation is most visible for short journeys such as walking to work.
 The commuting distance data has been measured using a road network or straight line distance, which may not provide an accurate representation of distance for some modes of travel such as walking or rail.
 Each person’s Mode of Travel to Work is based on their primary response to the Method of Travel to Work question on the Census form. For example, if their Method of Travel to Work was ‘Train, ferry’ the Train category would have been used as the Mode of Travel to Work.
 More information can be found on the Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat. no. 2900.0) page.
GeoPackages
9 The data contained in the first and second data cubes have also been presented as Geopackages in the
Downloads tab.
10 Geopackages are typically suitable for experienced Census data users who have access to a Geographical Information System (GIS). GeoPackages hold and merge (in a database container), data from the 2016 Census DataPacks with boundary data from the ASGS.
11 The field structure of the Geopackages are described in the following table:
GEOPACKAGES FIELD DESCRIPTIONS

Commuting Distance from Place of Usual Residence 

Field name  Description 
Geography_Code  Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) code 
Geography_Label  Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) label 
Count  Number of employed people living in region (no.) 
Average  Average commuting distance (kilometres) 
Median  Median commuting distance (kilometres) 
Interquartile_Range  Interquartile range (kilometres) 
Std_Dev  Standard deviation (kilometres) 

Commuting Distance to Place of Work 

Field name  Description 
Geography_Code  Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) code 
Geography_Label  Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) label 
Count  Number of employed people working in region (no.) 
Average  Average commuting distance (kilometres) 
Median  Median commuting distance (kilometres) 
Interquartile_Range  Interquartile range (kilometres) 
Std_Dev  Standard deviation (kilometres) 

12 Users should refer to the footnotes and usage notes related to data cubes before using the Geopackages.
TableBuilder
13 The commuting distance data is available within
TableBuilder Basic & Pro, as
a variable called Distance to Work. This data has been presented in a hierarchical classification with four levels of distance ranges. Please see the appendix of the
Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat. no. 2900.0) page for more details on the classification of these ranges.
JOURNEY TO WORK FEATURE ARTICLE
14 The Journey to Work in Australia feature article has been authored by Jim Cooper and Jonathan Corcoran from the University of Queensland.
15 Selfcontainment is defined as when a person’s Place of Work was in the same Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) as their Place of Usual Residence.
16 It is important to note that comparisons of selfcontainment at SA4 level between cities are affected by the number and size of the SA4s that they contain. In particular, Hobart, Darwin and the Australian Capital Territory each contain a single SA4 as defined by their Greater Capital City Statistical Area boundaries.
17 Data for commuting modes presented in this article reflect only the journey to work, not travel for other purposes.
18 In this article, ‘commuters’ are employed people excluding those who worked at home or had no fixed Place of Work on Census day. The sections on SelfContainment and Patterns of Commuting are based on employed people, excluding those with nonspatial geographies and data coded to no fixed workplace address or no usual address.
19 Net flows are the total inflow minus the total outflow between two specified regions. Net effect is the sum of net flows from a location to all other regions, or in other words, the total of all inflows minus the total of all outflows for a single region.
20 See the
ASGS for more information on the levels of geography that have been used in this article.
INTERACTIVE MAPS
21 Four interactive maps have been created to allow users to explore the commuting behaviours and patterns for Australians visually by Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2s). The interactive maps are;
22 A different picture of commuting distance and journey to work emerges depending on which way we look at the origin and destination of workers. The commuting distance and journey to work for a community will typically differ depending on if we look through the lens of people who live in that area (Place of Usual Residence) and people who work in that area (Place of Work). Separate maps were produced to allow users to view data from Place of Usual Residence and to Place of Work.
23 The data presented in the commuting distance interactive maps can be found within the first and second data cubes on the
Downloads tab, while the journey to work data can be viewed from
TableBuilder Basic & Pro. Information about the geography used in the maps is available on the
ASGS page.
24 Users of the interactive maps should note:
 The commuting distance and journey to work interactive maps have used different input datasets and are not directly comparable.
 The commuting distance interactive maps exclude commutes 250 kilometres or more, persons who were not employed and persons who were coded to Special Purpose Codes, nil distances have been included.
 The journey to work interactive maps excludes persons who were not employed, but have included persons with commutes of 250 kilometres or more. Special Purpose Codes have been included in the statistics, but are omitted in the interactive maps as they relate to nonspatial geographies. For example, Map 1 on the Interactive Maps  Journey to work page lists 'No fixed address' as the sixth most common response from the residents of Melbourne.
 The journey to work maps display both lines and a choropleth map (areas are shaded in proportion to the measurement of the statistical variable) representing the numbers of people commuting between an origin SA2 and destination SA2. The lines represent the most frequent commutes between SA2s, while the choropleth map provides a more complete picture of the journey to work. A filter of 100 SA2s has been applied to the choropleth map to maximise performance.
 Small random adjustments have been made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from the table totals.
RELATED RELEASES
25 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. These can be found in
Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat. no. 2900.0).
26 More analytical articles from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing can be found in
Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia  Stories from the Census, 2016 (cat. no 2071.0).
27 For further information about the ASGS please refer to the following publication:
Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1  Mains Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).