Is Cardiff a 20-Minute city? 

Is Cardiff a 20-Minute city? 

Is Cardiff a 20-Minute city? 

You guessed it, another month means another city. We are continuing with our search into the UK’s 20-minute cities, this month we draw our attention to one of the coolest citiesCaerdydd. 

And for those of us who aren’t fluent in Welsh … Cardiff.  


About the Project 

Each month we are focusing on a different city and creating 5 accessibility maps. To supermarkets, hospitals and GPs, primary schools, secondary schools, and public transport stops. 

All the cities begin with a foundation of a detailed road and footpath network, for cities in Great Britain we used OS Highways; now available in Datacutter. On top of this, Basemap layered the public transport network, for consistency, public transport data will all be taken from Q4 2020, allowing for any drastic changes to happen in 2021 without skewing the comparison results. 

For the origins, Basemap created a grid of points based on the city boundary and then found the Points of Interest (POI) within this boundary for each destination type. This means that the accessibility to these destination points could reach beyond the city boundary but for the scope of this series we are specifically looking at the accessibility within the city limits. Due to the different countries within this project, the Points of Interest was sourced from various places and will be referenced for each individual city. 

Having looked at Birmingham last month, we decided to take a trip down the M5 to explore the valleys right on through to Cardiff, whilst doing all this based on the fastest journey time of course 

The results for Cardiff are in… 

When looking at the maps collectively there are visible pockets of rurality within Cardiff where accessibility is lowest. This can be seen predominantly along the Northern and Western boundaries inside the city perimeters.  

Despite having one of the lowest number of facilities (72) out of the maps, general accessibility seems to be very good 

for Hospitals and GP’s due to a relatively even spread of facilities across Cardiff, resulting in 97.51% of residents with access. Where there are gaps in accessibility these can likely be accounted for the lack of destinations in these areas 



 With this being the map with the most destinations (361!)we would have expected this to have a greater level of accessibility when compared to the others. Though this does not seem to be the case with lots of the supermarkets being mostly central. Whilst there is a small pocket of increased access up North, there is a significant reduction in the West, again this could be as a result of fewer supermarkets in this area. However, accessibility remains to be high with results of 97.62%.  






At first, the overall accessibility pattern to any of the 98 Primary schools are very similar to that of Hospitals & GPs. A closer look shows that this is actually better although marginally with slight variations between travel time ranges and census results showing accessibility as high as 97.99% 






Here we see a similar pattern to the Supermarket accessibility. With there being significantly fewer Secondary schools (34)there has been a decline in accessibility, perhaps the lowest accessibility of all the maps.  

Again, it can be said that the rural pockets have had an affect, but we also have to consider the impact that less destination points has on accessibility. Particularly as only 92.23% of 11-16 year old students can access a school. Though this doesn’t mean that accessibility is any way poor when looking at the bigger picture.  

Out of 1348 public transport stops most follow routes going into the centre of Cardiff. Largest gaps of stops are largely in West and North of Cardiff, which could explain the lack of accessibility in these areas in the previous maps.  This isn’t a surprising outcome as Cardiff is cushioned between some very rural districts and valleys, which would affect the location of stops in the city.   These 1348 public transport stops result in a 67.16accessibility. 


 Cardiff has the potential to be a great 20-minute city, but there are two factors that need to be looked at to achieve this. It is evident that when there is an even spread of destination points across the city, accessibility can be very high as shown in the Hospital & GP’s and Primary Schools maps, servicing the right people to the right places. Even then, there are areas which are repeatedly highlighted to have less accessibility where if the availability of public transport stops, primarily in rural/industrial areas, were to increase, we could be seeing a very different picture.  

Next month we are going to do some international travel! … just kidding. We are heading from Wales to Scotland and looking at the first of our two Scottish cities, Edinburgh.

Keziah is the Digital Marketing Executive at Basemap Ltd. She has almost 2 years experience in the digital realm after graduating from the University of Plymouth with a BA in Illustration and a MA in Publishing.