Is Leeds a 20-minute City?

Is Leeds a 20-minute City?

Is Leeds a 20-minute City?

July is here and so is the British Summer time, but not a typical British summer. I can actually see a burning ball of fire in the sky, not behind clouds for once: something that always LEEDs a smile on our faces here at Basemap.

Now with that hideous excuse for a pun, can you tell which city we are looking at this month?

It LEEDs us astray from the very important blog post at hand – to assess whether Leeds the city has an infrastructure to be called a 20-minute city.

Located in Northern England, Leeds is the largest city in the county of West Yorkshire entire population 1,902,696. Leeds has the second-highest population of any local authority district in the UK (after Birmingham), and the second-greatest area of any English metropolitan district (after Doncaster), extending 15 miles (24 km) from east to west, and 13 miles (21 km) from north to south.[1]

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.

So, the results of our TRACC analysis of Leeds are in…


When viewing the maps it appears that there are large pockets around Leeds that are inaccessible to all the POIs (supermarkets, hospitals and GPs, schools and PT networks) but the devil is in the detail when combining the travel time contour and the census data – these pockets outside the contour may have no residents therefore not impactive the percentage results.

We’re starting with the highest number of destination points within Leeds; the 759 supermarkets and convenience stores. Our analysis has shown that 95.53% of Leeds residents (both in the Metropolitan areas and the urban areas) have access to a place to buy essential groceries and shopping within a 20-minute public transport travel time. This is a great start to highlight whether Leeds is truly a 20-minute city.

With this in mind, let’s move on to the access of key medical facilities (Hospitals, GPs and walk in centres). As we have stated before “access to medicines as one of the fundamental … rights of everyone” (resolution 12/24: 11/10/2010) as stated by the Human Rights Council and we will see whether this holds strong for Leeds.

Compared to last month’s city, Glasgow, Leeds has 100 more GPs and hospitals (Overall 172). The vast majority of these healthcare facilities are located in the more densely populated areas of city. After running the calculations, we have observed that 97.12% of all residents are able to access medicinal treatment within 20 minutes of access. If we look closer at the visual information presented, there are many residents who can access these facilities in less than 10 minutes (lighter blue).

On to education… ready open those textbooks and learn something new?

In the urban areas of Leeds there is a large amount of primary schools accessible by public transport in less than 20 minutes. As we can observe here using the TRACC created contour the majority lay within the areas that more densely populated area of the city and suburban development sites.

The census analysis solidifies this with 95.51% – which is no laughing statistic – given that there are only 234 institutions.


Unlike primary schools in Leeds, there are only 43 secondary schools. And, the number of 11-16 year olds who are able to reach this institution in 20 minutes or less is 93.98%. Albeit the low number of institutions, the contour shown highlights that many of the residents in this age range will be able to get there in 10+ minutes when using public transport. But as we can plainly see there are several areas within the boundary that students will not be able to make it in under 20-minutes if there reside in less metro areas.


Here we have the PT stops and although we have a multitude of PT stops within Leeds, the local accessibility analysis is quite poor in comparison to other cities we’ve seen in previous monthly blogs.

After running our calculations (and what can be seen on this map) there is only a 65.74% of people who are able to access a public transport stop within 400 metres. The majority of PT stops are either bus or nation rail stops. We have seen many times in the news that Leeds are adding various transport options to their area most recently in 2019 by Boris Johnson.

Looking at the comparison table we can see how much of an impact the PT stops has on Leeds’s overall score, if were to take this out of the Leeds moves significantly further up the table from 89.58% to 95.54%.


To conclude Leeds, in an interesting city to analyse. Whilst there is a typically low accessibility to PT stops the statistics speak clearly for themselves that most residents in their age ranges are able to reach their destinations in 20 mins or less.

Next month we are sticking with the L’s and heading over to Liverpool!

[1] (Office for National Statistics (2001). “Census 2001:Key Statistics for urban areas in the North; Map 6” (PDF). United Kingdom Census 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2009)

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 an MA in Publishing.