Is London a 20-minute city?

Is London a 20-minute city?

Is London a 20-minute city? 

After we went to Liverpool last month it’s time to look at the city of London. 

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It sits along the River Thames. London itself, has been a major settlement as far back at the Roman occupation of Britain, whereby it was known as Londinium. 

Of noteworthy mention: the City of Westminster has for centuries been the location of much of the national government. Thirty-one additional boroughs north and south of the river also comprise modern London. The London region is governed by the mayor of London and the London Assembly.  


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 London are in… 



With an accessibility percentage of 98.94% there is little room for criticism in terms of how many residents and visitors can reach medical treatment with London. 

The medical facilities that we have analysed numbered 3058 registered GPs, Hospitals, A&E and walk-in centres. Although this does not differentiate between private medical facilities and those that are run by the public healthcare system (NHS). It would be interesting in the future to analyse how many patients can access an NHS hospital within 20 minutes of public transport and/or walking. Food for… well… treatment for thought.  




London’s 2021 residing population is now estimated at 9,425,622 (, 2021)  it is no surprise that the largest destination list in this analysis would be the supermarkets. Accessibility to Supermarkets came back at the very high percentage of 99.3% – possibly being the highest accessibility percentage we have or will have during this series of blog posts. The POI data loaded into TRACC 2.0 had the number of registered supermarkets, convenience stores and local independent food stores numbering 9617.

Access to Supermarkets and Hospitals are very similar in the visual representation of how many residents can access these facilities, next we’re going to see whether the education system is as accessible as medicine and food. 


Visually, there are some pockets of London where primary aged students cannot access an education facility within 20 mins (but this is not too dissimilar from those areas where supermarkets and hospitals). Of the 1808 primary schools that were analysed 98.94% of residents in areas with dwellings in London can access as a primary education facility within 20 minutes.



The structure of the contour is very similar to that of the primary schools for the results of Secondary schools, with larger pockets of more than 20 mins in north and south London but the overall accessibility score is still an impressive 97.41%. This percentage leads to an admirable visual output of how many secondary aged students can access educational facilities in 20 minutes, despite having the lowest number of institutions (1005).


And, finally we shall have a look at how we measure the accessibility of all our destinations via the PT stop and their accessibility with 400m.



Thanks to the abundance of public transport options in London numbering in at 25816. It is clear to see that many will have the ability to reach a PT stop within 400m. The actual percentage is only 66.03%. Which many seem too low, and we thought so to. After some further analysis we must remember that there is more than just the train stops, underground station and street level bus stops in London and not all of these are located within the 400m limitation of our 20-minute city. 
To put it another way; the more data points the lower the overall average.  

To conclude, some of the destinations and facilities have an abundance of availability compared to others i.e. food over education but as is the way of most modern city. Education is provided to those within the early years of life and food is distributed to us all residents and visitors to the City of London (whole not City of London borough). There has been many food-for-thought areas which have appeared from this analysis:  

  • The possibility of looking at accessibility of private over public health care providers. 

  • The possibility of looking at the accessibility of public, private and state education facilities and how that affects the 20-minute city.  

  • Alongside, looking at an analysis of each type of public transport within this city and how many of them return an accessibility of 400m of less. 


Next time in our 20-minute city blog series we will be looking at … Manchester! 

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.