Is Manchester a 20-minute city?    

Is Manchester a 20-minute city?    

Is Manchester a 20-minute city? 

After we went to hard-to-compete-with capital city, London, it’s time to look at the Manchester. 

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. 

From the research we’ve undertaken for this series of blogs, we delved deep into the histories of cities like Manchester. The recorded history of Manchester is noted as being the Roman Mancunium (or Mamucium) in 79 CE. 

Throughout the history of Manchester from its humble beginnings it expanded immensely throughout the early 19th century. This growth in urbanisation came from the industrial revolution and the textile manufacturing booming. The city status was established and granted in 1853 and is has continued to grow as the hustling, bustling city we know today. 

The city is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. 


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 Manchester are in… 



With an accessibility percentage of 98.17% there is little room for criticism in terms of how many residents and visitors can reach medical treatment with Manchester (District of).  

With a count of 243 Hospitals, A&Es, walk-in centres and GPs we can see here that many of the residents of Manchester can access these in 10 mins or less. Whilst the overall percentage of all residents from our census data indicates an impressive accessibility score within 20 minutes. Which in itself is nothing to laugh at.  


 Supermarkets, convenience stores and independent food retailers are in an abundance within Manchester; numbering 691 within the Manchester District. With a population of 2,750,120 (, 2021) and can be broken down to that of 4,716 people living per square kilometre and those people require sustenance. Accessibility to Supermarkets came back at the percentage of 97.78% 

Access to Supermarkets and Hospitals are very similar in the visual representation with the exception of supermarkets being more accessible as we can see visually between the two maps. Pockets of white inaccessible with 20 minutes of public transport is seen in that of the hospital’s visual representation of the data.  

Next we’re going to see whether the education system is as accessible as medicine and food. 



Visually, the data for accessibility to primary schools within Manchester resembles that of the medical facilities contour. By this visually, there are several smaller pockets of inaccessibility and one larger area located in the Manchester District ward of Woodhouse Park. Of the 135 primary schools that were analysed,  97.78% of residents in areas with residential dwellings can access this level of education within 20 minutes of public transport. 



As we have seen numerous times throughout this series of blogs, the visual analysis of the secondary school’s accessibility is very similar to that of the primary school facilities. We can see this clearly here also, similar pockets of inaccessibility within 20 minutes but also a larger pocket of inaccessibility in the ward of Woodhouse Park. But still an impressive 96.12% of secondary aged students can reach at least one of the 51 secondary schools with this time frame using public transport.  

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.

The metropoliton area and district of Manchester at the time of writing this blog post has 8980 public transport stops within it’s boundary. Visually there is a striking difference between this representation of the data and the previous maps in this post. There are significant pockets and areas of the Manchester district that the data suggests cannot access a public transport stop within 400m. 

Our calculations have returned with the percentage being: 68.33%. This is not an inherently negative score as we have seen in previous posts areas much larger than the Manchester district have similar accessibility to PT stops in less than 400m also. 

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.  


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

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.