The PCT team is excited to announce that our new LSOA-level route network feature is available in the interface. Downloads will take a little longer – we’re working on an improved data downloads page that will include this and other material.

But right now, you can view the LSOA-level route network, which has the major advantage of including a lot more flows, including (i) many flows that were within MSOAs, but are between LSOAs, and (ii) cross-regional flows (not currently included in the MSOA-level flow data, which can lead to artificially low flows at the borders of PCT regions).

For those of you familiar with the MSOA network the LSOA is a little bit different. Technically it is a raster (picture) not vector. So you can’t click on it, instead the colour coding gives you information on cycling volumes.

We’ve added in some information to our manuals – specifically sections B (how to use the PCT) and C (methods). It is copied below.

Manual B (How to Use the PCT)

The PCT now offers a LSOA level route network. This provides more granular detail, because we route cyclists from LSOA rather than MSOA centroids. LSOAs are around a quarter the size of MSOAs. While still approximate – particularly for workplaces, because the centroids are weighted to resident population – the LSOA layer allows greater accuracy in routing cycling to and from origins and destinations.
The LSOA level route network involves an improvement that we hope to extend to the MSOA flow data: it includes flows that cross regional boundaries, leading to an increase in accuracy towards the edge of a region, rather than removing flows from (for instance) Lancashire into Yorkshire.

The LSOA layer’s additional accuracy necessitates a substantial amount of additional data, and so it is rendered differently from the MSOA layers. The MSOA layers are vector data, while the LSOA layer is a raster. It is not clickable in the online interface in the same way that the MSOA layer is, and there is a legend illustrating different categories of flow, from under 10 to over 2,000.


For the LSOA layer, data downloads on the PCT site will be available in late Spring 2017. They will consist of:
1. Area-level data, similar to that provided for the MSOA layer.
2. Fast and quiet route data, similar to that provided for the MSOA layer.
3. Raster data for the Route Network layer, which can be opened in GIS programmes.
4. On the UK Data Archive site (as safeguarded data due to small cell sizes), lines data similar to that provided for the MSOA layer.

Manual C (Methods)

The LSOA-level route network layer
The LSOA-level route network layer is generated at LSOA level. This new dataset has a much higher geographical resolution, as LSOAs are on average less than a quarter the size of MSOAs: there are 32,844 across England. The number of OD pairs with a distance

The LSOA-level route network layer provides a more detailed geographical resolution and can model the route for many short trips that were ‘within zone’ in the MSOA layer.  This combination means that for some routes (e.g. busy main roads in London) the LSOA layer estimates a substantial uplift in modelled cycling flows. The LSOA-level route network also overcomes a number of other limitations of the existing PCT flow data, in particular the current exclusion of cross-regional flows. While the MSOA-level route network excludes commuters who cross regions, who travel on routes with relatively few commuters, and can only visualise up to 50% of the network, the LSOA-level route network includes all who commute within England, all LSOA-level OD pairs, and visualises the whole network.