Sep 24, 2021 • Blog

10 Ways to Use Travel Time Data to Analyse Locations

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When it comes to location analysis, travel time data plays a crucial role. Whether it’s assessing the value of real estate, identifying the right retail location or planning for future transport developments, analysing travel time data can bring to light valuable insights and help to make important business decisions.

To give you some inspiration, in this post we’ll explore just some of the ways in which different industries are using travel time to enrich their location analysis.

Real estate applications

1. Calculating the value of a property

You can use travel time data as part of your geospatial analysis to assess how travel times impact the value of a commercial or residential property. This could include, for example, calculating the proximity of a property to key amenities like schools, gyms or public transport links.

public transport catchment area

Overlaying the public transport catchment areas around a potential property investment with the different facilities in the area

2. Assessing the impact of a new office location on employee commute times

If you’re planning an office move or expanding to a new office location, you can use travel time data to assess how far employees will need to commute to work.

By analysing employee commute times for a set of potential office locations, you could then select the office location that would be the most convenient for staff.

You could also use a similar analysis to decide how best to allocate employees between multiple existing offices, based on ease of commute.

employee commute time analysis

Analysis of employee commute times using the TravelTime ArcGIS add-on

Read more: How to Use Geospatial Technology for Office Relocation Analysis

3. Evaluating real estate investments

The geospatial team at property consultancy, Knight Frank, uses travel time data to gain additional insights on journey times for all transport modes, including public transport. The team can then use this data to assess the value of investing in a property.

For example, the visualisation below shows travel time catchment areas around a number of sites by driving and by public transport.

By comparing these difference catchment areas, it’s possible to identify which location would likely be the best investment for a specific type of real estate — for example, a new office or retail location.

travel time catchment area

Travel time catchment areas help to pinpoint the right location for a specific use case

Read more: How Knight Frank uses TravelTime Analytics to Improve Location Analysis

Retail applications

4. Choosing the right store location

When it comes to choosing the location for a new store, travel time data can help retailers identify the area with the best accessibility for customers.

For example, you could use the TravelTime add-on to calculate public transport, driving and walking catchment areas for any location.

Layered with demographic data, you could also analyse the reachable population within a particular area, using these insights to then select the best store location.

retail site selection analysis

Calculating the reachable population around a potential retail store location by public transport

5. Conducting a competitor analysis

Travel time data can add additional insights to your competitor analysis — for instance, calculating that customers have to travel further to visit a competitors’ location could mean that it is worth expanding into a particular area.

driving catchment area analysis

Driving catchment area analysis of competitor stores vs current store portfolio

6. Marketing and advertising

Marketing teams can use travel time data to better segment and target customers.

For example, IKEA’s marketing team uses travel time data to understand how far customers need to travel to reach a specific IKEA store. Based on this journey time data, the marketing team can segment its customers and create more targeted marketing campaigns.

drive time map

Drive-time map used to create targeted advertising based on customer location data

Transport planning applications

7. Comparing accessibility by different transport modes

Adding public transport data can offer additional insights when running an accessibility study. This allows you to create catchment areas showing all of the reachable locations within a time limit from a point of origin, using any mode of public transport.

As an example, the visualisation below illustrates the differences between driving and public transport catchment areas.

The areas in red show the locations that are reachable within a 1 hour journey by public transport, but not by car. In contrast, the blue areas show the locations that are reachable within a 1 hour journey by car, but not by public transport.

catchment area analysis

Catchment area analysis

If we ignored public transport when running an accessibility study like in the above example, we’d get an incomplete and potentially misleading analysis.

8. Performing a public transport network analysis

Running a public transport network analysis can be particularly helpful for infrastructure planning. For example, creating public transport catchment areas can identify public transport black spots that require new routes.

public transport network analysis in arcgis
public transport network analysis in arcgis

Running a public transport network analysis

In the example above, we’ve taken the stations from the London rail network and created 10-minute, 20-minute, and 30-minute walking catchment areas around each one. This allows us to identify areas that are currently not being served by the rail network.

Read more: How to Perform a Public Transport Network Analysis in ArcGIS Pro

9. Assessing transport network capacity

You can use travel time data to assess the capacity of any transport network.

For example, the visualisation below takes a sample of origins and then calculates the driving routes to a destination of interest.

By analysing where these individual routes converge and overlap, the visualisation can be used to identify areas of the road network which may potentially become congested.

transport network load analysis

Example transport network load analysis

10. Planning for future transport network developments

Travel time insights can help to better understand the impact of future transport network changes.

The proposed extension of the London Underground Northern Line is one example of this. Using the TravelTime ArcGIS add-in, it’s possible to analyse what impact the extension may have on the surrounding areas.

For example, the visualisation below shows the areas that are reachable within 20 minutes by public transport from Kennington station.

The green shape shows the area reachable on the standard network, while the red shape shows the reachable area using the Northern Line extension.

Northern Line Extension catchment area

Analysing the potential impact of the Northern Line Extension, using the TravelTime add-in for ArcGIS Pro

One way to use this analysis could be to assess the impact on real estate investments in those reachable areas.

Read more: How to Add the Northern Line Extension to Your TravelTime Analysis

Conclusion: Enrich your location analysis with travel time data

Adding travel time data to your location analysis gives you more opportunities to get new insights and enhance your decision making.

The examples here are just some of the ways in which you can begin to use travel time data to enrich your location analysis — but the possibilities are endless.

If you’re looking to get started with travel time analysis, the TravelTime ArcGIS add-in lets you easily incorporate travel time data into your geospatial analysis.

You can get started by signing up for a free trial of the ArcGIS add-in. From there, you’ll be able to create travel time catchment areas, analyse journey times and much more.


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