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Hatch Uses TravelTime for Urban Location Analysis

by Victoria Akinsowon on Oct 22, 2020

Hatch is a global management, engineering and development consultancy that provides innovative solutions to drive positive change. The Urban Solutions team at Hatch specialises in research and analysis to enhance cities and their economic development. This includes solutions for improving urban infrastructure, sustainability and the quality of life for local residents.

Since 2016, Hatch’s Urban Solutions team has been using TravelTime’s QGIS plugin to perform location analysis for urban planning. With the plugin, the team can create travel time catchment areas to analyse large volumes of location data.

Compared to traditional catchment areas, this approach paints a true picture of access to a location. It also allows the Urban Solutions team to perform a more granular analysis and provide more meaningful insights for clients.

Creating travel time catchment areas with TravelTime’s QGIS plugin

Hatch’s Urban Solutions team uses the QGIS plugin in a few different ways. Primarily, they use the tool to create travel time catchment areas, also known as isochrones, to conduct socio-economic analysis within a given travel time.

Usually, this kind of analysis is done within an area determined by a distance radius, or “as the crow flies”. However, this approach is often inaccurate, as it ignores the reality of how we access roads and available transport options.

Instead, with the plugin, the team can analyse location data based on transport times. This includes public transport as well as all other standard modes like driving, cycling or walking. They can even use a combination of different transport modes to create travel time catchment areas.

All the team needs to do is pick a tool, enter a few basic parameters, and the plugin runs their analysis in a matter of seconds.

George Harrington, Senior Consultant at Hatch, Urban Solutions, said:

“TravelTime allows us to provide more meaningful insights to our clients. We’re able to use our knowledge of data and layer on more meaning that goes beyond administrative boundaries. We can advise our clients on the functional dimension of their places, providing socio-economic insights on a much more meaningful area.”

Transport network analysis: Using isochrones to analyse the socio-economic impact of a Bakerloo Line extension

Hatch worked with Lewisham and Southwark Councils, alongside Transport for London, to conduct a local economic impact assessment for a proposed extension to the Bakerloo Line. The work focused on understanding the potential economic and social benefits to the areas around the 9 possible new stations.

This included assessing impacts such as jobs created, new commercial and residential development being delivered, land value uplift and gross value added. Central to calculating the impact was defining a “study area” around each station. Within this area, benefits could be attributed to the arrival of the Bakerloo Line.

Hatch used the plugin to determine these study areas. Rosa Sulley, Senior Economic Development Consultant in Hatch’s Urban Solutions team, explains:

“The areas were based on a 12-minute walking time catchment and gave a much more accurate study area than the usual uniform 1km radius.”

Building from the bottom up, Hatch used these individual study areas to define a corridor catchment area. This was then used for the majority of the baseline data analysis.

Travel time catchment area isochrone map

Baseline data on population densityBaseline data on population density

Hatch’s work formed part of a wider joint submission by Lewisham and Southwark with the GLA and TfL to the Planning Awards. They won the award for joint collaboration for infrastructure planning, which you can see here.

Urban infrastructure analysis: Using travel time to assess the local impact of Covid-19

Hatch also helped Coast to Capital, a Local Enterprise Partnership, to publish a report examining the economic impact of Covid-19 in the Coast to Capital area.

The area stretches from Croydon, South London, down to the South coast. Using the TravelTime geocoder and isochrones tool, Hatch mapped out how many people live within walking and cycling catchment areas from urban centres within the area.

The map was used to highlight areas requiring travel infrastructure improvements in light of the pandemic.

Travel infrastructure improvement mapMap highlighting areas requiring travel infrastructure improvements in light of Covid-19

What are the benefits for Hatch?

Previously this kind of analysis would be time-consuming, so the TravelTime plugin saves the team at Hatch a great deal of time. Now, Hatch can simply layer the data on top of each other, running large datasets in a simple click of a button.

“We deal with massive datasets, with some covering every business or premises in the UK,” says Harrington. “TravelTime’s geocoder tool allows us to quickly take these huge datasets of millions of rows and map them for more detailed and locally specific analysis.”

Hatch’s research is also more evidence-based and meaningful than ever, with unique travel time insights that allow the team to answer some of the biggest challenges facing cities today. This innovative approach, and the data visualisation it provides, give Hatch a clear-cut advantage in a competitive bidding process. Whether relating to Covid-19, sustainability or active travel options, the detail and meaning behind Hatch’s analysis puts them at the forefront of urban economic development.

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