At Nomad Digital we are rail connectivity specialists and we truly understand the importance of being connected – it is an essential aspect of modern life
Never has the crucial nature of connectivity been more obvious than throughout the course of 2020, as the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic. On one hand, with so many of us being mobilised to work from home, the need for a powerful internet connection was recognised but, equally, when we did need to travel, we realised how important it was to have a smooth, reliable transport service.
While millions of workers, fulfilling their tasks from home, placed a significant strain on domestic broadband, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, a number of bus and rail provisions were moved to a reduce timetable, one similar to that of a Sunday service.
For some cities, pressured internet and reduced transport was unnoticeable, for others however it played a significant impact.
That got us thinking – which is the UK’s most connected city and perhaps more importantly, which is the least? By cross-referencing the number of train stations in the city, number of bus stops per 100,000 people, and broadband signal ranking, we have detailed the most connected cities in the UK – we’re confident some of the rankings will be a surprise.
We can confirm that the East Anglian City of Ely is the worst connected city in the UK based on the metrics. London, meanwhile, unsurprisingly ranked as the most connected city overall.
The North Wales Cathedral city of Bangor comes out on top in the bus stop rankings, with 50 per cent more bus stops per 100,000 people than any other city — in doing so, they trumped fellow Welsh cities Cardiff and Swansea in the overall connection rankings.
In Scotland, the situation was very much the same with Dundee beating its larger counterparts, the capital Edinburgh and their biggest city Glasgow, to the title of Scotland’s most connected city.
As for Northern Ireland, residents of Belfast will be pleased to discover that their city ranked third overall in the UK, thanks to its particularly impressive broadband score. Hull, however, topped the chart in this department, with broadband five times better than that of London.
Surprisingly, despite ranking so highly in regard to broadband connectivity, people in Yorkshire are among the UK’s least concerned about digital connectivity, sitting considerably below the national average when it comes to being constantly connected online and not necessarily feeling closer to people through the power of the internet.
Bangor’s broadband signal rank is one of the worst in the UK despite GlobalWebIndex data detailing that Welsh people are the most likely to search online for information before checking anywhere else.
Global Marketing and Event Manager at Nomad, Vicki Sloan said: ‘It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that London topped the pile, but we were surprised to discover their broadband score was the sixth worst in the UK, with Hull ranking number one in that department. Being constantly connected is becoming the expected norm and at Nomad we believe that this should not stop when you step onto a train or bus – our vision is to connect everything and our study was a great way to provide us with valuable UK connectivity insights.’
Physical transport plays a poignant role in the quality of everyday life, in a variety of ways. A dependable public transport offering reduces the need for personal vehicles and therefore significantly reduces congestion. Less cars on the road, similarly, means enhanced urban space, which translates into more room for leisure and relaxation.
As for the UK’s reliance on public transport for commuting to work and back, it’s found that only 27 per cent of people that work in and around London commute to work by car, with the vast majority of individuals rely heavily on public transport to get to work. With this said, if public transport were to worsen, causing individuals to be persistently late or unable to attend work, this could indirectly affect the UKs productivity output. Not only does this lower the level of goods and services that are available in the economy, potentially causing shortages, it also limits the opportunities for pay rises – since the lower productivity is, the less money firms have to cover overhead costs.
The environmental benefits of dependable public transport are often overlooked too. The more reliable transport such as buses and trains are, the stronger the incentive is for individuals to favour them over personal vehicles. Ultimately, this decreases the level of emissions that are released into the atmosphere, contributing towards the government target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Transport is crucial for enabling communication and encouraging economic growth. Tourism is one such aspect of this, considering the two entities are inextricably linked. Last year the UK welcomed 40.9 million tourists who spent approximately £28.4 billion on attractions and additional expenses – this being an almost invaluable contribution to the wealth of the UK economy. ‘Without tourism, England would be likely to lose many of the public transport services that are currently provided and benefit residents as well as visitor.’
Similarly, without transport, tourists would not be attracted to visiting, since convenience and accessibility to tourist hotspots is of vital importance to everyone when visiting from afar. Instead, the risk of potential tourists opting for alternative destinations that offer more in the way of connectivity may be preferred.
Something which isn’t up for debate is how much better trains are for the environment than single occupancy vehicles. Rail transport, dubbed the most environmentally friendly way to travel, produces 80 per cent less greenhouse gas per kilometre than cars. As highlighted before, the Government’s 2050 reduction in emissions target could arguably not be achieved without the assistance of trains acting as an advocate for a greener world.
Connection is key
Public transport does more than just get us from A to B, it has also been suggested to improve our mental wellbeing than commuting by car. Although it’s often assumed that commuting with large crowds of people and dealing with delays and disruptions causes stress and annoyance, studies suggest otherwise. Travelling for work or leisure via bus or train gives people time to relax, perhaps even read a book, have a short walk to the station beforehand, or catch up with friends over the phone – all of which aren’t possible whilst driving. With all things considered, the connectivity in the UK cannot be stressed enough.
Sam Taylor is Nomad Digital’s Marketing Campaigns and Content Executive