Conurbation boundaries from R14 onwards

Each year, Route updates the inputs to its model, such as ticket data for transport systems. Population figures and footfall numbers must be kept up to date so that Route audience estimates are too.

In 2015, a significant change to the Route geography was made. Release 14, and subsequent releases, contain boundary definitions based on 2011 Census data.

Below, the boundary updates are shown pictorially. Light pink indicates the areas that have been looped in to conurbations. Purple denotes the earlier definition present in Route R13 and all prior releases.

Note that dark blue areas are those which have been removed from R14 onwards compared to R13, such as the Sunderland area in the Tyneside image.

What are the main changes?
  • Southampton and Portsmouth have been joined up to form South Hampshire
  • Southend-on-Sea, not previously part of Route geography, has been included
  • The city of Sunderland has been removed from the Tyneside conurbation
  • The majority of conurbations have been enlarged

To learn more about how the conurbation definitions were produced, see http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/ref/builtupareas_userguidance.pdf for details.

Please note that only the conurbations with significant boundary changes have been depicted. A spreadsheet giving population figures is available here.


Some postcode sectors in the east of Bournemouth have been excluded. A large area has been included to the north west.

2015 boundary Bournemouth

Brighton and Hove

Some postcode sectors in the east of Brighton have been removed.

2015 boundary Brighton


Several postcode sectors have been added to the Bristol conurbation.

2015 boundary Bristol

Kingston upon Hull

Some postcode sectors have been added to Hull.

2015 boundary Hull


Leicester’s boundary has been increased.

2015 boundary Leicester


Large areas around the London suburbs have been included in the 2011 conurbation definition. Part of the Southend-on-Sea area can be seen on the right edge of this image.

2015 boundary London

The North West (Liverpool, Birkenhead, Manchester, West Yorkshire, Sheffield)

Significant sized areas have been included in the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire conurbations.

2015 boundaries Birkenhead, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, West Yorkshire


Nottingham’s population has increased a little.

2015 boundary Nottingham

South Hampshire

South Hampshire is the name for what was previously defined as two conurbations, Southampton and Portsmouth. A large area included in the 2011 definition joins these two cities.

2015 boundary South Hampshire


Owing to the amalgamation of Southampton and Portsmouth into one conurbation area, Southend has been identified as a top 24 conurbation, in 2011. It did not exist in Route data R13 or earlier.

2015 boundary Southend


A handful of postcode sectors are included in the R14 definition of Stoke-on-Trent (previously called The Potteries).

2015 boundary The Potteries


The area covered by the Teeside conurbation has grown, largely in the west.

2015 boundary Teeside


The most important change to the Tyneside conurbation is that the Sunderland area has been excluded from R14 onwards.

2015 boundary Tyneside

Wales (Swansea, Cardiff)

We see increases in the areas of both Swansea and Cardiff conurbations.

2015 boundaries Swansea, Cardiff

West Midlands

A number of changes are seen for the West Midlands conurbation.

2015 boundary West Midlands