Here’s everything we learned from this election-themed tube map we just made

Oooooh. Image: TfL/Ed Jefferson.

It is ELECTION TIME, so I thought it was time for CityMetric to have exciting NEW MAP: the TUBE MAP of MPs!

No, this is not some hilarious satires where I label Chuka Ummana as an interchange between the red line and the yellow line LOL!!! I have instead just drawn dots on the actual tube map to indicate which party currently controls the constituency it’s in – or at least did before parliament was dissolved. Because I wanted to.

Some caveats:

1) To work this out I looked up the postcodes for each station in the parliament website’s “find your constituency” tool (or squinted at maps in cases where the stations have no postcode). Some stations are very close to constituency boundaries so might be considered debatable – if you think I’ve given a station the incorrect affiliation please feel free to details this by writing a letter in green crayon then flushing it down the toilet.

2) Probably the “right” way to represent this data is one coloured dot per station but I enjoyed placing multiple dots to “fill in” the more complicated stations like Euston so I did it anyway? Use blue crayon to complain about this one.

Here’s the map.

Click to expand. Image courtesy of TfL.

Anyway, what does this actually tell us?

Outer London is full of Tories, don’t go there

Apart from South East London – except this is misleading because my map doesn’t include the National Rail stations which form a lot of the transport there so just don’t go there anyway.

This is even starker if you look at it by zone (with the inevitable exception of Zone 1 for fairly obvious reasons).

The Toriest Line is: the Metropolitan Line

And that’s not even counting the stops that are currently “independent” due to David Gauke not being a Tory anymore.

The Labourest Line is: the Emirates Airline?

Sure? With 100 per cent of its two stops in Labour constituencies they should start piping in “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” over the speakers as you descend towards the Millennium Dome I guess.

Meanwhile in actual transport infrastructure, the DLR has over 95 per cent of its stops in Labour areas.

The Lib Dem-est line is the tram.

It’s on the only line with any Lib Dem stops at all, and even it isn’t veeery Lib Dem – they only “hold” 2 stations.

Cross party stations

The only “linked” stations on the map that cross parties are Tower Hill and Tower Gateway – Tower Hill is Labour, while Tower Gateway, lying just over the border in the Cities of London and Westminster, is Conservative. Why not interview some people walking between one and the other in a futile attempt to divine something?

Anyway isn’t something happening today???

The election could of course rewrite the political tube map entirely! Well, a few bits of it.

In south west London we can see that Yougov’s latest MRP numbers suggest that Richmond Park is going to flip back to the Lib Dems while Putney could swing to Labour

 

Image courtesy of TfL.

As could Chipping Barnet in the north:

Image courtesy of TfL.

 

Here’s the full map according to YouGov predictions:

Click to expand. Image courtesy of TfL.

And here, if you’d really like, is an exciting interactive map where you can compare this with the current situation and that after the last three elections.


 

 
 
 
 

Tackling toxic air in our cities is also a matter of social justice

Oh, lovely. Image: Getty.

Clean Air Zones are often dismissed by critics as socially unfair. The thinking goes that charging older and more polluting private cars will disproportionately impact lower income households who cannot afford expensive cleaner alternatives such as electric vehicles.

But this argument doesn’t consider who is most affected by polluted air. When comparing the latest deprivation data to nitrogen dioxide background concentration data, the relationship is clear: the most polluted areas are also disproportionately poorer.

In UK cities, 16 per cent of people living in the most polluted areas also live in one of the top 10 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods, against 2 per cent who live in the least deprived areas.

The graph below shows the average background concentration of NO2 compared against neighbourhoods ranked by deprivation. For all English cities in aggregate, pollution levels rise as neighbourhoods become more deprived (although interestingly this pattern doesn’t hold for more rural areas).

Average NO2 concentration and deprivation levels. Source: IMD, MHCLG (2019); background mapping for local authorities, Defra (2019).

The graph also shows the cities in which the gap in pollution concentration between the most and the least deprived areas is the highest, which includes some of the UK’s largest urban areas.  In Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham, there is a respective 46, 42 and 33 per cent difference in NO2 concentration between the poorest and the wealthiest areas – almost double the national urban average gap, at around 26 per cent.

One possible explanation for these inequalities in exposure to toxic air is that low-income people are more likely to live near busy roads. Our data on roadside pollution suggests that, in London, 50 per cent of roads located in the most deprived areas are above legal limits, against 4 per cent in the least deprived. In a number of large cities (Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield), none of the roads located in the least deprived areas are estimated to be breaching legal limits.

This has a knock-on impact on health. Poor quality air is known to cause health issues such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and asthma. Given the particularly poor quality of air in deprived areas, this is likely to contribute to the gap in health and life expectancy inequalities as well as economic ones between neighbourhoods.


The financial impact of policies such as clean air zones on poorer people is a valid concern. But it is not a justifiable reason for inaction. Mitigating policies such as scrappage schemes, which have been put in place in London, can deal with the former concern while still targeting an issue that disproportionately affects the poor.

As the Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook report showed, people are dying across the country as a result of the air that they breathe. Clean air zones are one of a number of policies that cities can use to help reduce this, with benefits for their poorer residents in particular.

Valentine Quinio is a researcher at the Centre for Cities, on whose blog this post first appeared.