Skip to main content

Travel time to major cities

The world is shrinking. Cheap flights, large scale commercial shipping and expanding road networks all mean that we are better connected to everywhere else than ever before. Accessibility - whether it is to markets, schools, hospitals or water - is a precondition for the satisfaction of almost any economic need. The new map of Travel Time to Major Cities -developed by the European Commission and the World Bank- captures this connectivity and the concentration of economic activity. It also highlights that there is little wilderness left. The map shows the travel time (in hours/days) to major cities (i.e. cities of 50,000 or more people in year 2000) using land (road/off road) or water (navigable river, lake and ocean) based travel.

RCoE Action:

Nelson, A. (2008) Estimated travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people in year 2000. Global Environment Monitoring Unit - Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Ispra Italy. Available at (accessed dd/mm/yyyy)


Accessibility maps are made for a specific purpose and they cannot be used as a generic dataset to represent "the" accessibility for a given study area. The data presented here were used to create an urban/rural population gradient around large cities of 50,000 or more people. Check the assumptions made in the generation of this accessibility map by visiting

Select for mapping