The world is shrinking. Cheap flights, large scale commercial shipping and expanding road networks all Wilderness? Only 10% of the land area is remote – more than 48 hours from a large city mean that we are better connected to everywhere else than ever before. But global travel and international trade and just two of the forces that have reshaped our world. A 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 and also highlights that there is little wilderness left. The map shows how accessible some parts of the world have become whilst other regions have remained isolated.
Accessibility – whether it is to markets, schools, hospitals or water – is a precondition for the satisfaction of almost any economic need. Furthermore, accessibility is relevant at all levels, from local development to global trade and this map fills an important gap in our understanding of the spatial patterns of economic, physical and social connectivity.