Cambridge Ahead Surveys Region's Workers on Quality of Life

A survey conducted for Cambridge Ahead found that making the region a better place to live requires a rounded approach. The city's leaders have taken on board the survey's findings and made a real impact.


Municipalities such as Cambridge in the United Kingdom compete with surrounding areas and internationally to attract employers and talented individuals. As these municipalities ask what factors contribute to productivity, innovation, and resilience, the issue of quality of life and local area satisfaction have become increasingly important.

To better its understanding of what the typical employee of a Cambridge business feels about their current quality of life, Cambridge Ahead undertook a survey, through its membership base, targeted at the working population of Cambridge. The ultimate goal of this effort was to find ways to improve the quality of life for all workers across the demographic spectrum and make Cambridge a competitive location for attracting and retaining talent.


RAND Europe, a member of Cambridge Ahead, administered the survey, which asked respondents about overall quality of life as well as more detail on their use and the quality of local services across a range of areas, including health and transport.

By gathering and sharing this level of intelligence, Cambridge Ahead and other interested parties – including GCGP LEP, the Chamber of Commerce and other business-led organisations – will be better positioned to understand the issues presented, to prioritise where the need lies, and to act upon them where appropriate. Findings

The project team found that:

  • Housing and traffic are the areas of most concern.
  • Respondents are satisfied with other local services and amenities.
  • Satisfaction with local services and amenities varies across demographic groups.
  • People who work in Cambridge live across a wide area.
  • There are noticeable differences between people living inside and outside the city.
  • Satisfaction with different areas is associated with satisfaction with local services and amenities.
  • Satisfaction with leisure, education and health facilities shows a significant relationship to local-area satisfaction.
  • The results suggest a significant relationship between local-area satisfaction and life satisfaction.


Making the Cambridge area a better place to live requires a rounded approach. Satisfaction with local services, with the local area and overall life satisfaction cannot all be addressed by tackling the same issues.

  • If policymakers are interested in resolving the issues of most concern to the working-age population as reported by the survey sample, then they should look at housing and traffic.
  • If policymakers are interested in improving local-area satisfaction, then a different set of priorities emerge from the analysis, with leisure facilities, school and health appearing more important.
  • Improving (or maintaining) employment opportunities would have an effect on people’s overall life satisfaction, but those opportunities do not have to be on the doorstep.


This survey and its findings have been important in informing local decision-makers on how to best target policy measures in order to influence local area satisfaction. One key impact is that the findings led to the introduction of new bus routes and changes in planning for leisure facilities. The report has also been used in the discussions on devolution of authorities from the central government to the local area. The survey work was also cited widely in the local media.