Testing for exceptional concentrations in the spatial patterns of commuters

Authors: Joshua Davidson*, University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: commuting, transportation, planning
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


The rationale for new transit services is often stated as a way to increase access to employment for those isolated from existing service. Workforce origin-destination data allows the analyst to investigate existing concentrations in the commuting environment as a means to plan new transit service and alignments. This study develops a metric to measure the concentrations of jobs in the commuting geography and then highlights exceptional cases among these concentrations that may serve to inform future transit development. We use data from the U.S. Census’ Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics dataset to first measure the ratio of the number of jobs in a given origin-destination pair to the total number of jobs that originate at that origin and end at that destination. We then develop a distribution of these average contributions. Those origins and destinations with distributions that exhibit low variance may exhibit a concentrated geography of commuters and thereby afford an opportunity for new transit investment. We are particularly interested in these kinds concentrations outside of traditional commuting corridors (e.g., suburb-central business district), as these are likely to be areas that do not have existing, robust transit service. We highlight such cases in the metropolitan-Philadelphia area.

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