Commuting In Amercia: Part 3

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<ol><li> 1. PART 3 COMMUTING IN THE NINETIES6 Commuter Flow Patterns Describing commuting ows is an activity best done atthis more extensive treatment. This can make for a the individual metropolitan level. Many metropolitan large and sometimes confusing table. To avoid this, area planning agencies provide detailed ow maps ofthe ow elements are treated in logical parts: rst, work travel from small residence zones to work zones commuting within metropolitan areas; then com- from which complex patterns can be individuallymuting across metropolitan borders; and, nally, treated and qualied. Further, readers may be person-commuting based on the destinations of workers. ally familiar with the geography, if not with the actual As a starting point for the discussion of com- routes and patterns. At the national level, the processmuting ows, Table 3-1 looks at all workers by their must be more abstract; metropolitan areas must beresidence location for 2000, and also shows 1990 grouped in convenient clusters and the ows need todata for reference. An important facet of these pat- be synthesized into homogeneous groupings. terns is that fewer new workers were added in this Although the goal is to overcome the distinctionsdecade than in the previous one. Consequently, the among individual areas and look at items as a group, potential impact of new workers on shares was less some precision is inevitably lost in the process.in 2000 than in 1990. Note that the distributionbetween metropolitan and nonmetropolitan workershas changed only slightly with the more considerable PRESENT STATE OF COMMUTING PATTERNSdifferences between the central cities and suburbs as At its simplest level, the pattern analysis system central cities lost share and suburbs gained. employed here uses four main ows describing activ-Of the 128 million commuters in 2000, ity within metropolitan areas formed into a two- almost 100 million were in metropolitan areas and Of theby-two ow matrix as follows:the remaining 29 million in nonmetropolitan areas.128 million Note that these numbers vary from those appearing central city to central city central city to suburbs in other applications for purposes of comparability commuters in in ows measurement; they are based on the 1980 2000, almostsuburbs to central citysuburbs to suburbsdenitions rather than the 2000 denitions that100 million distort geographic ow patterns. They also excludeThis basic matrix is expanded to include thosethe minor number of workers that work outside the were in metro patterns owing beyond the metropolitan area toUnited States. In terms of percentages, almost 80% areas and the the suburbs and central cities of other metropolitan of workers are metropolitan and the remainder are in remaining areas and to nonmetropolitan areas. And, nally, nonmetropolitan areas. Americas suburbs continue includes the travel ows of nonmetropolitan resi-as the residence of roughly half of all workers. Most 29 million in dents that work in their own areas or commute into of the shift in percentages came from central citiesnonmetro the central cities and suburbs of metropolitan areas.where the share of commuters declined slightly from areas. All of these elements can be displayed in a large 28.0% to 26.8%. Based on the restructured deni- comprehensive matrix as in the sample layout intions employed here, nonmetropolitan areas gained Figure 3-1. The increases over the years in commut-slightly in share, returning to the share held in 1980. ing from one metropolitan area to another requires Table 3-2 isolates the metropolitan portion of the FIGURE 3-1 Comprehensive Commuting Flow Matrix DestinationOwn Metro Area Other Metro Area Nonmetro Area Origin Central CitySuburbs Other Central City Suburbs Central city Suburbs Nonmetro area46| COMMUTING IN AMERICA III </li><li> 2. important trends in the pat- TABLE 3-1 Commuters (Millions) by Residence Locationterns. Two ow patterns have19902000gained share and two have Worker Residence No.% No.% lost. Flows with a suburbanCommuting All workers115.0100.0128.3 100.0 destination have grown while from central cityows with a central city desti- In metro area 89.6 77.9 99.177.2to suburb, so-nation have declined in share. In central city 32.2 28.0 34.426.8 The suburb-to-suburb share called reverse In suburb 57.4 49.9 64.750.4 has grown by 1 percentage commuting was In nonmetro area25.4 22.1 29.222.8point, as has reverse commut-ing. The traditional commute the other growth Note: Data adjusted to reflect 1980 geographic definitions.from suburb to central cityarea with a 9%has lost share from 20% to share in 2000, TABLE 3-2 Basic Metropolitan Commuter Flow (Millions)19%. The sharpest declineoccurred in ows from cen- accommodating Origin WorkersNo. of Workers tral city to central city, which 20% of growth Who work in same central city24.5receded from a 28% share in in commuting. Who work in same suburb7.5 1990 to their present 25.5%. Central City The largest intermet- Who work outside home metro area 2.3ropolitan ows focus on Total (rounded) living in a central city 34.4suburbs and may be short The traditional Who work in same central city16.6trips from one suburb to anearby suburb of an adjacent commute obtained Who work in suburb of same metro area40.8 Suburb metropolitan area, but theyabout a 14% Who work outside home metro area 7.3 could also represent very long share of growth, Total (rounded) living in a suburb 64.7trips. The trips from centralcity to central city, presum-considerablyow matrix and identies the major internalably are between adjacent metropolitan areas, and below its presentpatterns of metropolitan travel. are a very small contingent of travelers taking what share of all travel,After considering more than 89 million internalmust, almost by denition, be long trips in thatmetropolitan ows throughout the nation, there is a they must traverse the suburbs of both areas. (Notewhich is 19%.residual of 2.34 million workers leaving the central that according to the rules employed in the census,city and 7.29 million leaving the suburbs, or almost it is possible that some of these travelers were at10 million total, going beyond their metropolitanwork temporarily in different cities than theirborders to work. The details on cross-metropolitan home residence.)commuting are provided in Table 3-3.The remaining group of commuters to considerIn this ow pattern, commuting from suburbslives in nonmetropolitan areas and contains moreto suburbs accounts for 46% of metropolitan com- than 29 million workers. Their travel destinationsmuting activity (including the ow to suburbs in are very much internally oriented, and are shown inother metropolitan areas), with the traditionalTable 3-4. Obviously, travel between nonmetropoli-commute from suburb to central city at 19%.tan areas could involve major distances.Commuting within a central city accounts forThe overall metropolitan pattern, discussed25.5%, and reverse commuting from central city earlier and shown in Figure 3-2, indicated that theto suburb accounts for 9%. Suburbs now account typical ow is predominantly within ones ownfor the majority of metropolitan job destina-central city (71%) or suburban area (64%), withtions with more than 53 million of the 97 millionthe great majority of residents staying in their areaintrametropolitan commutes. These continue to work. The nonmetropolitan pattern even further TABLE 3-3 Commuters Leaving Home Metropolitan Area (Millions)Destination Other Metro Area Nonmetro Area No. of Workers OriginCentral CitySuburbs Central cities 0.681.14 0.522.34 Suburbs2.193.53 1.567.29 Total leaving2.874.67 2.089.63C O M M U T I N G I N A M E RI C A III | 47 </li><li> 3. accentuates the point that residents tend to stay in TABLE 3-4 Nonmetropolitan Commuting Destinations (Millions)their local areas for work, with just under 83% of DestinationMetro Areanonmetropolitan residents working in nonmetropol- Origin Nonmetro AreaNo. of Workers Central City Suburbs itan areas. Because nonmetropolitan areas are county Nonmetro areas 24.40 1.952.8629.21 based, it can be determined that more than 80% of Total leaving24.401.95 2.86 29.21those who both live and work in nonmetropolitanareas actually work in their own county of residence.Although the proportions of those working inFIGURE 3-2 Work Locations their area of residence is high, those leaving thearea are increasing rapidly, both in numbers and ina. for central city residents shares, and tend to have an importance beyond their 3% 2%numbers alone because their typically longer trip 2% lengths have a disproportionate effect on total travel.For example, approximately 2 million commuters 22%from nonmetropolitan areas that have destinationsin central cities traverse an entire suburban ring toget to work. So do 2 million central city residents 71%that go outside their metropolitan area to work. Ofgreat signicance are those who leave a metropoli-tan area and commute to a job location within anadjacent metropolitan areanot only are their tripslong, but they have an impact on two areas in eachcommuting trip, one outbound and one inbound. Same central city Same suburb Other central city Counting those from inside a metropolitan area Other suburbNonmetro areaheading into another, if all of the individual cross-metropolitan ows are tallied, they indicate thatb. for suburban residents metropolitan borders are crossed 12.3 million timesin the inbound direction each morning, representing 5% 2%a major commuting segment.3%26% All of these tabular segments are assembled toproduce Table 3-5 and shown in Figure 3-3. 64%COUNTY PATTERNSCounty-To-County FlowsIt is important to recognize that ows within anarea (e.g., from a suburb to the same suburb, from anonmetropolitan area to the same nonmetropolitanarea, from a central city to the same central city) Same central city Same suburb Other central city can involve origins and destinations that may be Other suburbNonmetro areaseparated by many miles. Increasingly, some of thesuburban areas surrounding our major metropolitanc. for nonmetro residents areas consist of dozens of counties and can spread 7% for miles. The geographies involved can be mislead- 10%ing, whether regarding distance or direction.A different statistical approach helps rene ourunderstanding of the tendency to commute to otherareas. In this case, the home area is dened as the 83%county of residence and all commutes crossing the Other central city Other suburb Nonmetro area48 | COMMUTIN G IN AM E RICA III </li><li> 4. TABLE 3-5 Commuting Flow Summary (Millions) DestinationOwn Metro Area Other Metro Area Nonmetro AreaAllOrigin Central CitySuburbs Other Central CityOther SuburbsCentral city24.5 7.50.7 1.10.534.4Suburbs 16.640.82.2 3.51.664.7Nonmetro areas1.9 2.9 24.429.2Total 41.148.34.87.5 26.5 128.3county boundary are tallied. These data indicate that FIGURE 3-3 Metropolitan Flow Map (Millions of Commuters)in 2000, 73% of all commuters worked within theircounty of residence. Of course, the use of countiesOther metro areahas its own ability to mislead; east of the Mississippithey tend to be useful units of geography by whichOwn metro area Suburbsto study travel patterns but western counties canbe very large, often as large as some eastern states. SuburbsMoreover, a trip crossing county lines could be quite3.5 Central 1.1short while one within a county could be quite long.40.9cityEspecially as areas expand, it is likely that workers16.60.7 2.2from a county newly added to a metropolitan area 7.5will reside near the boundary with counties closer in 24.5 2.9than on its opposite edge. 0.5The percentage of workers leaving their residenceCentral city1.61.9county for metropolitan counties and for nonmetro-politan counties mirrors the national average. How-ever, signicant variation exists among those living 24.4in central cities or suburbs. Central city residents are Nonmetro areamore home-area-oriented with over 82% working intheir home county, while suburbanites are much lessso oriented with slightly more than 68% remaining FIGURE 3-4 Percentage Commuting Out of Home Countyin their residence county. It is important to recog-nize that central cities may lie wholly within one40county or be spread across several counties. About35 Percentage of workers in county72% of nonmetropolitan dwellers remain in theirhome county to work, but urban cluster (i.e., small 30town) residents in nonmetropolitan areas are the25most locally oriented, with more than 80% working20in the county where they live.From the small towns just cited to the megalo-15politan centers, the tendency to work within ones10home county declines as the size of the metropolitanarea increases. Figure 3-4 demonstrates that point 5rather decisively for both central city and suburban 0counties, showing the percentage of commuters 2,500-5,000 500-1,000 250-500 100-2505,000+ 50-1001,000-2,500leaving their home county roughly doubles betweenareas below 100,000 and areas over 1 million. Thismatters greatly because crossing county boundar-ies at least permits the inference that such trips are Metro area population groups (thousands)longer than trips wholly inside the county borders,although that cannot be determined conclusively. Central cities SuburbsHowever, years of steadily rising average work triplength in miles bear this out. C OMMUT I NG I N A MER I CA III | 49 </li><li> 5. County TrendsFIGURE 3-5 Commuting Out of HomeThe 1990s witnessed dramatic increases in the num-County Trendbers of workers leaving their home county to work.That share has risen from under 24% to almost 27%30 Of the new in 10 years, as shown in Figure 3-5. Of the new work- 25workers added ers added in the decade, about 51% worked outsidetheir home county, an extraordinary change. At the 20 in the decade, Percentstate level, no state had a decrease in share of workers 15 about 51%leaving their residence county to work. Some states 10worked outsidelike New Hampshire and Delawarehad prodigiousincreases and several other states more than doubled5 their homethe percentage of those leaving. West Virginia, Rhode 0 county.Island, and Kansas were close to doubling. Virginia 196019701980 1990 2000leads the nation with more than half of workersFIGURE 3-6 Counties with More Than 25 Percent Commuting Outside the Countya. 1990 0% 25% 25% 100%b. 2000 0% 25% 25% 100%50 | COMMUTIN G IN AM E RICA III </li><li> 6. leaving their county of residence to work; MarylandCHANGING WORK TRIP LENGTHSand New Jersey are close to that. More than one- Many of the tools used to measure commutingthird of the workers in 11 states leave their residenceows are rather blunt instruments. The notion of acounty to work.suburban area is vague and amorphous and even theIn 2000, more than 94 million commuterscentral city concept is not always as clear as mightworked within their county of residence, but thatbe expected. The preceding discussion of county-to-leaves more than 34 million who leave their home county ows noted that these data vary s...</li></ol>