Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Understand Patterns Of Urban Commuter Flows


Two reports from the Journal of Transport and Land Use discussing urban spatial
structure and commuting patterns have been added to the Best Practices.

In "Commuting in Belgian metropolitan areas: The power of the Alonso-Muth model" researchers conduct cluster analyses from which they derive a commuting typology of city region areas. Distance, housing characteristics, housing environment, and income play key roles in commuting patterns in the metropolitan areas under consideration. The results of the study found the spatial pattern of commuting in and around the Belgian metropolitan areas is consistent with the principles of the Alonso-Muth model.

"Worldwide research has shown that, on average, people spend a fixed share of their income on transportation," the researchers note. "Among member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average transportation budget is 10–15 percent of income. Likewise, the travel time budget appears to be relatively constant at the country level."

The researchers cite a 1998 study that found the global average travel time budget is 1.1 hour per person per day, regardless of economic, social, or geographical situation.

"The characteristics of commuter movements in and around Belgian metropolitan areas are clearly determined by a combination of accessibility, residential preferences, and income restrictions."

Proximity to transportation services affects accessibility, but the catchment area is limited.

"We can say that spatial patterns of residence and employment strongly affect the characteristics of commuter movements. Location patterns of residence and work are, of course, quite difficult to change. This implies that a sustained and (very) long-term location policy is called for, with due attention to a revival of the urban agglomeration."

In "The evolution of the commuting network in Germany: Spatial and connectivity patterns" researchers explored how the German commuting network evolves, from
two perspectives: space and connectivity.

"Our inspiration for studying the commuting network from a connectivity perspective is the idea that the network distribution of mobility can help explain other relevant economic phenomena, such as variations in key labor market indicators or production levels," the researchers note.