The City-Suburb Commute is Not What it Used to Be

<p>Wendell Cox looks at commuting patterns, and finds that the old supposition that most commuters are going from suburban housing to urban jobs no longer holds water.</p>
August 5, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"One of the most enduring urban myths suggests that most jobs are in the core of metropolitan areas, making commuting from the far suburbs more difficult. Thus, as fuel prices have increased, many have expected that people will begin moving from farther out in the suburbs to locations closer to the cores. Indeed, in some countries, such as Australia, much of the urban planning regime of the last decade has been based upon the assumption that urban areas must not be constrained because the residents on the fringe won't be able to get to work.

Like many myths, this one has limited conformity with the truth. This can be seen even in New York, the New York metropolitan area (the combined statistical area), which is home to the second largest central business district in the country and by far the most well-developed transit system in North America. Yet, despite this, a close examination of work trip data from the 2006 U.S. Census American Community Survey shows a pattern of shorter work travel times for many of the most far-flung areas while those located closer to the core often experience longer commutes."

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Published on Monday, August 4, 2008 in newgeography
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