Spatial dynamics of disaggregated urban commuting patterns
Jang, Woo Suk
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Due to the rapid change of urban sprawl or suburbanization, commuting patterns have become more complex. Though commuting only accounts for about 25 percent of weekday trips, it is a major contribution to traffic congestion as well as a major driver of highway construction. Thus, the investigation of commuting patterns plays an important role in our understanding of various aspects of spatial separation between home and work. The overall aim of this research is to investigate the dynamics of the commuting patterns of racial/ethnic groups of workers in urban space over time, and to develop a new measurement of racial/ethnic segregation in the commuting space. The primary data used in this dissertation are from the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP). This decennial data series release data aggregated at a variety of geographic scales, for a number of different years. Two major problems occur for the spatiotemporal analysis of commuting patterns. First, trip data are not always available at the same spatial levels of census units (e.g., traffic analysis zone in 1990 and census tract 2000). Second, commuting trip data are not available in subgroups by demographic or socio-economic factors. To deal with these problems, this dissertation has the following three main objectives: (1) to develop approaches to aligning commuting flow data in different geographic units to a common spatial framework; (2) to investigate spatiotemporal analysis of disaggregated commuting patterns by different population subgroups such as those categorized by race/ethnicity, gender, and income; (3) to develop a new measurement of racial/ethnic segregation based on trip data for the purpose of analyzing segregation as it occurs in spaces of travel to and from work. To achieve these objectives, the dissertation research proposed two new concepts, namely the flow line interpolation and segregation in the commuting space, and developed models for them. By applying the models, this dissertation took Atlanta as a case study area, analyzed the ethnically-divided urban commuting patterns, and tracked changes of the patterns over the last two decades. Furthermore, it explored Atlanta’s racial segregation in the commuting space. Through application of the methods developed in this dissertation, researchers can achieve a more in-depth understanding of the spatial dynamics of disaggregated urban commuting patterns between jobs and housing in any U.S. metropolitan area. The methods developed in this dissertation can also be applied to areas of study other than racial segregation, e.g., use of trip analysis of the ageing baby-boomer population to determine access to quality-of-life related amenities and resources, or emergency preparedness.