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161127-1 Report Abstract

Understanding Emerging Commuting Trends in a Weekly Travel Decision Frame–Implications for Mega Region Transportation Planning

Ming Zhang and Binbin Chen, University of Texas at Austin, September 2011, 67 pp. (161127-1)

National transportation statistics have shown the rise of long-distance, trans-regional commute (LDC/TRC) in the US. Four societal factors contribute to the trend: increase in dual earner households, advance in information and communications technologies, new concept of arranging work time weekly, and people’s changing attitude towards travel. In the field of urban transportation planning, commuting has been studied in individual metropolitan areas in a one-day time frame. LDC/TRC traverse multiple metros and the commuting behavior cannot be better understood without going beyond the one-day convention. Studying LDC/TRC corresponds to the growing interest worldwide in planning for megaregions. Up to date, the phenomenon of weekly commuting has been explored only by a few European researchers in the fields of geography and sociology.

This study analyzed LDC/TRC using national datasets available in the US. They are American Travel Survey, National Household Travel Survey, and Census Transportation Planning Package. Further detailed analyses were conducted for the Texas Triangle megaregion. The national travel surveys are helpful in portraying large pictures of LDC/TRC but limited in offering insights into LDC/TRC behavior. Based on the preliminary study, the next phase of the study will conduct qualitative research by interviewing selected LDC/TRC individuals in the Texas Triangle megaregion.
Keywords: Long-distance Commute, Travel Behavior, Transportation Planning, Texas Triangle, Megaregion

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 654 KB)