METRANS

11-06 Accessibility, Location and Employment Center Growth

Project Number

11-06

Project Summary

Accessibility, Location and Employment Center Growth

Project Status

Complete

Year

2011

Topic Area

Urban Mobility

P.I. Name & Address

Professor; Margaret and John Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government; Senior Associate Dean for Research and Technology; Director, METRANS , Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 216
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
giuliano@price.usc.edu

Project Objective:
The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between accessibility and the growth of employment centers in order to improve our understanding of how transportation investments influence the spatial organization of metropolitan areas. Although research on the existence of employment centers -- concentrations of employment outside the tradition downtown -- is extensive, we have little understanding of how these centers emerge and grow, and what role transportation access may play in this process. Research on employment centers is limited mainly by data availability: there is no publicly available source for reliable, highly detailed and disaggregate employment data. In this research, time series establishment level data for California’s four largest metropolitan areas will be used to identify employment centers and analyze relationships between center growth and transport access, including direct and indirect influence of highway and airport access.

This project extends previous research, funded in part by prior METRANS grants (e,g, project 06-16), in the following ways: 1) extends the analysis beyond the Los Angeles region; 2) uses establishment level geography, not census tract aggregates, allowing more precise measurement of centers and access measures; 3) provides detailed data on industry sector, business volume, employment, and firm births, deaths and moves; 4) uses time-series data, rather than comparisons across census years.

The relationship between transportation and urban form has become a major public policy issue. Concerns about energy consumption, global climate change, and urban sprawl have led to proposals to use transportation investments to promote more concentrated land use patterns. Results of this research will contribute to our understanding of how the economic and spatial structure of metropolitan areas change over time and how these changes may be related to highway, transit, and air networks, offering valuable guidance for future policy.

Task Descriptions
(1) Data collection – evaluate for logical consistency, and assess employment totals against other data; Evaluate most appropriate time series.
(2) Literature review
(3) Identify employment centers
(4) Descriptive analysis of four metro areas
(5) Model development, testing, and estimation
(6) Interpretation of results, refinements, and extensions
(7) Draft and final project report

Milestones, Dates:
(1) August 2010 – October 2010
(2) September 2010
(3) October 2010 – December 2010
(4) December 2010 – February 2011
(5) February 2011 – May 2011
(6) June 2011
(7) July 2011

Total Budget:
$89,910

Student Involvement:
One student at 50% for 9 months
One student at 50% for 3 months

Relationship to Other Research Projects:
Related to 04-13 and 06-16; part of the mobility focus area

Technology Transfer Activities:
Project report will be posted soon

Potential Benefits of the Project:
Guidance for policies that promote concentrated land use patterns, better understanding of metropolitan spatial structure

TRB Keywords:
Highways, Planning and Forecasting, Policy, Public Transportation

Primary Subject:
1p.3 This research will contribute to our understanding of how the economic and spatial structure of metropolitan areas change over time and how these changes may be related to highway, transit, and air networks, offering valuable guidance for future policy.