garrett nelson

New commuting map of USA wins top planning research award

A ground-breaking map of the United States that defines mega-regions by commuting patterns has won the UK’s top planning research award.

It is one five winners at yesterday's RTPI Research Excellence Awards ceremony, held during the 2017 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference.

Mega-regions in the USA have long been understood in geography as cities connected by their economies and infrastructure, but this way of conglomerating places are increasingly unable to reflect what is happening on the ground

Instead, the researchers analysed the daily work journeys of more than 130 million Americans over five years to better understand the changing economic interdependence between cities and their surrounding areas.

The study illustrates the value of big data such as commuting data in helping to understand how places really work, which can be highly useful for policy makers and planners to make strategic decisions, from infrastructure and transport investment to how boundaries should be drawn up for elections.