Research Reports

Commuter linkages among counties in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota

Principal Investigator:

John S Adams, Elvin K Wyly

September 1993

Report no. Mn/DOT 1994-02

Topics: Urban Transportation

The continued decentralization of metropolitan areas has replaced the well-defined daily urban systems of the 1960's with complex, overlapping commuting fields. This report analyzes county-tocounty commuting flows in Minnesota and counties in adjacent states to evaluate changes in the state's urban systems between 1960 and 1990. Findings confirm that inter-county commuting has increased dramatically, from 7% in 1960 to nearly 19% in 1990. The rate of growth is diminishing, but the total number of commuters is considerable. In 1990, over 70,000 workers commuted to the seven-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA) from Greater Minnesota. Results of a multivariate statistical procedure, factor analysis, confirm that exurban counties between the Twin Cities and nearby regional centers have been drawn into a complex web of interconnected, overlapping urban systems. These findings support the hypothesis that the daily work journey is creating an interdependent network of urban systems in the densely settled portions of the state. The increasing gap between the seven-county TCMA and the practical extent of the Twin Cities underscores the question whether the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council should expand to include counties connected by the daily flow of workers to the Twin Cities.

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