From inter-county commutes to megaregional development in Texas




Lan, Bolin

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The study adopts network approach and measures the interconnection of Texas counties in an inter-county commuting network. Over the past decades, the Texas’s commuting landscape has been drastically shaped and changed by the economic ties amongst different areas. Commute plays a pivotal role in structing the economic geography. More specifically, this study employs a community detection algorithm from the field of network science, namely the Girvan-Newman algorithm, to examine how 254 counties in Texas are connected through over 9,000 commuting flows at county level during the 2011-2015. The analysis utilizes accessible ACS 5-year (2011-2015) County-to-County Commuting Flows data set as an example to reveal the county or metropolitan clusters and indicated regional agglomeration in Texas based on the interconnection strength between nodes. It was found that Texas has a dominant triangular commuting region, anchored by four large well-known metropolitan areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin. Moreover, the commuting clusters at county level characterize the economic interaction among major metropolitan areas in Texas. Reflecting on the results from the community detection partitioning algorithm, the study emphasizes on the importance and necessity of detecting county clusters for megaregional planning strategies.


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