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The City is Flatter: Changing Patterns of Job and Labor Access in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, 1995-2005


  • David Levinson


  • Bernadette Marion

    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


This study describes the measurement of accessibility by automobile for the Minneapolis - Saint Paul (Twin Cities) region over the period from 1995 to 2005. In contrast to previous analyses of accessibility, this study uses travel time estimates derived, to the extent possible, from actual observations of network performance by time of day. A set of cumulative opportunity measures are computed with transportation analysis zones (TAZs) as the unit of analysis for 1995 and 2005. Analysis of the changes in accessibility by location over the period of study reveals that, for the majority of locations in the region, accessibility increased over this period, though the increases were not uniform. A "flattening" or convergence of levels of accessibility across locations was observed over time, with faster-growing suburban locations gaining the most in terms of employment accessibility. An effort to decompose the causes of changes in accessibility into components related to transportation network structure and land use (opportunity location) reveal that both causes make a contribution to increasing accessibility, though the effects of changes to the transportation network tend to be more location-specific. Overall, the results of the study demonstrate the feasibility and relevance of using accessibility as a key performance measure to describe the regional transportation system.

Suggested Citation

  • David Levinson & Bernadette Marion, 2010. "The City is Flatter: Changing Patterns of Job and Labor Access in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, 1995-2005," Working Papers 000077, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:thecityisflat

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    File Function: First version, 2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin Krizek & David Levinson, 2009. "Access," Working Papers 000071, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
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    Cited by:

    1. Levine, Jonathan & Merlin, Louis & Grengs, Joe, 2017. "Project-level accessibility analysis for land-use planning," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 107-119.
    2. Paul Anderson & David Levinson & Pavithra Parthasarathi, 2011. "Accessibility Futures," Working Papers 000088, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.

    More about this item


    Accessibility; Land Use; Travel Time; Travel Behavior; Twin Cities (Minnesota);

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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