Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2007


Postprint version. Published in Public Works Management and Policy, Volume 11, Issue 3, January 2007, pages 177-193.
Publisher URL:


The observation that increasing dispersion of employment opportunities leads to decreased travel times is reflective of a short-rem/phenomenon. Census-reported journey-to-work travel time is examined for the greater Philadelphia region, showing that more people are commuting by automobile, a mode usually associated with shorter journey times, but are reporting longer trip times. The finding is counterintuitive as it coincides with a period when new jobs were established in outlying areas and the region experienced a net loss in jobs. The study concludes that as job opportunities disperse into lower density areas, Philadelphia's existing high-capacity systems are underutilized, and transportation systems throughout the region that were designed for relatively low demand are becoming overwhelmed in time. The net effect is a breakdown of both the urban mass transit systems and the suburban and rural highway networks, the latter because of overuse and the former because of underuse.



Date Posted: 07 February 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.