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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Monocentric and Polycentric Density Functions and Their Required Commutes

  • Author(s): Song, Shunfeng
  • et al.

This paper examines the relationship between urban structure and commuting behavior. Analyzing the 1980 journey-to-work data for the Los Angeles region, this paper has shown that polycentric density functions fit the actual urban structure better than the conventional monocentric model. This finding indicates the preeminence of accessibility to major employment centers in location choices.

This paper also estimates commute flows implied by the polycentric and monocentric functions. It finds the monocentric model very poor at explaining commuting behavior. The empirical results show that polycentric urban structure increases the urban commute. This finding helps to preserve the assumption that urban workers economize on commuting, and suggests that efforts to promote more efficient urban form, such as the jobs-housing balance policy, have the potential to succeed.

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