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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does Generalizing Density Functions Better Explain Urban Commuting? Some Evidence from the Los Angeles Region


The assumption that urban workers economize on commuting is implicit in urban economic theory. Yet it has been challenged by some recent studies. This paper estimates commute flows implied by three urban density functions: monocentric, polycentric, and dispersive. It finds that an urban density function better predicting the actual spatial patterns also better explains the actual commuting behavior. This finding helps us to preserve the assumption that urban workers make attempts to economize on commuting in their location choices.

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