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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Vance's Commuting Analysis Extended to the Suburban Southwest: Tempe, Arizona


James E. Vance, Jr., (1960) showed that a community's character evolves as metropolitan intraurban transportation and local employers' labor needs change. Commuting patterns define a community's laborshed, the area from which employees are drawn, and employment field, the area in which residents work. This Tempe, Arizona, study demonstrates the applicability of Vance's concepts to present-day inner suburbs in Southwestern metropolitan areas using two modern procedures, a geographic information system analysis and sampling from employee commuting surveys collected by the metropolitan travel reduction program. While data availability may limit comparative studies, Tempe's 1990 extensive laborshed and smaller employment field reveal that this suburb is both a bedroom community and a satellite employment center.

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