Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Atlanta Commuting Patterns

MARTA's proposed expansion plan has made me think about where people live and work in the city. A friend recently introduced me to the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics data which has work and home data by census block. This data shows interesting commuting trends in Atlanta. For example, most people who work at or near the airport tend to live south of the perimeter:

Most common home locations of employees at/near the airport

Larger end points indicate more people. Census tracts that make up less than 0.25% of the workforce are not included. So there are other employees north of the airport, just not enough to include in the map. The interactive version below has a tab, "Dots", that includes all locations and mouse-over that shows the actual number and percentage of commuters.

Another interesting census tract is the one that contains Emory University:

Most common home locations of employees at/near Emory

Emory employees tend to live close to campus or farther east. Notice the Emory image is more zoomed-in than the airport, and still shows most employees.

Neighboring census tracts can have much different commuting patterns. The south downtown census tract that includes city hall has employees who mostly commute from further south:

Most common home locations of south downtown employees (includes city hall)

And the downtown census tract that includes the Coke headquarters has more employees that commute from north of the office:

Most common home locations of north downtown employees (includes Coke)
I use Coke as an example of a well known employer in that census tract. But both of the downtown census tracts described span several blocks, and contain multiple employers. The interactive tool below shows this more clearly. Use the zoom tools in the upper left to more closely see which neighborhoods are covered. Or try the "Dots" tab to see a more complete view.

The visual also allows you to toggle from viewing all home locations of a given work location to viewing the reverse- all work locations of a given residential neighborhood. Using this option, I can see that most people in my neighborhood commute to downtown/midtown, or north to Emory or further. Very few commute south or east.

Most common work locations of residents in my census tract (West Kirkwood)
I started this data analysis as part of a post on the MARTA expansion, but decided on a stand-alone post. If you're interested in the MARTA post, follow me on twitter of google+, or use the e-mail subscription box on the right.