The Evolving and Complementary Impacts of Transportation Infrastructures on Population and Employment Change in the United States, 1970–2010
Transportation infrastructures play an essential role in influencing population and employment change. While railroads, highways, and airports were constructed in different time periods, now they complement each other in terms of providing accessibility. This study uses county-level data to examine the impacts of the three forms of transportation infrastructure on population and employment change in the continental United States from 1970 to 2010. The findings suggest that transportation infrastructures play evolving but complementary roles in affecting population and employment change during the study period: railroads act as a distributive factor, highways take a facilitator role, and airports behave like growth poles. Diversification of the roles indicates that transportation infrastructures have evolved from a pure growth factor to an essential multifaceted development element of human society.
KeywordsTransportation infrastructures Railroads Highways Airports Population change Employment change Spatial regression
This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (Award # 1541136), the U.S. Department of Transportation (Awards # DTRT12GUTC14-201307 and # DTRT12GUTC14-201308), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Award # P2C HD041025).
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