What the 50 States Would Look Like If…

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Here’s what the 50 states would look like if they were based upon contemporary economic realities — commuting patterns — instead of geography and history. The map is based upon research by Garrett Nelson, a historical geographer at Dartmouth College. “Why should we think that areas which were drawn up for horses and buggies still make sense for interstates and telecommuting?” he rhetorically asked the Washington Post.

I expect such a division would make many Northern Virginia readers happy. I’m pretty partial myself to Virginia’s current boundaries. As publisher of a state-focused blog, I’d hate to limit my pontificating to a Norfolk-Richmond-Charlottesville-Staunton axis — although picking up North Carolina’s Outer Banks would have its consolations.

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One response to “What the 50 States Would Look Like If…

  1. Actually the Feds are way ahead on this. First – the Census folks have their MSAs but now the Federal Highway folks are changing their current approach to planning which had their planning boundaries allocated to mutliple planning districts (called MPOs) within an MSA to one planning region with satellite commuting jurisdictions .. i.e. exurban bedroom communities.

    – among other things recognize the influence of commuting to exurbs – but not only for highways but other modes…to include SOV, HOV, bus, van, train, etc.

    Combine that change with Virginia’s own Smart Scale prioritization scheme, and we could see some pretty big changes to the way that transportation projects are conceived and developed.

    Some MSAa will be affected more than others. For instance, NoVa/DC/Md consist of several MPOs which would result in a consolidation of multiple planning documents into one region.

    Interesting questions will then be asked – like ” do we want to prioritize SOV commuting to/from the exurbs or invest more money for HOV and Mass Transit? Expect to see more congestion-pricing on major commuting roads and less accommodations to SOV commuting.

    Other places, like Richmond are already organized and essentially aligned with the MSA and they won’t feel as much impact.

    In all areas – cross-commuting between satellite jurisdictions will be looked at more – e.g. Henrico folks who commute to jobs in Chesterfield, etc.

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