Over at City Lab, Eric Jaffe writes about the Urbanization Project's productivity analysis of 40 U.S. metros of varying populations and what it reveals about urban commute times.
"...the friction of New York’s heavy commuter activity only slightly compromised the power of its labor market. And New York is no outlier in this case. A productivity analysis of 40 U.S. metros of varying populations, conducted by Shlomo Angel and Alejandro Blei of the Urbanization Project at New York University, found that cities with twice the number of jobs sustained a labor market nearly double in size within a “tolerable” commute of 30 (87 percent), 45 (94 percent), or 60 minutes (97 percent).
The reason bigger workforces don’t translate into total stagnation is that metros have “nimble and self-adjusting commuting patterns” that preserve their economic advantage, report Angel and Blei in a paper in the journal Cities. Those patterns have three key components: density, job and home relocation, and overall mobility. Together these forces keep commute time growth to a tolerable 7 percent, on average, in a city with twice the population of another one—instead of the awful 41 percent expected by mathematical calculations."