The Impacts of Transport Accessibility on Population Change across Rural, Suburban and Urban Areas: A Case Study of Wisconsin at Subcounty Levels

Guangqing Chi, Mississippi State University

A large body of research has found that highways and airports have played important roles in promoting population growth (or decline). However, little attention has been paid to the possible spatial variation of their effects on population change. This study uses data related to population change in 1980–1990 at the minor civil division level in Wisconsin to investigate the effects of highway and airport accessibility and accessibility improvements on population change across rural, suburban, and urban areas. The results show that the effects vary across the three area types. In rural areas, highway improvement and airport accessibility promote population growth; in suburban areas, airport accessibility promotes population growth but highway accessibility facilitates population flows; and in urban areas, neither highways nor airports have statistically significant effects on population change. The findings have important implications for local transportation planning, as highways and airports play different roles along the rural-urban continuum.

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Presented in Poster Session 5