Cartography geeks blog Fuck Yeah Cartography reports about an appealing mapping initiative that enables you to trace commuter traffic to any zip code area in the United States. Type in any zip code and see where people are commuting to/from and how much time they spend commuting. The interactive maps provide interesting information, however, the service does not work yet for European zip codes.
Typing Brooklyn zip code 11201, for instance, shows that most commuters to and from Brooklyn come from other Brooklyn zip code areas, which points to a very local labor market. For example: 2.5% of workers in 11201 live in 11226. This is a 4.6 mile commute that takes 17 minutes. The average commute to 11201 is 8.2 miles and takes 18 minutes. The example of Brooklyn also shows the big barrier of water. The amount of travelers from Staten Island and Manhattan to Brooklyn is very low. Only 0.5% of the workers in 11201 live in 10002 (Lower East side), while this is only a 2.6 mile commute that takes 8 min.
When work within a specific zip code area gets more specialized, the catchment area is much broader as expected. When typing Wall Street’s zip code 10005, for instance, we find out that 0.6% of the workers in 10005 live in 07726 (a village called Englishtown). This is a 48.4 mile commute that takes 1 hour and 3 minutes. Interesting about Wall Street’s commuting pattern, however, is that a lot of the financial experts live close to their work at Manhattan. Obviously, Manhattan’s real estate prices and atmosphere fits well with the income and needs of the Wall Street workers. In general, the pattern between commuting to/from huge metropolitan centers and smaller regional centers shows a big difference. In crowded metropolitan areas commuters don’t travel much time and miles, while regional centers have a much broader catchment area.