The Impact of Highways Upon Metropolitan Dispersion

St. Louis

by Peter DeLeon, John H. Enns

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Demonstrates that the interstate highway system has been a causal factor in the decentralization of jobs and people throughout the St. Louis area in 1965-1970. This paper reviews the theoretical literature concerning industrial location, which tends to be abstract and lack predictive value for specific areas; summarizes highway improvements and land use changes in the St. Louis area during the 1960s; and presents regression models relating industrial land use changes to changes in travel time and reports the results. Analysis of land use data confirms the general trend of decentralization from the city to the county — except that, while residential and industrial density in the city decreased, commercial employment density increased. This presumably reflects the more interdependent nature of commercial activity and its lesser need for land. The westwardly growth of the St. Louis metropolitan area seems likely to continue, with the outer counties growing most rapidly.

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