38th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Europe Quo Vadis? - Regional Questions at the Turn of the Century", 28 August - 1 September 1998, Vienna, Austria
Commuting consists in the fact that an important fraction of workers in developed countries do not reside close to their workplaces but at long distances from them, so they have to travel to their jobs and then back home daily. Catalonia (a Spanish region) is divided in 41 comarcas or small aggregations of municipalities (smaller than NUTS-3 level). Some of them have a positive commuting balance, attracting many workers from other comarcas and providing local jobs for almost all their resident workers. On the other side, other comarcas seem to be mostly residential, so an important fraction of their resident workers hold jobs in other comarcas. Which variables influence the comarca's role as an attraction pole or a residential zone? In previous papers (presented to the ERSA and Spanish Regional Science Association Congresses) we have brought out the main individual variables that influence commuting by analysing a sample of Catalan workers and their commuting decisions. Anyway, the comarcal economical structure has been analysed only at a descriptive level. Variables influencing comarcal quality of life ("amenities") have almost been ignored due to the lack of enough territorial disaggregation in the sample. These variables are supposed to influence commuting in two different ways: A zone with a dense, well-developed economical structure will have a high density of jobs. Work demand cannot be fulfilled with resident workers, so it spills over comarcal boundaries. On the other side, this economical activity has a series of side-effects like pollution, congestion or high land prices which make these comarcas less desirable to live in. Workers who can afford it may prefer to live in less populated, less congested comarcas, where they can find cheaper land, larger homes and a better quality of life. The penalty of this decision is an increased commuting time. Our aim in this paper is to highlight the influence of comarcal economical structure and comarcal amenities dotation in the workplace-residence location decision. A place-to place commuting model is estimated in order to find the economical and amenities variables with higher influence in commuting decisions. Data have been obtained from aggregate flow travel-matrix from the 1991 Spanish Population Census.