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Graphics Provide Intriguing Glimpse at Atlantans’ Commuting Habits

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Employment statistics give insightful look at the sources of ATL’s commuter woes

Amid all this talk of MARTA expansion and enhanced/alternate transit options, maybe Atlantans should step back a moment and contemplate where people are actually going in the city on daily basis.

And nothing helps stimulate constructive thought like digestible graphics.

Enter local blogger John Keltz, a compiler of data for Atlanta Public Schools and operator of Numbers Box, a blog that "uses graphs, data, and Tableau to better understand diverse topics."

Keltz’s latest thought-provoking creation involves graphs (some of them interactive) that pull from LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics data to examine the commuting patterns of metro Atlantans in this day and age.

For example, the below graph shows the home locations of people who work in the northern reaches of downtown, which includes major employers such as Coca-Cola. (Per Keltz, larger end-points in the graphs indicate more people, and Census tracts that make up less than 0.25 percent of the workforce were excluded).

The next graphic suggests that Emory University employees tend to live relatively close to campus (or way east), which could help support the argument for streetcar service or enhanced bicycling routes. (Note that this graphic is much more zoomed-in than the one above.)

Now here’s the home location of most south downtown employees, an employment base that includes Atlanta City Hall.

Conversely, Keltz uses the data to analyze the commuting patterns of his own specific neighborhood subsection (western Kirkwood), finding that while most workers are heading toward major intown job centers, more than a few poor S.O.B.s are trucking it way north of the Perimeter on a daily basis.

It’s all scrumptious food for thought, and the sort of critical thinking that should probably help dictate which transit enhancements go where as the city grows.