Although metropolitan areas account for less than 20 percent of the total land area in the United States, they contain almost 80 percent of the nation’s population and nearly 85 percent of its jobs. In other words, the United States has, on average, 24 jobs per square mile, but metropolitan areas average about 124 jobs per square mile. According to Strange (2009), the population of six Canadian metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton) account for almost one-half of the national population but less than 1 percent of Canada’s land area. Very similar concentration patterns are evident in data from Europe (Combes and Overman, 2004) and Asia (Fujita, et al., 2004). This high degree of spatial concentration of people and jobs leads to congestion costs, such as increased traffic and pollution, and higher housing costs. For example, according to the Texas Transport Institute’s annual Mobility Report, US drivers spent on average 4.2 billion hours in traffic delays in 2007; Los Angeles-area drivers sat the longest (70 hours per traveler), while motorists in the Wichita, Kansas, area spent only 6 hours per traveler in delays. Congestion has become so severe in London that in February 2003 the city imposed a congestion fee, currently £8 a day, on all vehicles entering, leaving, driving, or parking on a public road inside the charging zone between 7:00 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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