- NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Kenneth Button and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 2: The Relationship between Megaregions and Megapolitans: Transportation Planning for the Two Scales
2. The relationship between megaregions and megapolitans: transportation planning for the two scales Jason S. Myers and Anne Dunning 2.1 INTRODUCTION Designations of cities, other localities, states, and countries have long facilitated planning according to politically-determined borders; however, populations and economies naturally undermine this system by evolving according to their own inherent forces and characteristics. The developed world embraced the metropolitan scale several decades ago as a result of the evolution that could not be ignored by the political system, and transportation planning made accommodations. Academic and planning practitioner circles are now recognizing that new scales have emerged and demand attention, notably megaregions and megapolitans. Although intellectual leaders of planning acknowledge the existence and importance of these scales, no consensus has developed on either how to delineate them or how to serve them. Concepts of how to define a megaregion generally either focus on some density measure, such as population or economic activity, or on some level of cohesion with surrounding areas, such as commute shed overlap. Both approaches create a threshold that delineates a megaregion both from its neighboring megaregions and from surrounding areas not considered to be part of a megaregion. The existence of multiple approaches means maps are divided in different ways, leading to confusion over which megaregion should plan for certain populations or whether a given exurb should be considered in megapolitan planning. While there are difficulties determining which approach is superior, neither approach fully considers the regional functions, economies, and social outcomes that concern planners....
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