California engineer and designer Harry Kao was influenced one day by writer Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)."
The book, according to his website, explained how commute times throughout history have remained at a half-hour in each direction, and even looked at advances of horses, bicycles, trains, automobiles and the like.
According to Harry Kao's site hairycow.name (get it?), he got to thinking and wanted to analyze how his daily commute stacked up with his neighbors and other commuters across the country.
Kao's commute map shows visualization for each ZIP code that shows how many people commute to or commute from that area, according to the site.
Kao used a number of resources to gather his commute visualization data:
- The Census Transportation Planning Package from 2000
- ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
- Google Maps API
According to Kao, the CTPP was a survey from a subset of households during the 2000 Census that recorded where people live and work.
Kao wrote on his site that the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau has superseded the CTPP.
The CTPP provides data on a census tract level, Kao wrote on his site.
The commute map, however, uses ZIP codes to identify regions. ZIP Code Tabulation Areas map census tract to ZIP code and, according to Kao, determines the proportion of each census tract that falls within each ZIP code.
The Google Maps API in Kao's commute map records travel during off-peak hours, meaning trip times could be underestimated.
So what does the commute map tell us about the 19446 ZIP code, using the benefit of the above resources?
About 24.1 percent of commuters that live in the 19446 ZIP code work in that ZIP code.
The average commute from 19446 is 4.7 miles and 11 minutes, according to the site.
About 7.9 percent of commuters from 19446 work in the 19454 ZIP code in North Wales Borough and Montgomery Township. The commute is 4.2 miles and takes about 10 minutes.
About 6 percent of workers in 19446 live in the 19454 ZIP code, according to the site.
About 5.9 percent of commuters from the 19446 ZIP code work in the 19440 ZIP code. It is a 5.9-mile commute that takes 16 minutes, according to the data.
About 6 percent of workers in 19446 live in 19440, according to the site.
About 2.8 percent of commuters from 19446 work in the 19438 ZIP code in the Lower Salford and Harleysville area, according to the site. The commute is about 7.4 miles and takes 17 minutes.
About 4.9 percent of workers in 19446 live in 19438, according to the site.
The site shows that 3.5 percent of commuters from 19446 work in the 19002 ZIP code in the Ambler area. The commute is 8.3 miles and takes about 19 minutes.
About 1.8 percent of workers in 19446 live in 19002, according to the site.
About 3.4 percent of commuters from 19446 drive to the Horsham 19044 area, according to the site. The commute is 10.1 miles and takes about 26 minutes.
All in all, about 42.8 percent of commuter travel one minute or less to work, according to data on the site. Those who travel 10 minutes or less to work equate to 56.8 percent of commuters from 19446. Ninety-two percent of commuters travel 26 minutes or less to work, according to the site.
Check out more of Kao's data visualization, programming and publications at http://hairycow.name/.