Figure Caption: Mean Commuting Distance and Mean Wage Rate of Census Tracts in Baton Rouge in: (a) 1990, (b) 2000, (c) 2010.
Residential segregation has recently shifted to become more class- and income-based in the United States, and neighborhoods have undergone significant changes in commuting patterns over time. To better understand the commuting pattern across neighborhoods of different income levels, this research analyzes commuting variability (in both distance and time) across wage groups as well as stability over time using the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) data for 1990 through 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In comparison to previous work, commuting distance is estimated more accurately by Monte Carlo simulation of individual trips to mitigate aggregation error and scale effect. The results based on neighborhood's mean wage rate indicate that commuting behavior varies across areas of different wage rates and such variability is captured by a convex relationship. Affluent neighborhoods tended to commute more, but the highest wage neighborhoods displayed a reduced level of commuting. This trend remains relatively stable over time despite a general overall transportation improvement. An exploratory analysis based on the distribution of wage groups is conducted to gain more detailed insights and uncovers the lasting poor mobility (e.g., fewer location and transport options) of the lowest wage workers between 1990 and 2010.