Researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Sheffield have created an interesting new map of the United States in an effort to understand how regions and economies actually function. This is not an unfamiliar exercise, but what makes the new map fascinating is that it is the product of a deep dive into data that tracks the habits of 130 million travelers in an attempt to understand how people move and interact within various parts of the country. The result is a radically redrawn image of the United States that re-imagines the country as a series of megaregions.
You can read more about the project here, and you can poke around on the map here. Dallas’s megaregion is named “Whiterock,” and it is mostly a blur of Dallas-Fort Worth with surprisingly strong connections to East Texas. The commuter data, the researchers argue in their paper, “offers strong evidence that commuter patterns really do divide functionally in space according to the clustering of regional labor markets, and that the structure of ‘megaregions’ can be detected algorithmically.”