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Title:Urban-Rural Classification: Identifying a System Suitable for Transit
Authors:Dave Ripplinger, Natalie Beck, and Jill Hough
Publication Date:Sep 2008
Report #:DP-207
TRID #:01124328
Keywords:population density, public transit, resource allocation, rural areas, rural transit, small cities, small towns, transportation policy
Type:Research Report – Department Publications


In this paper existing urban-rural classifications are evaluated to determine their ability to appropriately delineate differences among geographic areas as they relate to personal mobility need and transportation service availability with emphasis placed on the definitional boundary between urban, small urban, and rural areas. In the absence of a suitable existing classification system, a new system is constructed, applied, and evaluated.

The new Urban Population-Rural Density Code system is two-part, describing county urban and rural areas independently. Urban portions of a county receive a numeric code, rural portions an alphabetic one. The new system's boundaries are precise with no overlap and rely upon criteria relevant to the mobility needs and service availability. With 25 classes, the system is arguably inefficient - but, given the level of precision desired, a tradeoff was necessary.

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