This is the same information that was in the attachment yesterday,
however, some people told me they could not open the attachment. I have
also reduced the spreadsheet file, so that it is now limited to those UA
between 40,000 and 299,999 population.
April 19, 2011, Planning On the Web, UA Notes
These notes are limited to the discussion about Census defined urban
areas (urbanized areas with population 50,000 and above, and urban
clusters with population 2,500 to 49,999).
Urban Area Final Criteria
Mike Ratcliffe, Census Bureau Geography, reported on the status of the
final rules for delineating Urban Areas. He noted that the
transportation community was a significant contributor of comments to
the Federal Register notice on the proposed criteria (
<http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-20808.htm> ). All of the
comments have been reviewed and draft criteria written. However, before
the criteria are finalized and sent to the Office of Management of
Budget (OMB) for posting to the Federal Register (FR), the Census
Bureau's Statistical Areas Committee must meet and approve them. The
Statistical Areas Committee is an internal Census Bureau Committee. So
far the committee has been having difficulty finding a date on which to
meet, causing delay. Mike hopes the FR notice with the final criteria
will be out this summer.
In the meantime, the Census Bureau staff has started to work on the
technical process of identifying the Urban Areas under the assumption
that the draft criteria will be approved. If the Statistical Areas
Committee or OMB makes a change to the criteria, staff will have to
revise the process.
Mike then reported on some of the criteria that was submitted to the
Statistical Areas Committee:
Jump criteria - Maintain the 2.5 mile distance. Comments to the FR
notice were about 50/50 on whether to return to the 1.5 mile distance
from 1990 or keep the 2.5 mile from 2000. Comments to the FR notice
also favored maintaining comparability to the 2000 Urban Areas so
maintaining the 2.5 distance threshold is recommended.
Impervious surface - Comments were overwhelming to use the impervious
surface file. The impervious surface file would make sure that built up
areas would be included in Urban Areas. It will have to be seen if this
might impact jumps to capture more area.
Merging or splitting adjacent Urbanized Areas. This topic had the most
comments and the most questions. According to Mike, the proposed final
criteria will call for using the Urbanized Areas from 2000 as a baseline
and keep each as a separate Urbanized Area, even if an Urbanized Area
touches or grows into another Urbanized Area using the 2010 Census
population. They would remain separate as two Urbanized Areas even
though their exact boundaries may change.
Question: What if two separate Urbanized Areas are adjoining and one is
above the TMA threshold and one is below the TMA boundary. Would FHWA
say that both Urbanized Areas would be inside the TMA?
Answer: Historically, FHWA has NOT merged Urbanized Areas, even if they
are adjacent or touching, to make a combined TMA. FHWA has used the
Census Bureau's list of Urbanized Areas with population 200,000 or
above. This could possibly change under re-authorization.
Question: Can someone predict if an Urbanized Area is likely to reach
above the current TMA threshold of 200,000?
Answer: The 2007-2009 ACS 3-year data include all urban areas of 20,000
Using this data set provides a sense of which urban clusters might have
over 50,000 people when redefined based on 2010 census counts, and thus
are potential urbanized areas. A spreadsheet of this data is embedded
What will be population thresholds for MPOs and TMAs under
Harlan Miller, FHWA Office of Planning was on hand and noted that the
administration's proposal is expected to be sent to Congress within a
month from now (or even sooner). But, he cautioned that one could not
anticipate what the House or Senate might include in their version of a
transportation bill. Harlan said that for now, it is best to tell
people that until we know otherwise, to use 50,000 as the threshold for
MPOs, and 200,000 as the threshold for TMAs.