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Commuting Patterns Across Counties

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Understanding commuting patterns — or the journey from home to work — is important for counties in planning transportation projects and economic development efforts.  The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data from 2008 – 2012, shows variation in the ways workers travel to work in counties across the country.

Although the automobile was still the dominant mode of transport for commuters nationwide, there is variation in the numbers of people commuting to work by automobile across regions of the U.S. and across small, medium and large size counties.  Compared to other modes of transport including public transportation, walking, biking, taxicab or motorcycle — driving to work in an automobile has the largest share of workers nationwide, with 86 percent of workers in this category.  However, there is variation in the share of workers that drive to work across regions of the U.S.  In the northeast only 74 percent of workers drive to work, while in the South slightly over 90 percent of workers drive an automobile to work.  In examining the data at the county level, large counties—those wi...

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5 months ago | 0

Improving Health with Data: The 2014 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

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The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just released the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmap for 2014 that puts counties and the health of their residents center stage.  The annual rankings are part of a program launched in 2010 to show how counties are doing and where they can improve on health.  This year, the measurement tool has six new indicators and an interactive map for easier exploration of the data.

The 2014 County Health Rankings assessment tool includes 34 different ranked measures that influence the health of Americans, such as smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, obesity and access to exercise.  The rankings are based on measurements of two components: 29 health factors, elements that influence health; and five health outcomes, showing the results of health behavior.  These measures come mostly from public sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics and other units of the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe health factors examine the health behavior of county residents like smoking and drug use, access and quality of clinical care, social ...

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5 months ago | 0

Saving Green With Green Buildings

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Earth Day on April 22 was a reminder of all things that can go green — including energy, air quality, transportation, water quality, land use, purchasing and recycling.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program — a voluntary program that helps businesses, government entities and individuals — works towards saving money for its participants through energy efficiency.  Many people may recognize the ENERGY STAR label on electronics and appliances, but the program is not only for computers and refrigerators — commercial buildings and industrial plants can also get an ENERGY STAR certification.  ENERGY STAR certified buildings and plants are located in counties across the country, and additionally, many county governments have taken steps to reduce the energy consumption of their buildings, certify them and save money on energy and water use.

The EPA has a straightforward process for gaining an ENERGY STAR certification for buildings.  The first step is to use the Portfolio Manager, which is free software that tracks and reports a building’s water and energy use.  Once the user enters the characteristics of the building in the ...

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6 months ago | 0