Traveling to Work


Kaitie Fernandez

Research Alliance in Math and Science

Maryville College


Mentor: Budherdra L. Bhaduri

Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

 Oak Ridge National Laboratory


The United States work force that encompasses the masses of daily commuters travel near and far, north and south, and east and west to arrive at an intended occupational destination. It has been hypothesized that the majority, 80 percent, of all working Americans either work in the same county that they live in or in an adjacent county. Proving or disproving this hypothesis will further be extended to determine how the daily commute to work effects carbon emissions, which have been linked to the evolving global climate. To effectively determine this proposed hypothesis Census 2000 data was analyzed. By utilizing Model Builder, an efficient PYTHON scripting tool in the geographical information system ArcMap, a script was developed that produced a table that listed each county and all adjacent counties. It was discovered that the proposed estimate was significantly lower than the actual results that were calculated. Depending on the particular car that is driven everyday significantly determines the impact that each individual has on carbon emissions. If public transportation, fuel efficient cars, car pooling incentives, driving tax, or any combination of the previous were utilized more frequently in specific counties whose workers commute outside of their county and adjacent counties, this would contribute to the efforts to combat global climate change by reducing carbon emissions caused by daily transportation.