Chicago’s beta Values for Air Transportation, 1949-1989

Chicagos beta Values for Air Transportation 1949 1989

Source: adapted from E.J. Taaffe, H.L. Gauthier and M.E. O’Kelly (1995) Geography of Transportation, Second Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, p. 223.

Technological innovations impacted the friction of distance, which is reflected in the reduction of the beta exponent used on spatial interaction models. Lower beta values imply a reduction of the friction of distance. The introduction of jet planes significantly impacted the reduction of the beta exponent in the 1960s. Improved speed and capacities made air transportation more affordable and substantially increased air travel (interactions). Therefore, keeping all other factors constant, the same city pairs generate more air traffic flows simply because it is more affordable to fly.