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I am trying to figure out how to calculate the average commute time to work within 15 miles of the city center (and then map it in a form of continuous symbols (red to green gradient) with a legend, scale and everything. That would be called “average commute times to work).

Could you help me for the first part of the problem? Thank you very much

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Is this going to be a live tool where a user can select an arbitrary "center" or you're just trying to find a good place to move to? :) Either way, check out this link, it's has a pretty neat tool to see how far you can go in N minutes or where you can drive M miles, using google maps. You can probably find similar tools online, w/o having to build one yourself. – Vadim Aug 30 '12 at 0:22

You need Network Analyst extension for ArcGIS. It has a function called Service Area that will do roughly what you want.

The accuracy will depend on how good your data on the average speed of your road links is. If you also want to look at commute times including public transportation that that becomes a far harder problem, and not one that ArcGIS is really very well equipped to answer.

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thank you very much for your help, really appreciate – Matthias Sep 2 '12 at 19:57

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