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Before we understand how to connect our region, we must first have a very clear notion of the places – the hubs of activity and commerce – that need to be connected.

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What are Job Hubs?

Job Hubs are places of concentrated economic activity in our region. They are defined and identified based on their ability to exhibit the following four characteristics:

High Concentration of traded-sector jobs:

This project identified Job Hubs based on the number of traded-sector jobs in a geographic area, ultimately selecting places with job density in the top 5% in each state of our region. Traded-sector jobs were used as an indicator of economic activity because in addition to exporting goods and services, they also attract additional industries like retail, dining and hospitality.

Multiple traded-sector employers

Job Hubs represent "clusters" of business activity, where multiple employers are attracting talent each day.

Alignment with local development patterns

Job Hubs reflect local development patterns and the location of businesses, infrastructure, transportation assets and land inventory.

Alignment with economic development opportunities

Job Hubs may contain high-quality sites with existing infrastructure or office inventory that, if occupied, could further add density to the area.

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Why Do Job Hubs Matter?

Clusters of businesses across our region maximize our resources, including transportation, infrastructure and utilities, and create opportunities for knowledge sharing, talent attraction, and development of industry-specific hubs that differentiate our region when attracting and growing new businesses. Fundamentally, having a shared definition and understanding of where these hubs are will support our institutions, from local governments to transit authorities and regional planning organizations, in aligning investments to the places where they can have the biggest impact.


Emerging Job Hubs

There are also places across our region that meet some, but not all of the Job Hub criteria. We have identified these as Emerging Job Hubs, or areas that are on the path toward or have the potential to become a Job Hub but do not yet exhibit each of the four characteristics. Emerging Job Hubs are important to understanding potential areas with sites for future growth or places that are currently undergoing reinvestment and may soon have the density of jobs necessary to be deemed a Job Hub.

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Jub Hub Identification

Initial identification of Job Hubs within Greater Cincinnati was based upon the aggregation of contiguous traffic analysis zones (TAZ) containing the top 5% of the region’s traded sector employment. Neighboring Job Hub clusters with similar spatial characteristics were combined by including TAZs containing the top 10% of traded sector employment.

Emerging Job Hubs were formed with TAZs containing the top 5% of traded sector employment but not meeting all of the conditions for a Job Hub designation along with consultation from local economic development leaders.


Transit-shed polygons

Areas served by transit can vary greatly depending on the time of day. Areas shown on the map to be accessible by transit within a certain time limit represent an average created from the following process. A ‘transit-shed’ or isochrones were created for all bus stops at all arrival times within a given job hub. An individual transit-shed represents the area accessible by transit for a specific bus stop at a specific time of day. Areas that were intersected by 50% or more of all transit-sheds for the hub are displayed on the map. Note that some areas shown to not be accessible may in fact be accessible depending on the time of day, and vice versa.

This analysis used the General Transit Feed Schedule (GTFS) from SORTA, TANK, and BCRTA paired with a street network created from Open Street Map using the process outlined here. Labor force estimates were created using simple area weighting of OKI TAZ labor force data. Area weighting is a method of interpolating numeric data from one geography to another (more information here).



Commuter percentages for block groups are sourced from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program from the US Census Bureau and are accessed from the On the Map application. Those percentages are then applied to the jobs data utilized by the OKI Job Hub application to arrive at total in-commuter, out-commuter, and live/work populations. In a few cases, the job hub boundaries differ from the block group boundaries and create a discrepancy in the data. In those cases, totals were adjusted on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, it was apparent that the job hub boundaries excluded residential development so the out-commuter and live/work totals were adjusted to zero. In other cases, residential units were counted and the totals were factored based on expected employees per household.


This project was a partnership of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), and REDI Cincinnati. The work was led by Pete Metz, Dave Shuey, and Hannah Taphorn, with additional support from staff at all three organizations. Vetting of the Job Hubs map was provided by dozens of local economic development professionals from jurisdictions across the region; we thank them for their commitment of time and valuable input. Additional guidance was provided by the Fund for Our Economic Future and the team that developed a similar tool in Northeast Ohio.

For questions, please contact Pete Metz at