Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The cultural landscape is shaped by human imprints on the natural environment. Many decisions are made that have rippling effects over time. One type of development that changes the landscape is transportation innovation. As improved transportation links are introduced, people change their movement to include the quicker, more efficient route. As movement changes due to increased accessibility, roads that were once traveled by all now have fewer travelers. The rippling effects of the decision to add new infrastructure start at the opening of the innovation. New businesses will spring up at crossroads and common stopping areas. The long established businesses located on the old highways experience a change in business trends (transactions). The less use of the road by travelers, the less use of their businesses. This study attempts to show the effect of the transportation innovation of the Interstate System on the cultural landscape of a U.S. highway. The study area is U.S. Highway 31 -W, also known as the Dixie Highway, which runs parallel and interweaves with Interstate 65, from Elizabethtown south to Bowling Green, Kentucky. The different spatial locations of motels on 31-W and the different uses of the structures over time will be examined to determine patterns of use in relation to the nearest 1-65 interchange. The study uses nearest neighbor analysis to find patterns among the existing motel structures, and contingency/chi-square analysis to find relationships between motel locations and distances to the nearest interstate interchange and downtown center. Results show that the NNA yielded three years in which there were significant levels to reject the null hypothesis (the point pattern is random) in favor of the alternate hypothesis one (the point pattern is more clustered than random). Neither of the results of the two contingency/chisquare analyses, use of motel structure in relation to distance from the interstate and use of motel structure in relation to distance from the nearest town center, show significant evidence to favor the alternate hypothesis over the null in any of the years used.



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