According to a study conducted by SmartGrowth America, the Medford/Jackson County area ranks 23rd out of 221 US metropolitan areas for being a compact and well-connected area. The organization used development density, an area's land-use mix, activity centering, and street accessibility as criteria to develop a "Sprawl Index" score.
Medford outranked the Eugene/Springfield area and the Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro area in Oregon. New York ranked highest for being compact and connected.
Several public policies are being credited for Medford's good score, particularly as it pertains to land-use mix and activity centering. Researchers say that people who live in compact, connected areas have greater economic opportunities, spend less of their personal income of transportation and tend to be safer, healthier and tend to live longer.
The complete study may be accessed by visiting http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/measuring-sprawl.