Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Laura Marie Beazley, 1993

The Impact of Highway Improvements on Rural Settlement and Growth


In a particular study area along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, changes in the development of the rural landscape have been documented from 1907/23 to 1988. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze and explain the relationships between rural settlement growth and improvements in the road network.

The descriptive analysis indicated that the quality of roads has improved over time, increasing the accessibility of the region. As well, the density of country residences has increased over time, indicating that growth and development was actually occurring. The inferential analysis indicated that improvements in the road network had a small, yet increasing effect on the process of exurbanization in this area. The analysis of the commuting data indicated that this area is gradually being dominated by exurbanites, as a result of improvements in the road network making the countryside more accessible and more attractive to the commuting population.

Studies of the effect of improved transportation routes on rural settlement growth are few in number. This study provides a comprehensive overview of the exurbanization process occurring in this particular area. It is hoped that this thesis will provide some insight on future planning and development along the Eastern Shore.