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Economy

Why Traffic Jams in Big Cities Are a Problem for Small Towns, Too

Congestion in major metro areas leads to freight backups across the country.
The old capitol building in Iowa City, Iowa.
The old capitol building in Iowa City, Iowa.Steve Shupe / Flickr

The trailer for the next season of Girls is out, and if you haven't already clicked over to watch it, you should know it begins with Lena Dunham's character having moved from New York to Iowa City to attend the venerable Iowa Writers' Workshop. "Iowa's incredible," she says while eating grapes. "We should all move here and start the revolution." To which her friend responds: "No one is moving to Iowa, ever."

There might not be a lot of people moving from New York to Iowa City, ever, but there are quite a lot of goods making that trip every year. About $174.4 million worth, to be more precise. We know this because Brookings has built an incredibly useful interactive tool mapping the value of trade commodities between various U.S. cities. (Yes, we did just tie Girls to intercity freight policy. You're welcome.) Here's a look at Iowa City's trading partnerships: