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I need to construct a **distance matrix** for a few U.S. counties that are adjacent to one or another, and choosing the **definition of distance** is very tricky. The **shortest path** (i.e the minimum number of times one has to cross county borders to walk from A to B) and **the Vincenty distance** between the most populous cities are not working well already. What are other options?

Also, I read somewhere and some time ago that distance between two geographical regions can be measured by the **strength of "interaction"**. Volume of telephone calls, trajectories of trucks, and frequencies of flights were mentioned. Yet I can't any details about such modeling. **Can somebody refer me to a paper or something? Are there open datasets of those souces available?**

Anybody help me out here?