Recent changes in Brazilian urban agglomerations have promoted a more dispersed and fragmented but at the same time, more integrated urban pattern. Along with these changes, population spatial mobility patterns including commuting and migration also changed significantly. This study aims to explore a new theoretical framework for the analysis of commuting patterns, with attention to its relations with social processes which impact urban structure by affecting residence and job locations in urban space. These processes synthesize the elements of the structure of opportunities/constraints which affect commuting patterns and commuters socioeconomic characteristics. Using mainly Brazilian census data, this study illustrates empirically these ongoing processes over the last four decades in the metropolitan area of Campinas, presenting spatial and qualitative patterns with special attention to three specific cities (Hortolândia, Vinhedo e Campinas). The possibility of considering some of these cities historical particularities in regional dynamics leads us to a clearer understanding of the predominance of various commuting constraints on different situations and social groups.