Research shows nationwide increase in job accessibility by transit

Posted on June 28, 2018

Transit is used for an estimated 5% of commuting trips in the U.S., making it the second most widely used commute mode after driving.
King County Metro
Transit is used for an estimated 5% of commuting trips in the U.S., making it the second most widely used commute mode after driving.King County Metro

Annually updated research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota ranks 49 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for connecting workers with jobs via transit.

The rankings, part of the Access Across America national pooled-fund study that began in 2013, focus on accessibility, a measure that examines both land use and transportation systems. Accessibility measures how many destinations, such as jobs, can be reached in a given time.

New data comparing changes within each of the 49 largest U.S. metros over one year identified the places with the greatest increases in access to jobs by transit. Kansas City, Mis. improved more than 17%. San Francisco, which ranks second for job accessibility by transit, improved nearly 9%. In all, 42 of the 49 largest metros showed increases in job accessibility by transit.

This year’s report presents accessibility values for each of the 49 metropolitan areas, as well as block-level color maps that illustrate the spatial patterns of accessibility within each area.

Transit is used for an estimated 5% of commuting trips in the U.S., making it the second most widely used commute mode after driving. The commute mode share of transit can be higher in individual metropolitan areas: 31% in the New York metropolitan area; 11% in Chicago; 8% in Seattle.

Key factors affecting the rankings for any metro area include the number of jobs available and where they are located, the availability of transit service, and population size, density, and location.

The research is sponsored by the National Accessibility Evaluation Pooled-Fund Study, an effort led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and supported by partners including the Federal Highway Administration and 10 additional state departments of transportation.

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