Access to Jobs by Way of Public Transit

In the Reason Foundation’s recent Surface Transportation News #132, Robert Poole authored a blog post that discusses a report by Andrew Owen and David Levinson of the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Department called Access Across America: Transit 2014. Their report is concerned with data on how many jobs are accessible by transit within certain time periods in 46 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US.

Poole’s post analyzes both the percentage of jobs in a metropolitan area that one can reach within a given travel time, as well as the percentage of commuters using public transit as their method of commuting. His findings indicate that some metropolitan areas have surprisingly high ratios of percentages of commuters using public transit compared to the percentage of jobs reachable within 60 minutes of travel time. Other cities have similarly surprising low ratios. The post concludes by suggesting that this data may be used by transportation planners in determining where and what kind of new transit investments should be made.

Phillip Washington, General Manager and CEO at the Denver Regional Transportation District, agrees, noting that it is important for transit systems to review their existing base system services at least three times per year. Washington explained that Reviewing the services an agency has on the street at least three times per year and making adjustments based on ridership, new development, etc., ensures that an agency provides service where it is most needed.

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