Access Across America: Transit 2014

Accessibility map of New York City. Darker colors indicate that more jobs are accessible by transit within 30 minutes.

Accessibility map of New York City. Darker colors indicate that more jobs are accessible by transit within 30 minutes.

By Andrew Owen, director of the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota

Yesterday, the Accessibility Observatory released Access Across America: Transit 2014, a new report that investigates accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Accessibility is the ease of reaching valued destinations. For example, in this report we find that the average worker in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area can reach about 17,000 jobs within 30 minutes by transit. The full report provides transit accessibility statistics and rankings, as well as detailed maps, for each of the 46 metropolitan areas. Accessibility metrics capture both the benefits (17,000 jobs) and the costs (30 minutes) of travel. This makes them a valuable tool for understanding how well transportation systems fulfill their fundamental purpose: connecting people to destinations that matter, at costs they are willing to pay.

Because they’re so fundamental, accessibility metrics can pack a lot of information into a few numbers. Our new report provides a strong foundation of data on which we hope to build a greater understanding of how land use and transportation interact to connect American workers to jobs. Already, you can explore transit accessibility in different ways:

In the coming months, future reports in the Access Across America series will dig deeper into questions about accessibility. We’ll compare transit accessibility to auto accessibility, break down job accessibility based on wage levels, and identify which metropolitan areas overperform and underperform for their size.

To join the conversation about accessibility, you can contact us, follow the Accessibility Observatory, and sign up to receive e-mail updates.

Andrew Owen is the director of the Accessibility Observatory (http://access.umn.edu) and a research fellow at the University of Minnesota.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Land use, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation

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