Last month, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute released its 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, the latest in an occasional series of reports focused on automobile congestion in U.S. metropolitan areas. Using data from INRIX, these reports estimate the costs of congestion, represented by the number of “extra” hours that automobile commuters spend by traveling at low, congested speeds instead of high, uncongested speeds. The implication is that our cities function best when they allow cars to move fast.
Detailed congestion data are a critical component of our work at the Accessibility Observatory. But for us, automobile congestion is only part of the whole picture. We approach all of our research and evaluation projects with the understanding that all travel is motivated by a desire to reach destinations, and that no study of transportation is complete unless it looks at both the costs and benefits of travel.
Sunday, June 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the start of service on the Twin Cities’ Green Line LRT route. At the Accessibility Observatory, we like to celebrate transportation anniversaries the way we wish everyone would: with a detailed evaluation of access to destinations.
Staff from the Accessibility Observatory will be in Washington, DC, next week for the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board. We’d love to discuss our recent national transit accessibility report, our detailed transit accessibility datasets, plans for annual accessibility data updates, and pretty much anything else about accessibility analysis. We hope to see you there!
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. 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.