Monday, August 22, 2011

Brookings Releases "Transit Access" Tool

The Brookings Institution has released Transit Access - an interactive tool that presents metropolitan and neighborhood-level information on the accessibility of public transit in the nation’s largest metro areas. Transit Access is associated with the “Transit Access and Zero-Vehicle Households” report, which highlights the critical nature of public transit as it connects people with jobs and community resources. The report suggest that transit is not aligned with the needs of zero-vehicle households, particularly in the suburbs, leaving many jobs out of reach for residents. For example, zero-vehicle households in the 100 largest cities can reach 47 percent of metropolitan jobs within 90 minutes compared to a 25.8 percent average in the suburbs. In both cases – metropolitan and suburban – there is a significant gap in transit coverage and job accessibility. Other statistics highlighted in the report include:

  • 61.7 percent of zero-vehicle households are in cities
  • 99% of zero-vehicle households in cities are near transit compared to only 58% in the suburbs
  • 59.8 percent of zero-vehicle households have incomes below 80 percent of the median income in their metro area.
  • For the average metropolitan commuter, roughly 25% of jobs in low and middle-skill industries are accessible via transit within 90 minutes compared with 33% of jobs in high-skill industries

This report emphasizes the need for communities, policymakers and land-use planners to consider developing mass transit in areas with little access to jobs or other resources, which are key aspects of the Federal TIGER grants and Sustainable Communities programs. Specifically, this report suggests that transit development should focus on suburban areas, where there is increasing poverty and little access to transit options.

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