Research Reports

Access Across America: Auto 2013

Principal Investigator:

David M Levinson

April 2013

Report no. CTS 13-20

Topics: Congestion, Planning, Traffic Modeling and Data, Urban Transportation

Accessibility is the ease of reaching valued destinations. It can be measured across different times of day (accessibility in the morning rush might be lower than the less-congested midday period). It can be measured for each mode (accessibility by walking is usually lower than accessibility by transit, which is usually lower than accessibility by car). There are a variety of ways to measure accessibility, but the number of destinations reachable within a given travel time is the most comprehensible and transparent as well as the most directly comparable across cities. This report focuses on accessibility to jobs by car. Jobs are the most significant nonhome destination, but it is also possible to measure accessibility to other types of destinations. The automobile remains the most widely used mode for commuting trips in the United States. This study estimates the accessibility to jobs by automobile in the 51 largest metropolitan areas in the United States for 2010, and compares results with 2000 and 1990. Rankings are determined by a weighted average of accessibility, giving a higher weight to closer jobs. Jobs reachable within ten minutes are weighted most heavily, and jobs are given decreasing weight as travel time increases up to 60 minutes. Based on this measure, the ten metro areas that provide the greatest average accessibility to jobs are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Jose, Washington, Dallas, Boston, and Houston.

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