Access Across America

About the study

Aerial view of office buildings and roads

Access Across America, a study by David Levinson, the R.P. Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation Engineering at the University of Minnesota, goes beyond congestion rankings to focus on accessibility: a measure that examines both land use and the transportation system. The study is the first systematic comparison of trends in accessibility to jobs by car within the U.S. By comparing accessibility to jobs by automobile during the morning peak period for 51 metropolitan areas, the study tells us which cities are performing well in terms of accessibility and which have seen the greatest change.

To generate the rankings for this study, Levinson created 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 given as travel time increases up to 60 minutes.

Map of U.S. metro areas ranked by accessibility

View full-size map


Top 10 accessible metro areas (2010)

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Francisco
  3. New York
  4. Chicago
  5. Minneapolis
  6. San Jose
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Dallas
  9. Boston
  10. Houston