Access to jobs by transit increases in many U.S. metros

Buses picking up passengersPhoto: Metro Transit Access to jobs by transit increased in the Twin Cities area and many other U.S. metros, according to a new report from the University’s Accessibility Observatory. The annually updated research ranks 49 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for connecting workers with jobs via transit. 

Although the rankings of the top 10 metro areas for job accessibility by transit changed only slightly from the previous year, new data comparing changes within each of the 49 largest U.S. metros over one year helped researchers identify the places with the greatest increases in access to jobs by transit.

Kansas City improved more than 17 percent. San Francisco, which ranks 2nd for job accessibility by transit, improved nearly 9 percent. In all, 42 of the 49 largest metros showed increases in job accessibility by transit.

“Based on this analysis, Minneapolis–Saint Paul ranks 13th nationally in access to jobs by transit, unchanged from last year’s rankings. Between 2016 and 2017, the transit job accessibility experienced by the average Twin Cities worker increased by 7 percent—the 9th highest change in transit accessibility among the areas we analyzed,” says Andrew Owen, Observatory director.

30 minute transportThis map shows the difference in 30-minute transit accessibility for Minneapolis-Saint Paul between 2016 and 2017 (greens are increases, browns are decreases). “These results reflect many factors, including overall levels of transit service, total employment levels, and the density and geographic coordination of residential areas, workplaces, and transit corridors,” Owen explains. “Perhaps the most significant change in the Twin Cities’ transit system between January 2016 and January 2017 was the opening of service on the A Line [bus rapid transit]. Our analysis indicates that A Line service played an important role in driving the overall increase in transit accessibility, along with an increase in overall regional employment. Route and schedule changes throughout the transit network all contribute to accessibility changes as well, but it is difficult to isolate specific contributions.”

This year’s report—Access Across America: Transit 2017—presents detailed accessibility values for each of the 49 metropolitan areas, as well as detailed block-level color maps that illustrate the spatial patterns of accessibility within each area. 

The new rankings are part of the Access Across America national pooled-fund study that began in 2013. The study is a multi-year effort led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and supported by partners that include the Federal Highway Administration and 10 additional state DOTs.

The Transit 2017 report and other Access Across America research reports for auto, walking, and soon, biking, are available on the Observatory website.


    Top increases in job accessibility

    by transit


   Top 10 metro areas for job accessibility

    by transit

  1. Kansas City (+17.36%)
  2. Charlotte (+10.81%)
  3. Austin (+9.76%)
  4. Columbus (+8.99%)
  5. San Francisco (+8.72%)
  6. Orlando (+7.88%)
  7. Las Vegas (+7.68%)
  8. Phoenix (+7.31%)
  9. Minneapolis (+7.01%)
  10. Cincinnati (+6.78%)
  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Chicago
  4. Washington, DC
  5. Boston
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Seattle
  9. San Jose
  10. Denver

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