Accessibility is the ease of reaching valued destinations. It can be measured for various transportation modes, to different types of destinations, and at different times of day. There are a variety of ways to define 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 examines accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. Transit is used for an estimated 5 percent of commuting trips in the United States, making it the second most widely used commute mode after driving. This report complements Access Across America: Auto 2013, a report of job accessibility by auto in 51 metropolitan areas. …
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.
This report describes the data and methodology used in the separate publication, Access Across America: Transit 2014. That report examines accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. Transit is used for an estimated 5 percent of commuting trips in the United States, making it the second most widely used commute mode after driving. 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.
The research was sponsored by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. Accessibility Observatory reports, including the analysis of job accessibility by auto published last year Access Across America: Auto 2013, and interactive maps are available for download at: access.umn.edu/research/america.
Visit the site to see the reports, rankings, data, and maps.
With frequent press attention on traffic congestion and “gridlock,” it may be surprising that work trip travel times in US cities are better than those of high income competitors in other nations …. Indeed, the University of Minnesota’s David Levinson, found that the typical employee can reach two-thirds of jobs in major US metropolitan areas within 30 minutes.
Census Bureau data indicates that the average work trip travel time in US cities of more than 5 million population was approximately 29 minutes each way. Western European cities of more than 5 million population have an average travel time of 32 minutes. Toronto, Canada’s only city of this size, has a travel time of 33 minutes. East Asian cities with more than 5 million residents (Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Nagoya, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore) have far longer average travel times — at 42 minutes. Australia’s two largest cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which are yet to reach 5 million, have an average travel times of 35 minutes.
Time is important, of course. What you can do with that time (the quality of the experience) also matters. If you can work while traveling, the value of saving time is less than if you must focus on the driving task. This is one reason why autonomous vehicles may be such a game-changer. It may also explain in part the premium people are willing to pay for high quality transit and intercity rail service.
While equity has been an important consideration for transportation planning agencies in the U.S. following the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI specifically) and the subsequent Department of Transportation directives, there is little guidance on how to assess the distribution of benefits generated by transport investment programs. As a result, the distribution of these benefits has received relatively little attention in transportation planning, compared to transport-related burdens. Drawing on philosophies of social justice, we present an equity assessment of the distribution of accessibility in order to define the rate of “access poverty” among the population. We then apply this analysis to regional transportation plan scenarios from the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on measures of differences between public transit and automobile access. The analysis shows that virtually all neighborhoods suffer from substantial gaps between car and public transport-based accessibility, but that the two proposed transportation investment programs reduce access poverty compared to the “no project” scenario. We also investigate how access and access poverty rates vary by demographic groups and map low-income communities within access impoverished areas, which could be the subject of further focused investments.
Now only if we could do that for the whole country, hmm?
This paper presents the results of an investigation into the factors contributing to toll lane subscription choice by using data from the MnPASS high-occupancy toll lane system operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The paper estimates a binomial logit model that predicts, on the basis of aggregate characteristics of the surrounding area, the likelihood of a household having a subscription to MnPASS systems. Variables in this model include demographic factors as well as an estimate of the incremental accessibility benefit provided by the MnPASS system. This benefit is estimated with the use of detailed accessibility calculations and represents the degree to which a location’s accessibility to jobs is improved if HOT lanes are available. The model achieves a rho<sup>2</sup> value of .634, and analysis of the results suggests that incremental accessibility benefits play a statistically and practically significant role in determining how likely households are to hold a toll lane subscription.
Access Across America is a state-of-the-art multimodal accessibility evaluation for transportation system performance management and planning. The webinar (recorded August 6, 2014) featured an overview of the Access Across America project and examples of accessibility calculation results, information about the request for participation in the Access Across America Pooled Fund project, and a question and answer session.
(Pooled Funds are the “Kickstarter” for transportation research, where participants are usually, but not only, state DOTs – notably this process was developed in transportation some 20 years ago, much earlier than Kickstarter formed … yet another example of transportation exporting technologies to other sectors).
Using detailed travel surveys conducted by the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) Region in Minnesota for 1990, 2000-2001, and 2010-2011, this paper conducts a detailed analysis of journey-to-work times, activity allocation and accessibility. This study corroborates previous studies showing that accessibility is a significant factor in commute durations. Adjusting land use patterns to increase the number of workers in job-rich areas and the number of jobs in labor-rich areas is a reliable way of reducing auto commute durations. The finding that accessibility and commute duration have a large affect on the amount of time spent at work shows that activity patterns are influenced by transportation and the urban environment in very impactful ways. The descriptive results of this analysis show a measurable decline in the time people spend outside of their homes as well as the amount of time people spend in travel over the past decade. Although trip distances per trip are not getting any shorter, the willingness to make those trip is declining, and as a result fewer kilometers are being traveled and less time on average is being allocated to travel.