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Transit Accessibility and You

Over the past few months, we’ve been talking about transit’s role in getting Americans to jobs.  Most of our analysis summarizes the situation for entire metropolitan areas, or the cities and suburban areas within them. 

But what’s in it for you and where you live?  Is transit available in your home neighborhood? And if so, how many jobs can it help you reach within 45 minutes? 60 minutes? 90 minutes (if you’ve got that long)?

Fortunately, we’ve got answers for you.* Our transit mapping tool allows users to zoom into the country’s 100 largest metro areas and inspect transit service at the neighborhood level.  Just select one of the metro areas from the drop down list and pan/zoom into a neighborhood--in this case, a census block group. Click on the associated zone in the map to see a pop-up showing resident characteristics and how many jobs they can reach via transit in 90 minutes at rush hour.

Taking it one step further, you can also see the specific destinations one can reach via transit, and how long it takes to get there.  Switch to the ‘Travel time’ tab and drag the grey target to the same neighborhood. The map lights up destinations (census tracts) based on the travel time to each.  Want to see where you can get in just 60 minutes? Just click on the 75 and 90 minute legend items to remove them from the map.

And this is just the start of what you can do. Thinking about buying that condo downtown now that the kids are off at college? The tool tells you where transit can take you in a reasonable amount of time. How about ditching your car entirely? The tool helps you figure out if that’s feasible.

For those working in transportation or land-use planning, the tool can even help you in your job. What are some of those most disconnected low-income neighborhoods in your region? Click on the ‘Job access’ tab and filter to the ‘Low Income’ group. Looking for good spots to consider TOD investments? Check for the neighborhoods with the most frequent service under the ‘Service frequency’ tab.

We’re big believers that the data revolution will fundamentally change how we live, work, and govern. This transit tool is just one first step to see how that revolution can make a difference in your life.

* For those working in older versions of Internet Explorer, specifically IE7 and IE8, we’ve now added a Silverlight upgrade to the tool. Just note that you may need to download Silverlight if not pre-installed on your machine.