“Must have reliable transportation.” It’s a requirement for many jobs. But with high gas prices, commuting by car is more costly and less reliable if you can’t afford to pay the price at the pump. So how well will public transportation services in the U.S. hold up when people increasing look to commuting alternatives to the car?
The Brookings Institute released a report that analyzed data from 371 transit providers in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. — which account for 95 percent of all transit passenger miles traveled — to better understand how effectively transit is connecting people with jobs.
Which cities are getting it right (and wrong) when it comes to their ability to offer transit to the largest percentage of their population and the number of jobs the working-age population can access within 90 minutes via transit?
Here are the best metro areas for combined access to transit and jobs:
9. Provo, Utah
10. Modesto, Calif.
The worst cities of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas for transit and employment access are:
91. Atlanta, Ga.
92. Richmond, Va.
93. Greenville, S.C.
94. Birmingham, Ala.
95. Knoxville, Tenn.
97. Youngstown, Ohio
98. Augusta, Ga.
99. Palm Bay, Fla.
100. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Other key findings from the report:
- Nearly 70 percent of large metropolitan residents live in neighborhoods with access to transit service of some kind. Meaning that 128 million working-age people live in metro areas with some kind of transit access, while 39 million people in these metro areas have no access to transit.
- The typical metropolitan resident can reach about 30 percent of jobs in their metropolitan area via transit in 90 minutes.
- About one-quarter of jobs in low- and middle-skill industries are accessible via transit within 90 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter, compared to one-third of jobs in high-skill industries.
- Fifteen of the 20 metro areas that rank highest on a combined score of transit coverage and job access are in the West.
While some cities are successful at linking people with jobs, too many of the jobs in most metro areas are inaccessible to people without cars. And for those who do have access to transit, slow and unreliable services don’t make sense to use if a car is available. Until cities do better across the board at providing people with access to transit that can take them to their job, look for people who are exploring public transportation during the gas price spike to return back to their cars.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons