By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
With people looking for ways other than the car to get to work, find out which cities have the best (and worst) access to transit and jobs.
"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
May 16, 2011
I have a quibble with the text here: I wonder whether all the people in Manhattan who streamed across the bridges on foot to get home on 9/11 knew that they were supposed to be "trapped" because of the "complete shutdown of all...bridges." Either my memory and a number of photographs published later are wrong or there's a bit of exaggeration in this text. kral oyunkanal d oyun
For the longest time I have been amazed that every time a city even begins to think of mass transit the choices always come down to some version of light rail, subway, or more buses. All of these have been proven time and again to be colossal failures. Over budget in the construction, major disruptions to existing roadways, etc. Then on top of all that, no one rides the darn things. I want to propose using overhead cable cars as a solution. You know, the kind that they use at some ski resorts to carry people up a hillside. Such a system makes so much sense for so many reasons. First off, the cost. It would cost a fraction of the money spent per mile for light rail, subway, etc. It would be a simple matter to add a line say going off in a different direction as ridership increases. The cars would travel above existing roadways so no new destruction or months long disruption would be necessary. Imagine a line or lines in a downtown area. There would be hubs every block or two and at those hubs could be coffee shops, news stands etc. Due to space constraints I will wrap up by throwing in the clincher. Any city that commits to such a system will instantly become renowned just as those cities that have the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Space Needle, etc. The tourism alone would make such a system viable and profitable. People would ride them for the fun of it. Instead of our leaders and planners stuck in the same old 'solutions' that are cost prohibitive during and after construction, I would think that at some point someone would think outside the box on the future of transportation. It really is that important.
I live in Fresno. Public transportation here is no good to put it politely. Gripes: Overcrowded, AC doesn't work in the summer, heater doesn't work in the winter, when the AC is on it's at full blast and not needed, many of the bus drivers have HORRIBLE attitudes, not to mention the crayzies but that goes hand in hand with public tranportation, the buses are late a lot, the bus stops running early on weekends, they've changed the schedule to where it stops running early on weekdays too! I used to be late to work despite leaving extremely early (several buses would not show up). I use to walk several miles home on the weekend. If you work the hours 9-5 in retail in an area the buses go to, then you might not mind riding the bus here. The bus is actually not considered stable transportation here, for job purposes. So you may have trouble even being hired for a job, let alone getting to one. I got a car awhile ago, and have not looked back since. Did I mention a couple weeks ago I almost got hit by a speeding city bus in Fresno?! Really, #5? I'm from the Monterey Bay, and the public transporation system there is not perfect, but much better than the larger Fresno metro. At least running late on Saturdays on the most used lines. I've been to San Jose, and I must say it's not bad there. Just find a bus stop and wait, and one will show up within a couple of minutes.
Already saw that Hawaii was at the top of the ranking yesterday in the newspaper, still feels cool to be living in the city with the best transportation network. I have to say that I don't use theBus very much, but I see it EVERYWHERE. Wonder how the new rail system will affect the ranking though, when it goes into service eventually. Still, it's nice to know that theBus even goes to residential districts too (there's a stop right outside my street, in the middle of the neighborhood)
If Denver's #6, I'd sure hate to see even 1-5! Using public transportation, it takes me 2.75 hours to get to work (19 miles). It takes me on average 20-25 minutes to drive it. If you're going to downtown Denver, it's slow, but acceptable. If you're going anywhere else point to point, forget it. DC, Chicago, San Francisco are much easier to get around in via public transportation. Who "made" this list up, why are those cities missing??
New York, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago have extensive mass transit systems but aren't here?
Interesting to find Greenville, SC on the 10 worst list. I grew up 30 miles from Greenville and as a child I use to go there with my mother on shopping trips. (Her dragging a reluctant child along to buy new shoes and school clothes every year.) At that time, Greenville had a terrific tram system of electric rail cars that seemed to go everywhere. I remember using it to get around after we drove to Greenville and parked our car as a young child's adventure since my town had nothing like that. During the 40s and 50s that system, like 100s of others across the nation, was destroyed by a corporation comprised of general motors, firestone and other like-interest companies. They bought up these rail lines - public systems and dismantled them enlarging their market for automobiles and related products. This was, of course followed by the great subsidy known as the Interstate Highway System that drove design of housing and a myriad of other influences resulting in the mess we have today - a population (with some few exceptions - see top 10 list) that relies almost entirely on private transportation. Back then, before they ripped the tracks out of the ground, even small towns like Greenville had good public transportation systems. See this Wiki for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_streetcar_scandal PS: If San Jose, Modesto and Fresno are on the top 10 list, where the heck is San Francisco?
Did I forget to mention that drivers will leave late just so they can chat, text, or buy fast food. I was actually on the way to a job interview, and the bus driver was late so that he could make a phone call at a phone booth nearby. I walked up to him and pointed out the time to him very politely. He's probaly close to 7ft tall, and I'm 5'3. He began to yell, and get beligerant. I got back on the bus, he tried to force me to get off. He held up a bus full of people for his personal issue. He called his supervisor to try to get me off, she gave me a ride to my interview. He got in trouble I guess, since he apologized the next time I saw him.
I just came back from Scotland and I can say that at the very least Glasgow, Edinburgh, and even tiny Inverness have very good public bus transit systems and that there is an amazingly good intercity rail and bus system.
....and most of the cities on that list I have been to. Dispute pouring tons of cash in public transit it still takes us 3-4 times longer than commuting by car, door to door. And working late often means wiping out a weeks worth of savings with a taxi ride. The US has a damn fine transportation system given our size and diversity of layouts. Think of the huge competitive advantages of a highly mobile work force and flexible schedule/relocation advantages. Door to door times using a car to airport parking, to a jet, to a rental car, to the parking lot of your destination can beat any other country I have travelled in. Public transportation is impractical and is a step backward in the US except for high density urban areas. It is the usual case to see our transit buses running full routes with only a couple of people on them. But none of this matters to those annointed by the higher moral cause of green sustainability. It is all about controlling freedom of movement not efficient transportation. Terence Jeffrey explains it all nicely in this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1596985976/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1305673903&sr=8-1
Obviously, those doing this review did not travel in the cities. You can not leave Chicago or NYC out of the top ten. A very high percentage of those living in these cities do not have a drivers license or a car due to excellent public transportation.
And now in Denver they're spending Billions (yes, with a B) for light rail lines that no one will ride because where they go does not support the capacity. Plus, if not subsidized the one way ticket would be about $12.50. they're going to charge $4.50. Guess who the suckers are that are being taxed....the people who can't or have no reason to ride to nowhere.. You are EXACTLY correct about the annointed and the boondoggles it begats. And to make the wound more irritated, all of the tracks that were the basis of a very efficient local streetcar system are paved over.. Fascinating...