University of Minnesota

Access Across America: Transit 2014

About the study


This study examined the accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. It is the most detailed evaluation to date of access to jobs by transit, and it allows for a direct comparison of the transit accessibility performance of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

Rankings were determined by a weighted average of accessibility, giving a higher weight to closer jobs. The calculations include all components of a transit journey, including “last mile” access and egress walking segments and transfers.

The study's report presents detailed accessibility values for each metropolitan area, as well as detailed block-level maps that illustrate the spatial patterns of accessibility within each area. A separate publication—Access Across America: Transit 2014 Methodology—describes the data and methodology.

In the future, the data presented in this study will be used to complete additional analyses, published periodically. Upcoming reports in the series will explore more detailed aspects of transit accessibility to jobs, including accessibility of jobs of different wage levels and a comparison with accessibility by car.

Map of U.S. metro areas ranked by accessibility to jobs by transit

View full-size map

What the media are saying...

“From a transit perspective, these maps can also illustrate how small changes in service — a few more buses at rush hour, more frequent connections in the subway — could dramatically alter access to jobs across town.”

- Emily Badger @ Washington Post WonkBlog: Mapped: How public transit changes your job prospects.

“With a map and data set for each metro region, the report reveals a ton about how different approaches to transit actually impact the lives of residents.”

- Alex Davies @ Wired: America’s 10 Best Cities for Commuting on Public Transit.

“… the most useful transit commute rankings you're likely to see for some time."

- Eric Jaffe @ City Lab: The Carless Commute Ranking to End All Carless Commute Rankings.

“We've seen plenty of stories that measure how big, fast, and effective our transit systems are in the U.S. But for many people, none of that matters unless transit can do one thing: Get them to work. That's why this study by the University of Minnesota is so valuable—it shows which transit systems provide the best access to jobs.”

- Alissa Walker @ Gizmodo: The 10 Best American Cities for Riding Transit To Work

Read more media coverage of Access Across America: Transit 2014 on David Levinson's  Transportationist blog.

The Accessibility Observatory is a program of the Center for Transportation Studies and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering.