NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Most Jobs Not Accessible by Transit

June 2, 2011

A new Brookings Institution report provides estimates of the percentage of jobs that can be accessed by public transit in 45, 60 or 90 minutes, one-way, by residents of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.  The report is unusual in not evaluating the performance of metropolitan transit systems, but rather "what they are capable of," says Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia, an international public policy firm.

  • According to Brookings, only seven percent of jobs in the nation's largest metropolitan areas can be reached by residents in 45 minutes during the morning peak period (when transit service is the most intense).
  • Among the 29 metropolitan areas with a more than 2,000,000 population, the 45 minute job access average was 5.6 percent, ranging from 12.6 percent in Boston to 1.3 percent in Riverside-San Bernardino.
  • The New York's metropolitan area's 45 minute job access figure was 9.8 percent.
  • At least 96 percent of jobs in the largest metropolitan areas would be inaccessible by transit in 30 minutes for the average resident.

Source: Wendell Cox, "Transit: The 4 Percent Solution," New Geography, May 26, 2011. Adie Tomer, Elizabeth Kneebone, Robert Puentes and Alan Berube, "Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America," Brookings Institution, May 2011.

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