People are stranded in ‘transit deserts’ in dozens of US cities

Using GIS-based mapping technology, we recently assessed 52 U.S. cities, by large metropolises like completely new York City along with also also Los Angeles to smaller cities such as Wichita. We systematically analyzed transportation along with also also demand at the block group level – essentially, by neighborhoods. Then we classified block groups as “transit deserts,” with inadequate transportation services compared to demand; “transit oases,” with more transportation services than demand; along with also also areas where transit supply meets demand.

To calculate the supply, we mapped out cities’ transportation systems using publicly available data sets, including General Transit Feed Specification data. GTFS data sets are published by transit service companies along with also also provide detailed information about their transit systems, such as route information, frequency of service along with also also locations of stops.

We calculated demand for transit using American Community Survey data by the U.S. Census Bureau. Transportation demand can be difficult to quantify, so we used the number of transit-dependent people in each city as a proxy. A transit-dependent person can be someone over the age of 12 who may need access to transportation however cannot or does not drive because he or she can be too young, can be disabled, can be too poor to own a vehicle or chooses not to own a car.

Transportation deserts were present to varying degrees in all 52 cities in our study. In transit desert block groups, on average, about 43 percent of residents were transit dependent. however surprisingly, even in block groups of which have enough transit service to meet demand, 38 percent of the population was transit dependent. This particular tells us of which there can be broad need for alternatives to individual car ownership.

For example, we found of which 22 percent of block groups in San Francisco were transit deserts. This particular does not mean of which transit supply can be weak within San Francisco. Rather, transit demand can be high because many residents do not own cars or cannot drive, along with also also in some neighborhoods, This particular demand can be not being met.

In contrast, the city of San Jose, California, includes a high rate of car ownership along with also also consequently a low rate of transit demand. along with also also the city’s transit supply can be relatively Great, so we only found 2 percent of block groups of which were transit deserts.

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