By Mary Ebeling
The Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter has released its AllTransit tool that assists in analysis, planning, and visualization of transit systems. AllTransit stands out through its ability to analyze a variety of metrics quickly, producing outputs in the form of GIS-based maps, charts, and tables that can be employed to educate policy makers, planners, agencies, advocates, and the general public to make better informed choices about transit operations, service planning, and infrastructure investments.
AllTransit provides users with unprecedented access to detailed information about 805 transit agencies, 543,787 stops, and 15,070 routes across the United States. AllTransit employs six primary metrics to evaluate transit at a regional, city, or neighborhood scale. Metrics include: jobs, economy, health, equity, transit quality, and mobility network. Within each of these metrics an additional layer of measures drills down further. For example, using the jobs metric it is possible to determine the number of transit-accessible jobs by educational attainment located within a ½ mile of transit. The equity metric includes transit availability by race, income, or educational attainment. The tool produces an overall performance score based on a 0–10 scale, with 10 being the highest. It also allows users to disaggregate the data and focus on the neighborhood level, a unit of analysis much better suited to evaluating transit service.
Significantly, AllTransit incorporates a measure for transit frequency that feeds both the individual measure and the overall transit scores. AllTransit defines frequent service as routes with a headway of 15 minutes or less, and is measured 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Frequent transit service is generally understood to be the most useful type of service for transit riders, as it gives them the greatest amount of schedule flexibility.
Since the tool is new, CNT expects to make adjustments to improve AllTransit’s functionality. The data behind AllTransit is current to 2015, and will be updated every six months. Linda Young, CNT’s project manager, encourages anyone finding inconsistencies or errors to submit a comment. Upcoming CNT-hosted webinars (dates TBD) will also provide an opportunity to give feedback.
Anyone can access the basic version of AllTransit at no charge. A customized community scenario analysis is also available on a contract basis. Stakeholders, agency staff, elected officials, and others interested in better understanding and improving transit in their communities would do well to spend some time with the AllTransit tool; it may just help move the needle on decisions for improving transit.
Mary Ebeling is a Transportation Policy Analyst at SSTI.
By Mary Ebeling