Access to jobs by transit is on the rise

In most large metropolitan areas, the typical worker could reach more jobs by transit in 2016 than in 2015, according to the newest Access Across America report from the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory. Accessibility increased in 36 out of 49 regions. These annual reports let individual regions track changes in accessibility over time, scan for accessibility issues within the region, and compare their own performance to other regions.

Where people walk: Two new studies improve “walkability” measurement

In planning and designing for pedestrians, sidewalks are often a good start but rarely make a place walkable on their own. Measuring pedestrian accessibility (the topic of a recent SSTI webinar) depends on two important pieces of information: 1) where destinations are located, and 2) the quality of the walking network connecting to those places. This second point is the focus of two studies.

A framework for determining where congestion really matters

These two things are true: 1) Travelers dislike slow traffic, and 2) slow traffic is sometimes an inescapable result of things that people do like—cities with popular destinations. Conventional transportation practice responds well to No. 1, with well-known standards for delay and capacity. Practice has no clear standards to deal with No. 2—what to do in places where speeding up cars amounts to destroying the village in order to save it. A new study of neighborhoods in Los Angeles, a place with more than a little congestion, helps fill this gap.

SSTI releases Connecting Sacramento: A trip-making and accessibility study

For several years, SSTI has worked to advance best practices in the use of two emerging technologies: accessibility metrics and trip-making data from mobile devices. Our recently completed study, Connecting Sacramento, was an essential part of that effort. This study brings together these technologies and tests their application in identifying and prioritizing first- and last-mile-connections to transit, among other uses.

Connecting Sacramento

Connecting Sacramento is the first study to incorporate both accessibility analysis and tripmaking data, including data from multiple sources, and assess how they can be used together to guide transportation- and land use-related decisions. This study focused specifically on opportunities to improve first- and last-mile connections to light rail transit in Sacramento, but its findings are widely applicable.

Accessibility in practice (SSTI and Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, 2017)

Planning agencies and transportation decision makers often talk about the importance of improving access to destinations, but they rarely have the tools or resources to measure accessibility and incorporate those metrics into decision making. This report guides agencies through that process.

A toolkit to measure and value “community severance” due to traffic

A high-traffic road can divide a community in more ways than one. Researchers haven’t always been able to show what extent such roads can harm a community’s access, health, or quality of life. A new study outlined in the latest volume of the Journal of Transport and Health looked at one corridor to test tools to measure just that.

Accessibility for all: Open source options for measuring access to destinations

As highlighted in two recent SSTI webinars in March and April of this year, accessibility measures are becoming more useful in practice. The most notable examples rely on proprietary data and methods, but open source approaches are also gaining traction, while highlighting the need for more reliable, open data. Accessibility measures describe how easily people can reach destinations, usually in terms of travel time, given the existing transportation system and land use patterns.

New research reinforces the importance of the built environment to cycling mode share

A recently published study from Montreal sheds new light on the importance of the built environment in influencing bicycle commuting and the resulting impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers also estimated the effect of bicycle infrastructure accessibility on cycling mode share. They estimated the effect of the new bicycle infrastructure as yielding a 1.7 percent reduction in transportation GHG emissions, roughly equivalent to the estimated effects of replacing the city’s buses with hybrid models and electrifying the city’s commuter trains.

Job type and location may keep low-wage workers from using transit

Affordable transit service can be a major asset to low-wage workers, but characteristics of their jobs—such as where and when they work—may keep them from using those services. New research in Toronto focuses more attention on the work end of the trips in determining how well transit can meet workers’ needs and finding ways to increase transit effectiveness and ridership.