David Levinson’s metro job accessibility report is out, and it’s vital for planners interested in transit

David Levinson has been working on accessibility for years, and his work is so important to those interested in public transit. He’s got two reports up we should be talking about right now. Here’s the link to the maps and the report for transit accessibility (2014), and here’s the link to auto accessibility. These are available from the Accessibility Observatory. There’s lots there to read because David and his research group are very productive, but here are some of the numbers that I have been playing with this morning:


Number of jobs accessible by car relative the number of accessible by transit by travel time (2014)

City 20 minutes 40 minutes
Boston 31.0 18.4
Chicago 36.4 19.6
Dallas 161.0 80.6
Portland 66.7 18.5
Los Angeles 96.1 39.6
New York 10.1 6.2
San Francisco 57.6 12.8
Washington, DC 38.9 10.2

All these are my calculations based on numbers I took from the two reports, so if they are messed up, I did it, not David. I typed this up before coffee.

This little exercise was eye-opening to me in several ways. First the no-brainer: We’ve always known that in US transit, there is New York and there is everybody else. That’s true here. Second, the 20 minute versus 40 minute distinction strikes me as being really important. For many cities thought to have good transit (San Francisco, Boston, Chicago), the competition enters in at the 40 minute mark, not the 20 minute mark. The rest of these numbers…oye. The Los Angeles numbers, oye. The Portland numbers, face palm.

I may spend the rest of the day in bed.

edited to add–David emailed me and said my original numbers were off…I found a bunch of typos. He’s going to have a proper report up in a month…so stay tuned for that. When I fixed the typos, the numbers got worse.

Seriously. Staying in bed. Do we have any ice cream?