Getting to Work

Excellent analysis in this report from New Geography.

An excerpt.

“Advances in information technology have made it possible to provide estimates of job access by transportation mode in metropolitan areas. The University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory has positioned itself as the leader in this field.

“Data for the average metropolitan area resident is now available for 2019 for 50 of the largest US metropolitan areas for autos and transit. A 30-minute standard has been generally adopted for comparing metropolitan areas. This is similar to the average one-way work trip travel time in the United States, which was 27.6 minutes in 2019, according to the American Community Survey.

“Best Auto 30-Minute Job Access

“The best auto access is in metro Salt Lake City (Figure 1), where about 114% of the metropolitan area’s jobs are accessible to the average resident worker. This may seem impossible, but favorable employment geography is responsible. The highest urban core of Salt Lake City, which includes not only downtown but also the highest densities in the metro area and Temple Square is about five miles south of the Ogden metropolitan area line (Davis County), This makes it possible for Salt Lake City residents to reach jobs in the two adjacent metropolitan areas. Not only is there continuous urbanization to the north, the area along Interstate 15 to the Provo metropolitan area (Utah County) also provides nearby employment opportunities for Salt Lake City metro workers. The employment in these two adjacent metros is nearly as large as that of metro Salt Lake City.

“Five more metropolitan areas have 30-minute job access of 80% or more, Las Vegas, San Jose, Hartford, Raleigh and Milwaukee. San Jose’s 88% figure is especially impressive given its location in the traffic clogged San Francisco Bay Area. Like Salt Lake City, San Jose residents benefit from access to the adjacent San Francisco metropolitan area and the jobs-rich, dispersed f Silicon Valley into San Mateo County.

“The best 30-minute transit job access is in the San Francisco metropolitan area, at 3.51% (Figure 2). This compares to the 29.1% of San Francisco metropolitan area jobs that can be reached by autos in 30 minutes, 8.3 times (830%) that of transit.

“Salt Lake City ranks second in 30-minute transit access, at 2.54%, followed by Milwaukee at 2.43%. Milwaukee is not surprising, because in my days of chairing American Public Transit Association committees (1980s), Milwaukee was often referred to as a particularly good transit city.

“Perhaps surprisingly, New York, which dominates US transit ridership and has by far the most comprehensive transit system in the nation yet ranks only fourth in 30-minute transit job access, at 2.39%.

“The city of New York accounts for about one-half of the jobs in the metropolitan area. The transit market share is 32% in the metropolitan area — no other metro reaches even 20%. Transit carries 58% of commuters to jobs in the city, but less than six percent of the equally large number of jobs outside the city.

“Even so, 30-minute transit access within the urban core is impressive. This can be illustrated by data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s website. Transit 30-minute job access in the city of New York is about four times that of the metropolitan area. And within Manhattan (New York County) transit 30-minute job access for the average resident worker is about 107%. CNT ‘s 30-minute access criteria differ from that of the University of Minnesota. The CNT figure is more than three times as high for the New York metropolitan area, presumably reflecting more liberal criteria).”

Retrieved November 19, 2021 from Auto 30-Minute Commutes Substantially Top Transit |

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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