Mapping Public Transportation

Measuring the performance of your city’s public transit


According to the American Public Transportation Association, the use of public transit has grown more than 18 percent since 2005—a higher growth rate than both highway travel (five percent) and world population (nine percent).

To measure the social and economic benefits of this booming public service, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter created a joint project called AllTransit. This is the largest available repository of transit data and analysis, featuring more than 543,000 transit stops, 800 transit agencies, and 15,000 routes nationwide, according to the project’s website.

Users enter any location within America and AllTransit returns routes and times for that location’s bus, metro, and ferry services. The analysis includes a performance score for that location’s transit based on connectivity, access to job locations, and frequency of service. Herndon, Va., for example, earned a score of 6.5/10. A map is provided as well, visualizing the density of the area’s transit use.

AllTransit combines U.S. Census data with statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to offer location-specific metrics in six categories: jobs, economy, health, quality, mobility, and equity. The jobs category, for instance, measures statistics such as the number of jobs accessible by a 30-minute transit commute, jobs located near transit stations, commuters who live within a half-mile of transit, and more. The equity category sheds light on how transit access varies by race, income, education, and vehicle ownership.

The AllTransit database serves to help public officials and city planners make more informed and effective decisions about the development of their region’s public transportation. Additionally, commuters new to an area can use the site to determine where to live and to ensure they have adequate access to the services they rely on to get to work.

According to GovTech, AllTransit is preparing to closely investigate “transit deserts,”—areas where residents have no immediate access to public transportation—in an effort to inspire those areas to provide transit for residents who need it.

As transit becomes more practical for America’s working population, other mapping services are beginning to include transit features as well. Since releasing iOS9 in fall 2016, Apple has continuously updated its Maps offering with transit data for various locales, providing iPhone users with information such as station entrance locations, sequential stops, and departure times.

Photo Credit: AllTransit

Posted in: got geoint?   Tagged in: Civil, Data

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