When attempting to quantify a city’s quality of life, walkability is often the go-to metric. But what about walk-to-transit-ability? People Near Rapid Transit is a new city-scoring tool from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), and measures how many of a city’s inhabitants are within walking distance—that is, within 1 kilometer, or 0.6 miles—of rapid transportation like subways, light rails, and BRT lines.
In the initial study of 26 urban centers around the world, Paris scored 100 percent, meaning all of the city’s residents live within a kilometer of public transit. In L.A., that number is just 11 percent.
Unsurprisingly, the further out from a city’s core, often the less access there is to rapid transit systems. This leaves less wealthy residents—who tend to live further from city centers for financial reasons—with less access to the kinds of economic opportunities that could make a real difference. Of course, more robust public transit systems also help reduce vehicle traffic, pollution, and car-crash fatalities.
ITDP hopes the new score will be a handy tool for encouraging transit development projects, and potentially shaming car-centric cities like L.A. to shape up.