It’s gospel for planners and transit advocates that better access to transportation has a spillover effect on other measures of neighborhood health, providing lifestyle enhancements, economic benefits as well as additional ways to get from point A to B. The new AllTransit site, an extensive map and data analysis tool developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, offers instant, in-depth data to support those conclusions. By aggregating information from 805 transit agencies, 15,070 routes, and 543,787 bus and rail stops to create a nationwide commuter atlas, the website allows for in-depth analysis and comparisons of travel options in different cities and regions. it also provides a picture of the myriad ways connectivity and transit access affect economic growth, neighborhood health, and equity.
"AllTransit offers tremendous potential to increase our understanding of the value that high-quality transit provides American communities, by visualizing transit’s impact on job access, economic development, urban mobility, and social equity outcomes," said David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter, which helped develop the tool.
Users start by entering in their zip code, which opens up a map of local travel options. From there, a wealth of statistics are available, from economic and demographic information showcasing the racial and class dimensions of transit access, to the number of jobs available near a half-mile of transit (82,706,591 jobs across the country fit that description) to the cost of transit access as a percentage of total income, an interesting metric when considering the added costs of a poorly defined travel network. The equity tools are especially useful when comparing how a lack of train and bus access can hinder develop in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
During a press conference Monday afternoon when the tool was unveiled to the press, Danny Zane, director of transit access group Move LA, spoke of the benefits of the tool, suggesting it was a great way for government and community groups to assess the benefits of increased transit, and make better policy decisions regarding transportation planning. While it's a fun distraction, and perhaps a source of all the raw data you need to complain about your commute, AllTransit also serves as an important reminder of the power of access to local growth.
"Using AllTransit, transit advocates will be able to find data and statistics to support advocacy efforts with greater ease than ever before," says Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. "Planners can quickly examine where transit is lacking in their communities. Small-business owners can visualize the impact of transit on their customers. And journalists will have a simple, fast way to access transit data to inform their reporting."
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