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The Daily Need

New study shows disconnect between mass transit and jobs

A new study out from the Brookings Institute found that nearly 70 percent of people living in or around America’s cities (“metro residents” is what Brookings calls them) live in neighborhoods with access to transit services like buses and trains.  Yet only about 30 percent of the jobs in America’s metro regions can be gotten to by hopping on one of those buses or trains.  This disconnect is described in “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America.” Brookings ranks the best and worst cities for getting to work without a car (see how your city ranks here. Contrary to what you might think, New York doesn’t even rank among the top 10 best commuting cities. It’s 13th, lagging behind some transit-friendly surprises like Las Vegas (#8) and Fresno, Calif. (#5). Honolulu comes out on top, with 60 percent of metro residents within a 90-minute transit ride from their jobs.

As gas prices go up and job creation seems to be stuck in neutral, the report raises important questions about how to grow urban centers.  “It’s not enough to create more and better jobs if workers can’t get to them,” said Bruce Katz, who leads the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.  For nearly two years, PBS’s Blueprint America has been reporting on the state of America’s transportation system. The Brookings report got us wondering what you think about the nation’s transportation system.  Does mass transit take you to work? Would you like it to?  Let us know.

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