Metro can do better in transit

In a recent analysis of the ease with which people can use public transit to access workplaces and other destinations, the Twin Cities metropolitan area ranks 13th out of 46 of the largest population centers in the United States.

The rankings are part of a report released by the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota. Using an agglomeration of transit schedule data from buses, trains and light rail networks, the analysis determined the accessibility of each city’s workplaces. Campus transit routes played an integral part in studying the Twin Cities’ system.

This type of information is critical, principal investigator David Levinson said in a news release, because “accessibility is the single most important measure in explaining the effectiveness of the urban transportation system.”

The Twin Cities’ widespread network of bus and light rail transit options, which run throughout the metro with relatively few problems, is undoubtedly a big benefit for many people. To rank No. 13 in the nation isn’t bad. However, the Twin Cities needs improvements to maintain or improve its ranking.

Luckily, the Twin Cities transit system is working on several projects, including new light rail routes. Additionally, a grant from Ladders of Opportunity will provide funding to improve bus shelters throughout low-income areas.

The Accessibility Observatory will release more detailed findings to follow up its initial report. Hopefully, those findings will help local leaders improve the Twin Cities transit system and make jobs accessible to more people.