University of Minnesota

Access Across America

Accessibility is the ease of reaching valued destinations. It can be measured for various transportation modes, to different types of destinations, and at different times of day. There are a variety of ways to define accessibility, but the number of destinations reachable within a given travel time is the most comprehensible and transparent, as well as the most directly comparable across cities.

The Access Across America series measures accessibility to jobs via various modes of transportation in major metropolitan areas across the United States. As of 2015, work is funded under the National Accessibility Evaluation pooled-fund study.

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Auto 2015

This study estimates the accessibility to jobs by auto for each of the 11 million U.S. census blocks and analyzes these data in the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas. It also estimates the average congestion impact on job accessibility for each metropolitan area.

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Walking 2014

This study estimates the accessibility to jobs by walking in the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. By presenting detailed accessibility values, it offers a look at how much economic opportunity exists within a reasonable walking distance in each metro area.

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Transit 2014

This study examined the accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. It is the most detailed evaluation to date of access to jobs by transit, and it allows for a direct comparison of the transit accessibility performance of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

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Auto 2013

This study was the first systematic comparison of trends in accessibility to jobs by car within the U.S. By comparing accessibility to jobs by automobile during the morning peak period for 51 metropolitan areas, the study shows which cities are performing well in terms of accessibility and which have seen the greatest change.

The Accessibility Observatory is a program of the Center for Transportation Studies and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering.