Assessing Transit Equity in Boston

The Transit Equity Dashboard highlights stark disparities in access to jobs, healthcare, and other essential services between Boston neighborhoods.

1 minute read

January 29, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Passengers on Boston subway platform with blurred speeding train passing by

Passengers on platform at Red Line station in Boston, Massachusetts. | 2p2play / Boston train

An analysis of data from TransitCenter’s Transit Equity Dashboard reveals that transit access in Boston has diminished in the last year, with the cuts being felt most acutely by low-income riders and communities of color.

“Of Boston’s residents, Black people, Latinx people, and people with limited means are consistently more likely to commute by public transit and less likely to drive. But these groups can access far fewer destinations than wealthier, White Bostonians can,” the report indicates.

While the agency “excelled at reorienting its limited service to routes where people were still riding” during 2021, access to transit took a downturn the following year. “From September 2021 to August 2022 (before the Orange Line shutdown), access to jobs decreased by 10.5% across the Boston MSA.” Today, “The region’s drivers can get to over 1.5 million jobs in 45 minutes – 15 times more jobs than one can get to by public transit.” 

To undo “decades of inequity” that have led to limited access to opportunity, the report calls for “essential and ambitious reforms and investment” in transit that includes better wages and benefits for operators, commuter rail improvements, an expanded network of bus-only lanes, and investments in maintenance and operations.

Monday, January 23, 2023 in TransitCenter

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