Transit Use Thrives on Destination Density

If jobs, services, and other urban amenities are concentrated downtown, suburbanites can use transit to get there quickly without a car. Job sprawl makes transit useless outside central districts.

October 16, 2015, 5:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Dutch Fyra Train

Bart / flickr

In cities with centralized job hubs like Chicago and Philadelphia, robust commuter transit makes it possible for suburbanites to go there and back again without a car. Daniel Hertz argues that centralizing urban amenities is the most effective way for cities to capitalize on transit.

Hertz writes, "suburbanites who take public transit to work are actually richer on average than suburbanites in the same neighborhoods who drive. Why is that? Because in places where high-end jobs are concentrated downtown, those high-end earners can take convenient express buses or commuter rail to work [...] If the urbanite works in the suburbs, she almost certainly drives; and if the suburbanite works downtown, there's a good chance he takes the train."

Looking at data from the 2013 American Community Survey, Hertz concludes that "what really matters for how you get to your job, even more than where you live, is where you work." While most suburbs are obviously ill-served when it comes to transit, planning for centrally-located jobs and services will make new commuter rail and buses a more attractive option.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in City Observatory

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

June 29, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Rent

U.S. Rental Market Crosses a New Threshold of Affordability

In a first for the country's rental market, most U.S. apartments are asking for more than $2,000 to rent, according to data recently published by Redfin.

June 21, 2022 - Redfin

New Jersey Power Plant

Supreme Court Guts the U.S. EPA’s Ability to Limit Carbon Emissions

The consequences of this ruling have long been foretold. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now officially barred from the fight against climate change, Congress will have to act to reduce carbon emissions.

June 30 - Yahoo News

Central Los Angeles

California Approves Revised Los Angeles Housing Element

State officials officially approved the city’s housing plan, which was initially rejected for not doing enough to enhance housing equity.

June 30 - Urbanize LA

A fly fisher casts on a fog-covered river.

Lawsuit Could Open Public Access to Colorado Rivers

Colorado is one of few U.S. states that has decided that private property owners supersede the public when it comes to access to rivers and streams.

June 30 - High Country News

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

International Real Estate Strategies and Deal Negotiation

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Affordable Housing: Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.