Twin Cities: 39th for Mass Transit Tie to Local Jobs

Thirty percent of all Twin Cities-area jobs are reachable by mass transit within 90 minutes, and 7 percent are reachable within 45 minutes, according to a new report.

Leaving the car in the garage and commuting to work via mass transit isn't an option-or at least an easy one-for some Twin Citians.

The Twin Cities rank 39th among the 100-largest U.S. metro areas when it comes to mass transit that connects people with jobs, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

Thirty percent of all Twin Cities-area jobs are reachable by mass transit within 90 minutes. That also happens to be the average for the 100 metros studied. However, only 7 percent of local jobs are reachable within 45 minutes.

The report also found that 67 percent of working-age Twin Cities residents are near a transit stop, while the 100-metro average is 69 percent.

Twin Cities residents wait an average of 11.6 minutes for mass transit vehicles during rush hour-while the average wait time among the largest U.S. metro areas is 10.1 minutes.

According to the report, low-income individuals in the Twin Cities have greater access to transit stops than middle- or high-income individuals-and a greater portion of them (39 percent) can access their jobs via mass transit. Low-income earners also have greater service frequency (8.6 minutes) than their high-income counterparts, who wait an average of 13.5 minutes between buses.

“Transportation leaders should make access to jobs an explicit priority in their spending and service decisions, especially given the budget pressures they face,” the report said. “Metro leaders should coordinate strategies regarding land use, economic development, and housing with transit decisions in order to ensure that transit reaches more people and more jobs efficiently. And federal officials should collect and disseminate standardized transit data to enable public, private, and non-profit actors to make more informed decisions and ultimately maximize the benefits of transit for labor markets.”

According to the report, transit coverage is highest in western metro areas such as Honolulu, Hawaii, and Los Angeles, and lowest in southern areas such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Metro Transit provides mass transportation in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, offering a network of buses and light-rail and commuter trains. It is among the country's largest transit systems, providing roughly 90 percent of the 78 million bus trips taken annually in the metro area. Each weekday, customers board Metro Transit buses and trains an average of 250,000 times.