Map Monday: Transit Access to Jobs for the Twin Cities Metro in 2017

The most recent transit-and-jobs “Access Across America” report came out this week and here’ s the latest map. It’s a heat map showing “jobs within a 30 minute transit ride” of any given location on the map. Blues are 0-5K, greens are about 10-50K, and yellows and oranges denote 100-500K jobs. (Other cities have even higher numbers of jobs within a short transit ride.)

Here you go:

By comparison, check out the 2015, 2016, and 2017 maps which were also on display here on

Here’s what the UMN researchers had to say about the latest updates to the maps:

According to the latest data, the Minneapolis metropolitan area ranks 13th nationally in access to jobs by transit, unchanged from 13th in last year’s rankings. The study reports that the average worker in the Minneapolis metro can reach 18,029 jobs within 30 minutes traveling by transit. Overall, workers in the metro can reach an average of 7.0 percent more jobs by transit than a year ago, the 9th highest change in transit accessibility among the metropolitan areas we analyzed. Total employment in the metro area has increased slightly to nearly 1.8 million jobs.

“These results reflect many factors. Perhaps the most significant change in the local transit system between January 2016 and January 2017 was the opening of service on the Metro Transit A Line,” said Andrew Owen, director of the Observatory. “Our analysis indicates that A Line service played an important role in driving the overall increase in transit accessibility, along with an increase in overall regional employment. Route and schedule changes throughout the transit network all contribute to accessibility changes as well, but it is difficult to isolate specific contributions.”

Twin Cities currently ranks 13th nationally, well behind Denver and Seattle. That’s not that great, IMO, probably because we are still a very suburban and spread-out metro area compared to many other US cities. If we funded the planned aBRT lines, which offer significant speed improvements for well-used buses, the Twin Cities could really increase our ranking.

10 thoughts on “Map Monday: Transit Access to Jobs for the Twin Cities Metro in 2017

  1. Daniel Hartigkingledion

    The 30 min average number of jobs accessible to Portland, Denver, Milwaukee and Minneapolis are 20666, 20665, 19383, and 18029. So, given margins of error, its hard to say that we are 13th, so much as ‘tied for about 9th.’ Given that Minneapolis is ahead of cities that are denser and much larger (Houston, Miami, in particular), that ranking is pretty good. O

    1. Sam J

      I think it’s interesting that Minneapolis scores slightly lower than Milwaukee even though we have a downtown with almost twice as many jobs (about 160,000 vs 81,000) connected by light rail and express bus service to another downtown with tens of thousands of jobs. To me that says that our local bus service needs a lot of help, work that can be done independently of the new ABRT lines.

  2. Carol Becker

    It still shows how few jobs are actually accessible by transit for most people compared to driving. By car, I suspect I have access to hundreds of thousands of jobs within 30 minutes.

    1. Patrick

      Good point, Carol. Owning a car is an incredible privilege, and we to do everything we can to increase density and transit to make jobs more accessible to the less-privileged.

  3. neil barran

    The report seems to focus on people working 9-5 .For people working second shift Metro Transit does a lousy job with scheduling even when there are services the gaps are so long it can take 90 mins from Downtown St Paul to Uptown and the rest of the central cities.
    Whenever the green line open to EP this trip will take over two hours with additional time for people transferring outside of dowtnown

    1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke Post author

      That is for sure. This was a big problem with getting people to work at Amazon/Shakopee, for example. A lot of them work very irregular shifts.

  4. Adam MillerAdam Miller

    I like the little patches of orange/yellow at each of the Blue Line stations. It’s almost like high quality transit increases job access or something.

    1. Andy E

      It’s almost as if they should start considering a “development tax” on new construction/extensive restoration on property located with a certain distance of BRT/LRT stations. Per the Met Council (link below) the Green Line alone is responsible for over $5 Billion in development. Even at a paltry 1% (which would barely impact any profitable development) that would be an extra $50 Million available for transit improvements. Half of that, by the way, is near the five downtown Minneapolis stops. If such a development tax (call it a Transit Oriented Development Tax) were in place just think how much could be raised over the decades these lines are in place?

      Make it very simple and a one time tax. 1% of development (or major reconstruction) cost payable in the year the building opens. Or, in the alternative (to raise a slightly higher amount), 1% of net increase in land value as assessed following completion of the project.

      Over the long term, this would be a way for the county to recuperate a significant amount of money as private developers take advantage of improvements to the transit system. The tax is low enough (and has to be kept low enough) to not discourage otherwise profitable investments, and something around 1% is that. No developer is realistically going to undertake a multi (or hundred) million dollar project for a 2% or 3% return – they’d be better off playing the market or investing in bonds. So worthwhile projects still get built while the county gets a small chunk back.

      *Note- anything like this should not be horse-traded away on a project for project basis for 10 extra affordable housing units or including community/green space. And any tax of this nature should be lock-boxed for mass transit, and not roads or bike lanes or affordable housing or green space or the general budget or anything else politicians will be tempted to put it towards. Keep it in mass transit to continue to build or perform physical maintenance to the system.

      Link as promised:$6-8-billion-in-new-development-reported-al.aspx

      1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

        Why would we want an extra tax on a thing we’re trying to encourage? Especially as building the new thing inherently increases the tax base already?

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