Linking People to Jobs: Metro Climbs to 22nd in the Nation

The Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota has looked at the top metropolitan areas in the country and ranked their public transportation systems on how well they connect workers to jobs. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s rank rose from 29 in 2015 to 22 in 2016, leaping above larger cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Cleveland.

"This project provides the most detailed evaluation to date of access to jobs by transit," says Andrew Owen, director of the Observatory. "We directly compare the transit accessibility performance of America's largest metropolitan areas. We are impressed with the public transportation systems that saw improvements from the previous year."

The annual rankings are determined by a weighted average of accessibility, giving a higher weight to closer, easier-to-access jobs. Jobs reachable within 10 minutes are weighted most heavily; jobs were given decreasing weight as travel time increases up to 60 minutes. Travel times were calculated using detailed pedestrian networks and full transit schedules for the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. period. The calculations include all components of a transit journey, including “last mile” walking segments and transfers. The study also accounts for minute-by-minute variations in service frequency.

"The results of this independent study are a testament to the hard-working employees here at NFTA who work diligently to get Western New Yorkers to their jobs every day," said Kimberley Minkel, NFTA’s Executive Director.

The research was sponsored by the National Accessibility Evaluation Pooled-Fund Study, a multi-year effort led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and supported by partners including the Federal Highway Administration and ten other state departments of transportation.

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