Healthy Communities Count!
Access to Transit
What is Access to Transit?
Access to transit is necessary for people to take care of their basic needs each day. Cars, buses, and trains help people get to work, attend school, visit health care providers, buy food, and many other tasks. To find out how many people can easily walk to access public transportation, city planners and public health workers can look at housing density (how many people live in a specific area) near transit access locations (such as bus stops and LRT stations).
How is Access to Transit related to Health?
A lack of access to transit, either by a personal car or public transportation, may be linked with less education, lower incomes, less job security, and poorer health. Women, the elderly, and disabled people may be more likely to be affected by a lack of transit choices. Studies show that individuals living near public transit stops are more physically active; they also feel more connected to their community, neighbors, friends, and family.
What the map shows
A common way to measure or count access to transit is to look at the number of people who live within a ten minute walk (about 500 meters or 1600 feet) from a public transit stop or station. MDH looked at access to the new LRT stations in the Central Corridor by drawing circles that show a 10 minute walk around each station and counting how many people live inside of that circle. Based on Metropolitan Council and 2000 U.S. Census information, 56% of the people living in the Central Corridor live within a ten minute walk of one of the planned LRT stations. About half of the stations are located in very high density housing areas as defined by the Metropolitan Council. (Click on the map for a larger image.)
In order to measure access to transit, MDH used the number of housing units in a certain area, the population, and the location of the LRT transit stops. This information is from Metropolitan Council land use and zoning maps and the 2000 U.S. Census. The 2000 Census may underestimate the number of people now living in the Central Corridor. Also, former commercial buildings may now be used for housing.
Printable information sheet, with map: Access to Transit (PDF: 277KB/2 pages)
Click on the map below for a larger image