Accessibility Scenario Analysis of a Hypothetical Future Transit Network: Social Equity Implications of a General Transit Feed Specification–Based Sketch Planning Tool

Citation data:

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, ISSN: 0361-1981, Vol: 2671, Page: 1-9

Publication Year:
Andrew Guthrie; Yingling Fan; Kirti Vardhan Das
Transportation Research Board
article description
Accessibility analysis can have important implications for understanding social equity in transit planning. The emergence and the increasingly broad acceptance of the general transit feed specification (GTFS) format for transit route, stop, and schedule data have revolutionized transit accessibility research by providing researchers with a convenient, publicly available source of data interoperable with common geographic information system (GIS) software. Existing approaches to GTFS-based transit analysis, however, focus on currently operating transit systems. With major transit expansions across the nation and around the world increasing in number and ambition, understanding the accessibility impacts of proposed projects in their early planning stages is crucial to achieving the greatest possible social benefit from these massive public investments. This paper describes the development of a hypothetical transit network based on current GTFS data and proposed 2040 transit improvements for the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, as well as its use as a sketch planning tool in exploring the proposed systems impacts on access to job vacancies from historically disadvantaged areas. This research demonstrates the importance of accessibility analysis in planning a transit system that increases opportunity for marginalized workers and concludes by calling for broader, easier access to accessibility analysis for practitioners and community groups to refine the early stages of the transit planning process and democratize an increasingly crucial transit planning tool.