As reported by the Wall Street Journal, The Brookings Institute Wednesday ranked Provo the seventh best place in America for “worker access to public transit.” Astonishingly, that technically means a higher percentage of the population in Provo can use public transportation to get to work than in places like New York, Washington D.C., or San Francisco.
Before we start patting ourselves on the back, there are a few caveats. According to the study itself, the Provo metro area is only 66.6 percent covered by public transit. That’s behind all other metro areas in Utah, as well as traditionally car centric places like LA or Las Vegas.
Where Provo excels, however, is in “labor access,” or the share of the population that can get to work via public transit in 90 minutes or less. Provo scores a 47 percent for that metric, which isn’t great but does happen to be better than most other places in America. You can see Provo’s Brookings profile here.
The point of the study was to look at the suburbanization of jobs, which is a major issue in the U.S. It ranks Salt Lake City the very best place in the nation for worker access to public transit.
Reporting on the findings, The Atlantic Cities notes that suburban populations are the ones suffering from a lack of public transit. The article also offers an explanation for why some cities do better than others:
Places like Denver and Salt Lake City that do well at linking populations and jobs tend to benefit from regional strategies and metropolitan-wide transportation planning efforts. Tomer says these efforts play a big role in making jobs more accessible to people throughout regions.