In a post earlier today, I mentioned that the Provo metro area is the Brookings Institute’s seventh best place for worker access to public transit. As it turns out, that finding may have a positive impact on the city’s business environment.
Curiously, the Brookings study came out the same day that CNBC ranked Utah the second best state for business. Of course, that finding also comes on the heels of Forbes’ rankings, which dubbed Provo the best city in the U.S. for business.
The Forbes and CNBC business rankings are unrelated to the Brookings transit findings, but the fact that Provo and Utah do well in both rankings seems like more than a coincidence.
Of course, the Brookings study looks directly at the ability of people to get to work, and the CNBC article mentions infrastructure improvements as a competitive advantage for top-ranking Texas. The Atlantic Cities article I previously cited also works from the assumption that workers need to be able to access jobs via public transit.
So it would seem that better public transit means a stronger, more vibrant economy.
But if that fact wasn’t obvious enough simply by comparing the Brookings, Forbes and CNBC findings, London mayor Boris Johnson states it outright. In a Slate video that I wrote about yesterday, Johnson explicity states that the success of his city — one of the wealthiest the world has ever known — is based on the ability to get people from their homes to their jobs. Both Slate and my post zeroed in on his comments about biking, but he also mentions buses and his general philosophy that transit matters for economic success.
I think that’s exactly the message emerging from the constellation of these various findings, studies and rankings. And though Utah is no London, it’s illuminative to watch it rise economically at exactly the same time that its public transit becomes more robust.