Transportation Equity Atlas Debuts
The Pratt Center has just released the Transportation Equity Atlas, a collection of downloadable maps showing commuting patterns and the length of rides to work for residents of a dozen low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in New York City, from East Flatbush to East Elmhurst to Washington Heights. The Atlas also shows where workers at major employment centers in the boroughs live, and how they get to work.
The Transportation Equity Atlas arrives just as the MTA announces fare hikes that add to the burden borne by low-income riders, who have already suffered the brunt of recent cutbacks in service.
Based on 2000 U.S. Census data, the Transportation Equity Atlas shows that even when the transit system had more frequent and extensive service, riders in the Atlas neighborhoods endured extremely long commutes to work. For example, more than half of subway riders in Soundview, in the Bronx, had rides of one hour or more.
The Atlas also shows the importance of improving transit connections between working-class neighborhoods, and job centers outside of the Manhattan midtown and downtown business districts that remain the main focus of mass transit investments. Industrial Business Zones and medical centers are significant employers, and domestic, construction and other employment takes workers to sites everywhere in the city.
“These maps show that our transit network needs to support a diverse and resilient economy, where New Yorkers can get to pink, blue, and green-collar jobs throughout the city,” said Pratt Center Sustainability and Environmental Justice initiative director Joan Byron, who oversaw the development of the Transportation Equity Atlas.
The maps make a strong case for continued future expansion of Select Bus Service, which debuts this weekend on Manhattan’s 1st and 2nd avenues and is already operating on Fordham Road in the Bronx. Incorporating many features of bus rapid transit, SBS makes speedier rides possible along corridors that are presently not served by subways, at a fraction of the cost of new subway construction. COMMUTE, a coalition of community based organizations around the city advocating for improved transit access for low-income New Yorkers, worked with the Pratt Center to develop a vision of a bus rapid transit network that would significantly improve mobility for currently underserved neighborhoods.