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Study: San Diego Drivers Have 30 Times Greater Job Access Than Transit Riders

August 29, 2017 1:23 p.m.

Study: San Diego Drivers Have 30 Times Greater Job Access Than Transit Riders


Marlon Boarnet, professor of public policy and chair of the department of urban planning and spatial analysis, USC Price School of Public Policy

Related Story: Study: San Diego Drivers Have 30 Times Greater Job Access Than Transit Riders


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

When it comes to public transportation in San Diego a lot of emphasis is placed on speeding up the commute. We have rapid transit buses designed to streamline buses patient routes from the suburbs to the Metro core. How do people get to the rail and bus stops and what impact does that have on accessibility to jobs and employment opportunities? That is the focus on a study at of the University of Southern California and it finds that those who can drive or bike to the stops have a huge advantage in job opportunities. Joining me is Marlon Boarnet, author of the study, and chair of the Department of urban planning and spatial analysis at USC price school of public policy. Marlon, welcome to the program.Thank you, but glad to be here.Why was San Diego chosen as the site for the study ?primarily because it is somewhat auto oriented like most cities in the United States, this question of how transit affects access to jobs has previously been studied in much more transit oriented places, such as Boston, Los Angeles, which has more transit than people appreciate, we wanted to look at something like a typical Sunbelt city.This focuses on first last mile access? What is that and why's of the focus?A first last mile is transit jargon which means how do you get to the transit station, the rail or the best station -- bus station and that last piece that is not of the transit system. What we discovered, I will be honest, it was not initially the focus of the study, we discovered this as we were doing the research, what we discovered is that that last piece, really matters quite a lot, in terms of people accessing jobs from the transit system.This found that driving or biking to a transit station more than doubled the number of jobs that could be reached by transit a 30 minute commute. Is the study saying, in fact, that biking or riding is just about the only way most people can access public transportation on a consistent daily basis?No, I would not say what you said, I would say that we would step back a little bit and say that if you can get to the transit station faster, we had assumed that bicycle, shared right, something like that. If you could get to the transit station faster you can access more jobs. We were trying to do two things, illustrate how important it is to think about this first and last mile question in the second thing is to note that we are making a lot of progress nationally, transit systems are deploying bike share in some places, some places have been thinking about how they might partner with Huber or lift or other Sherrod companies. That is still quite rare, we are trying to highlight the importance of thinking about the entire right.A lot of trolley stubs have learned service parking loss but no housing or retail within walking distance. What is the most effective use of land that surrounds transit stops?Parking lots are not such a great idea at new transit stations, I am not saying never build them, oftentimes, that is not the best use of the land, we would want to develop that land and if we wanted to help people get to and from the station, by a different mode, I would encourage areas and agencies to think about things such as rideshare, carpooling, bicycle access, things such as that.Ever you come across an idea of what it takes to make a bike share program successful? What have other cities done ?one of the most interesting innovations in bike share right now has come from outside the United States. It is something that people called Doc was bike sharing, China has been quite an innovator, most bike share systems that you would see in the United States, there is some way that the bike locks and docs and you need some type of payment to unlock it. China, has deployed a very large number, an estimate of 1 million Doc Alyssa bikes in Beijing. The bikes sit around, you you scan a QR code, you get out and ride and it is quite intriguing. It looks like you could employ that much more broadly and rapidly there is much -- there's also a question of whether or not people would take care of the dog was bike that is a little bit of an unknown question, I am not think that that is a magic bullet, in terms of things I have seen, those doctors systems which are mostly out in the United States are some of the most exciting.Is that cheaper than other ways of encouraging transit use?It can be, that is one of the advantages. It is not the only way. Every transit agency already knows that they have to think about the full ride, full experience, that would include, increasing transit frequency, we generally know that if you can get the frequencies to 10 minutes per bus or rail line or close to that it would be quite attractive to people if you are in the half hour or even worse, every hour type of frequency, that is very unattractive. That is important but that is an expensive path, you have to buy more rolling stock, you have to hire more drivers, we are trying to do is not to say that access to the station is the only way to improve the experience, but that it is one way. These agencies need to think holistically, they already know this, we are supporting the way that a lot of agencies are going.I have been speaking with Marlon Boarnet, professor of public policy and chair of the Department of urban planning at USC price school of public policy. Marlon thank you so much for your time.Thank you very much. [ music ]