CNT in the News

Meetings Look At Possibility Of Commuter Rail From Las Cruces To El Paso

KRWG New Mexico | April 28, 2016

The first round of public meetings were held in Dona Ana County this week as part of a feasibility study funded by the state to see if there is a need for a commuter rail system, and if there are options to fund it.

David Chandler is the principal business analyst for the Center for Neighborhood technology, part of the team completing the study. He says these meetings are to help them gage the public’s interest, and to see what they would expect from a commuter rail system.

“One is just the scale of the market,” Chandler said. “Is there enough people, are there enough businesses here to warrant the service. The second question is how connected are the people, and the points of origin and destination in this region, and the third question is what’s the culture of the people. Is this a service that people would want and use and value, in a place where you don’t really have rail service today? Is this an innovation that people would want to see.”

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The Numbers Crunch: Sacramento’s public transit may be better than you think

The Sacramento Bee | April 22, 2016

Everyone, it seems, is dumping on Regional Transit. Trains and stations are dirty, even unsafe. Buses and trains don’t run late enough, and their schedules don’t link up. Fares are too high and are going up again.

Safe to say, RT has more than its share of problems with service and finances.

But in a new detailed study, public transit in Sacramento comes out looking not so terrible.

Sacramento’s overall score – which looks at access to jobs, frequency of service and connectivity – ranks No. 27 out of 68 California cities with a population of more than 100,000, ahead of San Diego and San Jose.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco – with BART, Muni and a compact grid tailor-made for transit – is at the top. Several other Bay Area and Southern California cities also score well, while some inland cities, where transit service can be scarce, do not.

Put together by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter, the project launched this week is the most extensive collection of data yet on 805 transit systems across America. It measures public transit by access to employment and workers, access to customers and transportation costs, impact on public health and whether it boosts opportunity, as well as quality, including frequency of service and connections to key locations.

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See How Your Town’s Transit Stacks Up to Hundreds of Other Cities

Wired | April 21, 2016

IN THE WORLD of public transit, data is a valuable thing. And historically, it’s been the purview of public transit agencies. They’re the folks who know where the buses are, and they use their own, often archaic systems—paper schedules mounted on bus shelters, for example—to dole out select info to the public.

In recent years, that dynamic has changed. Cities, states, and countries are embracing the idea of open data, turning all their information over to any company, group, or citizen interested in doing something productive with it. In an era where smartphones are nearly as common as people with hands, government is now the platform, not the product.

When’s your bus actually going to show up? How do you get from the dog park to that new music venue? Want to share your route with friends in real time? Apps with answers abound.

Still, all those data sets, provided by a plethora of public agencies, have been fragmented. If you wanted to know how your transit agency stacks up with the one across the river, or how well served your part of town is compared to your coworkers’, you were signing up for a lot of work. That’s now changed, thanks to a new tool appropriately called “AllTransit.”

The impressively comprehensive online tool was released this week by the nonprofit research institutes Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter. The result of a year spent compiling data from 805 agencies, 543,787 stop locations, and 15,070 routes across the country, the tool provides an unprecedented look into nationwide transit access and equity.

AllTransit promises to assess the quality of transit in your neighborhood—or your congressional district, or your city, or your region, or your state. Plugging any of these into the tool and you get an “AllTransit Performance Score” on a ten-point scale. The score rewards places where transit connects lots of households to lots of jobs, where buses and trains come frequently, and where high shares of commuters use transit to get to work.

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How Does Your Block Rank on Transit Access?

Next City | April 20, 2016

A nifty new tool reveals how well your city’s public transit shuttles people back and forth between where they live and work. The interactive tool, released Tuesday by TransitCenter and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, provides insight into how many jobs are within a half-hour transit commute of an address, how many commuters in a given area bike to work and more. AllTransit aggregates data from more than 800 transit agencies into a comprehensive set of metrics and maps that break down public transportation opportunities by census block.

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This Tool Maps Transit, Block by Block, for 300 Cities

Bloomberg Technology | April 19, 2016

More than 800 municipal transit agencies in 287 cities across the U.S. contributed data to the project, called AllTransit. It shows, in neighborhood-level detail, where people live and work and how well public transit shuttles them back and forth. The agency data are combined with data from the Census Bureau, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, and the Department of Agriculture. 

Cities have emerged in recent years as laboratories where technology can enhance health, efficiency, and livability. Mayors, city councils, and infrastructure companies have all benefited from systemic data collection. AllTransit puts an enormous amount of information in the hands of anybody with a browser window open and offers sample profiles to show how you might use the data: A small business looking for an underserved transit hub to set up shop. Home hunters seeking a well-connected suburb or part of town.

The AllTransit project is the work of the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology, which built a tool a few years ago that lets anyone see what housing and transportation costs add up to all over the U.S. AllTransit was funded by TransitCenter, a group that funds and helps manage projects that improve public transportation. 

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An Exhaustive and Accessible Transit Database Has Finally Arrived

CityLab | April 19, 2016

As the social and economic benefits of transit become clearer and clearer, a parade of data-driven maps and websites have tried to evaluate transit access in major American cities: where buses and trains go, who they serve, how effectively, and how often.

Tuesday marks the launch of AllTransit, the most exhaustive and accessible such resource yet. A joint project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter, it assembles the largest collection of transit data anywhere—543,000 transit stops, 800 transit agencies, and 15,000 routes nationwide, according to the site. That in itself is a major public service, since agencies aren’t (as of yet) required by the DOT to open up their data about connectivity, access, and frequency. AllTransit doesn’t offer that data raw (not for free, at least), but it does offer a number of useful ways to explore it.

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