5  Improve the availability and quality of multimodal travel

Improve the availability and quality of multimodal travel options for people of all ages and abilities to connect to jobs and other opportunities, particularly for historically under-represented populations.

5.1 Job accessibility by mode

Developed by the University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory, the Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) evaluation is a method for classifying street segments’ suitability for bicycling based on the physical characteristics of the roadway, such as speed limits, lane configurations, and the types of bicycle facilities present, if any. A value of 1 (lowest stress) to 4 (highest stress) is assigned to each street segment based on these characteristics. In this study, roadway characteristics are determined by street segment tags in the OpenStreetMap® network data used for routing computations. We define the LTS 1 network as lowest-stress, LTS 2 network as low-stress, the LTS 3 network as medium-stress, and the LTS 4 network as the open streets network — i.e. if a person feels comfortable riding a bicycle on all streets (except limited-access highways, such as interstates and freeways), including arterials, they would experience open streets access (Owen and Murphy 2021).

In 2016, there were about 741,265 jobs available within 30 minutes by auto (Murphy and Owen 2020).

In 2017, there were about 14,435 jobs available within 30 minutes by transit (Murphy and Owen 2021).

Figure 5.1: Job availability within 30 minutes by bike and level of traffic stress, based on a departure time of 12:00 noon. Source: UMN Accessibility Observatory.

5.2 Transit availability by route type

Table 5.1: People served by transit by service type, 2022
Service People served Percent of region population
Bus Rapid Transit 333,817 10.9%
Core Local Bus 1,188,502 38.9%
Supporting Local Bus 509,734 16.7%
Commuter Express Bus 230,350 7.5%
Suburban Local Bus 942,588 30.8%
Light Rail 140,668 4.6%
Source: Metro Transit, 2022. Population based on area 1/4 mile surrounding stops or park-and-ride lots for each service type.

The Met Council and its partners work together to categorize all areas in the region into Transit Market Areas (TMA) that approximate the level of transit service an area can support. These categories are based on four factors including population and job density, roadway intersection density, and automobile availability. Transit Market Area 1 is made up of the most urban parts of the Twin Cities such as downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, their adjacent neighborhoods and the University Avenue corridor between the two. Conversely, Transit Market Area 5 is the most rural communities in the region with low population densities and more agricultural land uses. More detail on Transit Market Areas is available in Section D.1.

In Transit Market Areas 1 and 2, the highest density and most able to support high levels of transit service, 99% and 85% of residents live within a quarter mile of core local bus services, respectively. This translates to about a five-minute walk. These Transit Market Areas also have the best access to the widest variety of transit services including light rail, bus rapid transit, and supporting local bus. In Transit Market Area 3, while more suburban in character with lower population and employment densities, 48% of residents live within suburban local bus service area. Transit Market Areas 4 and 5 have progressively more low-density and rural characteristics and have 14% and 2% of residents living within a quarter mile of fixed-route transit services.

Figure 5.2: Percent of area population with transit service, shown by service type and TMA.

5.3 Transitway share of total ridership

Transitways include high-capacity, high-amenity services like light rail and bus rapid transit.1 These services are important parts of the regional transit network that the region has been focusing investments in, particularly arterial bus rapid transit (BRT) projects like the D Line and C Line.

The proportion of transit ridership in the region on transitways increased from 25% of all ridership in 2015 to 34% in 2019. While total transit ridership decreased due to the pandemic, transit trips on transitways still made up 36% of all ridership in 2021. The share of ridership on transitways is expected to continue increasing as the region makes further investments in high-capacity transit services.

Figure 5.3: Transitway share of total regional transit ridership. Source: Metro Transit

  1. Blue Line, Red Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Northstar, A Line, C Line, and D Line transit routes↩︎