Measuring the efficacy of a public transportation system is a daunting task. Getting people where they need to go depends on many factors outside the control of transit agencies. Land use patterns, employment and housing density, municipal boundaries, and traffic congestion all play a role. Even setting aside these constraints, what metrics should be used to judge the success of a transit system? The number of trips per capita? The percentage of the population using public transportation for daily commutes? The number of routes within walking distance of the average resident’s home?
The Brookings Institution has been developing a new approach to measuring the relative merit of public transit systems based on their ability to connect residents of major metro areas to jobs. The nonpartisan think-tank recently released its second report based on the metric. Their new report, Where the Jobs Are: Employer Access to Labor by Transit, ranks San Antonio in the top 20 percent of U.S. transit agencies when it comes to employment connectivity, and the best in Texas (the Express-News summarized the Texas rankings in a chart).