“Impressive Denver study on equity & transit should become national model
Kaid Benfield. May 4, 2012
Transit analysts Reconnecting America and the Denver equity coalition Mile High Connects have released an impressive compendium of maps and research showing how expansion of that city’s transit system could bring major opportunity to traditionally underserved populations – if local agencies take the necessary steps to prepare and coordinate. Called the Denver Regional Equity Atlas, the data-rich report is among the more sophisticated uses of GIS mapping that I have seen.
It should be immensely useful not only to city officials, advocates, planners and social scientists in Denver, but also to anyone looking for a state-of-the-art analytical model to assist the coordination of transportation, housing, jobs, and access to important services in other American cities. It must have cost a fortune to underwrite.
The Atlas comprises five chapters and 31 large-scale maps that cover demographics, housing, health, jobs and education; data were collected from a variety of sources for seven counties in the metro Denver region. Each map also shows the current and future transit network, including high-frequency bus routes and rail lines, enabling users to see quickly how well the transit lines and stops match up with, for example, concentrations of low-income populations, jobs, affordable housing, parks, shopping, medical services and the like. The report was co-written with the Piton Foundation.
Denver’s Regional Transportation District is currently engaged in one of the country’s most ambitious expansions of public transportation infrastructure and services. RTD’s“FasTracks” Program is a multi-billion dollar effort to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit, and to enhance current bus service for access and transfers across an eight-county district. It is already beginning to change the region by bringing more and better ways of getting around to more people, while stimulating walkable development around the rail stations.
The potential for such substantial investment to be transformative is obvious. Within walking distance of most transit stations, communities across the region hope to build a mix of housing, office, shopping and other essential community resources in order to create a unique sense of place and reduce reliance on automobiles. But the authors make clear that it cannot be assumed that these benefits will accrue equitably:”
Via: NRDC Switchboard