Accessibility Case Study: San Francisco, CA

Author(s)
Federal Highway Administration
 
Date
2011
 
 
Abstract
The most recent Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for the San Francisco Bay Area in California includes $88 billion in expenditures to operate, maintain, and expand local transit, highway, and other transportation systems. In developing the 1998 RTP, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) sought to analyze the fairness or equity of the plan's impacts on different population groups. To measure equity, MTC developed transit and automobile accessibility measures that were compared with and without the plan. The plan's accessibility impacts were compared between areas of "disadvantaged" population and "not disadvantaged" areas. The MTC's analysis found that: Accessibility is increased in the RTP project alternative compared to the no-project alternative; Under the RTP, transit accessibility to jobs is significantly higher in disadvantaged neighborhoods compared to not disadvantaged neighborhoods; Under the RTP, drive alone and carpool accessibility to jobs is slightly, but not significantly, lower in disadvantaged neighborhoods than in not disadvantaged neighborhoods. MTC's analysis was useful for assessing the overall impacts of the transportation plan on regional equity. MTC's methodology could also be applied for other purposes, for example, to compare alternative sets of projects or to evaluate major project alternatives. This case study illustrates some the of strengths, limitations, and further developments that are needed in using accessibility to measure the equity of transportation investments.
 
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