University of Minnesota study expands US transportation data portal

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory maintain the second phase of a new multiyear national pooled-fund study that will expand the transportation system’s data portal and aid access initiatives.

“Measuring access to destinations gives us the clearest possible view of how well our transportation systems connect travelers with important destinations,” Observatory Director Andrew Owen said. “It can also reveal how transportation and land use planning work together to set the stage for future growth and sustainability. Comprehensive accessibility metrics can help planners make wise, cost-effective transportation system investments that will best serve public needs as they evolve through an increasingly uncertain future.”

The National Accessibility Evaluation’s initial phase, spanning from 2014 to 2019, established a new national data source for multimodal job access, identifying national and local trends regarding the ease with which workers could reach jobs by different transportation modes.

The study’s second phase, which covers the years 2020 to 2024, would continue annual updates of national job access data and provide expansion with new destination types to include education and healthcare.

The Observatory is slated to provide study partners support with integrating accessibility data and concepts into transportation planning and performance management.

State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies can apply data gathered from the study to address performance goals related to congestion, reliability, and sustainability.