Public Transit Equity Analysis at Metropolitan and Local Scales: A Focus on Nine Large Cities in the US

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - methods, policy - equity


Transit, equity, local Moran’s I


Recent studies on transit service through an equity lens have captured broad trends from the literature and national-level data or analyzed disaggregate data at the local level. This study integrates these methods by employing a geostatistical analysis of new transit access and income data compilations from the Environmental Protection Agency. By using a national data set, this study demonstrates a method for income-based transit equity analysis and provides results spanning nine large auto-oriented cities in the US. Results demonstrate variability among cities’ transit services to low-income populations, with differing results when viewed at the regional and local levels. Regional-level analysis of transit service hides significant variation through spatial averaging, whereas the new data employed in this study demonstrates a block-group scale equity analysis that can be used on a national-scale data set. The methods used can be adapted for evaluation of transit and other modes’ transportation service in areas to evaluate equity at the regional level and at the neighborhood scale while controlling for spatial autocorrelation. Transit service equity planning can be enhanced by employing local Moran’s I to improve local analysis.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.