Mapping How BRT Will Improve Access Along Ashland

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Freemark's map. Dark blue shows new areas that will become accessible from Ashland/Cermak within 20 minutes once BRT is implemented.

In a recent blog post, Metropolitan Planning Council associate Yonah Freemark presented an ingenious visual that makes it obvious how BRT will dramatically improve transit access along the corridor.

Using data from Mapnificent, which shows the area you can reach with transit from any point in a given time, Freemark created a map that illustrates how the area of the city accessible within 20 minutes of the future Ashland/Cermak BRT stop will expand after the service launches. This location is a mile north of the halfway point of the proposed 16-mile route at31st Street. The regions shown in light blue are currently accessible by CTA trains and conventional buses, plus walking; the dark-blue areas will accessible once BRT is in effect.

One the Ashland BRT is in effect, CTA riders will be able to travel almost twice as far north or south from Ashland/Cermak in the same amount of time, since the new buses will run almost twice as fast as the current #9 Ashland bus, 15.9 mph instead of 8.7 mph. The dark-blue dots show that, because BRT will increase access to rail lines, new ‘L’ stations will become accessible within 20 minutes.

 

Existing—no BRT

Future—with BRT

Difference

Number of jobs accessible by transit within 20 minutes from Ashland and Cermak

56,943

107,205

50,262

88 percent increase

Number of people accessible by transit with jobs* within 20 minutes from Ashland and Cermak

38,135

67,364

29,229

77 percent increase

Number of jobs accessible by transit within 20 minutes from Ashland and Fullerton

 56,959

115,883 

58,924

103 percent increase 

Number of jobs accessible by transit within 20 minutes from Ashland and 63rd

 13,686

25,102 

11,416

83 percent increase 

Freemark also created the above table, using data from the U.S. Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics report, that shows how fast bus service will increase the number of jobs that are accessible within 20 minutes from Ashland/Cermak, as well as the number of potential employees who live within 20 minutes of the future station. Not only will there be 88 percent more jobs that employees can get to from the station in that timeframe, employers will also have a potential hiring pool that’s 77 percent larger within 20 minutes of the stop. The chart also shows that the number of accessible jobs will increase by 103 percent from Ashland/Fullerton and 83 percent from Ashland/63rd, stations that will come online during the second phase of BRT implementation.

Better mobility and access to job opportunities are compelling reasons to get behind the CTA’s plan, and Freemark’s map and chart help make these benefits obvious. “As people become more familiar with faster and more reliable BRT, support will surely grow,” he concludes. “It is likely that, as the city’s BRT project gets underway and the benefits of the transportation mode become obvious, the percentage of people on board with BRT will only increase.”

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