Cambridge

What is the efficiency of the public transport network for each neighborhood?   Click on the map to explore. ... more

Show most connected areas by Public Transit

Public transit is one of the most equitable and environmentally sustainable forms of urban transportation. Robust public transit infrastructures can free us from using cars, lessen pollution, ease congestion, and empower communities.

This map visualizes the efficiency of the public transit infrastructure for different neighborhoods in the city. For each point in the city, we query the times it takes to reach every other point by riding public transit and by driving a car. We then divide the former with latter. This ratio represents the efficiency of a transit system. We normalize each scores by dividing it by the maximum ratio in a city and multiplying by 10, giving a relative transit efficiency score for each neighborhood. Darker areas (closer to 0) are transit deserts where cars are a necessity, while lighter areas (closer to 10) are places where public transit represents a more viable alternative.

We believe that a vibrant public transportation network is an essential feature of the modern city, and we hope these maps can contribute to a discussion around the future of these networks.

To make this map, we gridded up the city at the block-group level, and then computed the time using each mode of transport from the centroid of the source block group to the centroid of the destination block group using the Google Maps API. For driving, we added a buffer time for parking and walking, and then we divided both resulting times and colored the block-group based on the minimum.

A more complete calculation of transit efficiency would not only take into consideration the time it takes, but the true cost of each mode of transport, including the cost of the vehicle, the cost of fuel, and the effect on air quality, and we will explore this in future maps.

Data Sources

  1. Google Maps Directions Services API
  2. 2010 US CENSUS Block Groups - Cambridge, MA