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Unlocking Transit Data for Decisionmaking

Last week my colleague and coauthor Alan Berube talked about our new transit access in metropolitan America research using gadget metaphors. 

As it happens, the gadget metaphors are actually quite apt because of an exciting and unusual feature of this research: an interactive mapping application.

We realized a couple months back that we were sitting on a mountain of local-based data--and that there would be no way to convey all the nuances in our standard long-form reporting.  Instead of just privately parking it on our servers, we worked to get this data out to the public.

For the first time, people across the country have the opportunity to compare how transit serves their neighborhood versus others in and outside of their metro.  We have no doubt it will be useful in all sort of decision-making within the public and private sectors.  And that utility extends to households, too.  As Morgan Clendaniel from Fast Company noted, it’s a great tool for workers moving to a new residence. 

So here’s just one example.  Besides working at Brookings, my other dream job is doing anything with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  (You hearing me Mark Dominik?  I’m available!)  The tool now gives me the chance to see exactly how long it might take to commute to One Buc Place from my fictitious condo in South Tampa.  It’s a little bit longer than my D.C. rail commute, but I’ll take it.

What about you?