Local

Study: KC's job accessibility by transit growing faster than in San Francisco, Austin

Eligible voters approved special sales and property taxes to expand the Kansas City streetcar from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Eligible voters approved special sales and property taxes to expand the Kansas City streetcar from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. File

It's getting easier to get to work in Kansas City, according to a study by the University of Minnesota.

The study, released this week, analyzed job accessibility by transit in 49 of the largest U.S. metro areas in 2017. It found that Kansas City's accessibility improved more than 17 percent last year — higher than any other city.

Kansas City improved its accessibility more than Charlotte, N.C. (which saw an 11 percent increase), Austin, Texas (10 percent) and San Francisco (9 percent).

Factors that influenced the ranking include the number of jobs available, where those jobs are located, the availability of transit services and population size.

New jobs in the area could explain part of the increase.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the KC area added 16,700 jobs between February 2017 and February 2018, a 1.6 percent boost. The metro's total number of jobs stood at around 1,080,700 four months ago.

Still, Kansas City has a ways to go to be considered a truly "accessible" city. It's ranked 40th on the University of Minnesota's list of overall job accessibility by transit.

Recent improvements in bus service and streetcar access could help local employees get to work without relying on a car.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority recently expanded bus service from the urban core to south Johnson County jobs hubs. You can find more information about those routes at ridekc.org.

And last week, voters approved special sales and property taxes to expand the Kansas City streetcar from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The expanded service, which could be available by 2023, would connect midtown and Plaza-area residents to downtown, where there are currently more than 80,000 jobs, according to a report by the Downtown Council.

KC Streetcar officials are in the planning stages of the 3.5-mile extension from Union Station down Main Street to the UMKC.

  Comments