In the Center’s Future of Transportation Study, we looked at many factors impacting how people get around. One important factor is the availability of public transportation.

What factors influence the easy access to public transportation in the United States?

Type of community

One important consideration is type of community. Forty-nine percent of suburban residents (those living immediately outside of a city or town) have public transportation easily available near their homes. This compares to 83% of those living in cities/urban areas and only 18% of those living in rural areas (in the country).

Race and ethnicity

Race/ethnicity is also a factor — an issue directly related to the community location patterns of the different groups: African-Americans top the list, with 84% of them having easy access to public transportation. Latinos, with 70%, come in second, and Asians, with 65%, come in third.

On the low end, only 51% of whites have convenient access to public transportation near their home.


A third important variable is region of the country. Those in the West are most likely to have ready access to public transportation with 70% there saying so. The Northeast, with 66% having easy access, comes in second. Those in the Midwest (52%) and the South (43%) are least likely to enjoy having public transportation easily available near their home.


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July 2, 2018