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What's More Important to Non-Car Commuters: Living or Working Near Transit?

In metro Denver, office proximity leads to higher transit commute shares.
relates to What's More Important to Non-Car Commuters: Living or Working Near Transit?
Wally Gobetz / Flickr

In an ideal transit city, where commuting by bus or rail is as convenient as taking a car, the trip between station and home or office is a quick one. But in the typical city, where transit-oriented development remains a work in progress, one end of the commute might be much more accessible than the other. So which is more likely to get commuters out of their cars: living near a stop, or working near one?

A trio of researchers at the University of Denver recently tried to answer that question for the Mile High metro—an area that’s made a big push in recent years to expand both transit service and transit-oriented development. They analyzed the 2009-2010 commute patterns of 3,400 employed locals who either lived, worked, or lived and worked near three of the region’s light rail lines. “Near” in this case meant being within a mile, half-mile, or 15-minute walk of a station.