More Transit = More Jobs: New Report

What would happen if 20 metropolitan areas shifted 50% of their highway funds to transit? They would generate 1,123,674 new transit jobs over a five-year period — for a net gain of 180,150 jobs over five years — without a single dollar of new spending.

That's the finding of TEN's new study, More Transit = More Jobs.

Click here to download the full report (PDF, 1M).

First, it's important to look at how much cities currently spend on public transit. As a percentage of total transit spending, the top five cities are...

1. New York, NY

2. Honolulu, HI

3. Portland, OR

4. Philadelphia, PA

5. Kalamazoo, MI

The five cities that spend the least on public transit are...

1. Minneapolis, MN

2. Boston, MA

3. Atlanta, GA

4. Denver, CO

5. St. Louis, MO


The report then goes on to project the potential job creation of a 50% shift in present highway spending to transit for each of the 20 metropolitan areas. The shift would create 1,123,674 new transit jobs over five years, for a net increase of 180,150 jobs — all without a dollar of new spending.

The top five potential job creators were:

1. New York, NY

2. San Francisco, CA

3. Atlanta, GA

4. Washington, DC

5. San Diego, CA

While the largest metropolitan areas stand to create the most total jobs, metropolitan areas that spend the least on public transportation would have the largest proportional job increases. For example, St. Louis, which only spends 15 percent of its TIP funds on public transportation, would enjoy a 259 percent increase in the number of transit jobs—over 43,000 new jobs.

The report also examines the job-creation potential of passing a transit-friendly federal Transportation Authorization Act, as supported by Transportation for America (T4A) and TEN. The study projects that the T4A proposal would create 1,291,431 new jobs in the transit sector over five years — an increase of almost 800,000 jobs over the current federal transportation law, SAFETEA-LU.

As the report illustrates, public transit spending has the potential to revive local economies across the country. 

For more information, including findings on job creation through the passage of a transit-friendly federal Transportation Authorization Act, and for ratings on MPO transparency, read the complete report here.