The term “transit desert” is a new concept coined by Dr. Jiao that looks at the gap between level of transit service (supply) and needs of a particular population (demand). These populations are often referred to as “transit dependent,” people that are too young, too old, or too poor or who are physically unable to drive. “Transit deserts” in this case are defined as areas that lack adequate public transit service given areas containing populations that are deemed transit-dependent. This study aims to analyse and establish a clear method for calculating and quantifying gaps between transit demand and supply using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The study looks at nine major U.S. cities: Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Portland. Transit deserts often occur in neighbourhoods surrounding historic downtowns; however, exceptions occur in very isolated rural areas.
Dr. Jiao was invited to present this research at the University of Tennessee and the University of Oklahoma, two good universities with great football traditions like UT.