America's cities are growing faster than ever before. As of 2016 the Census Bureau estimates that over 80% of all Americans live in an urban area. Increasing urbanization presents numerous problems, however. Chief among these problems is access to transportation as transit networks are being strained under this increased demand. Inevitably some areas of cities are not being adequately served by current transit networks. A "transit desert" describes an area of a city where transit demand, measured as the transit-dependent population, outstrips transit supply. This research aims to identify these transit deserts in 50 major US cities and provide some possible solutions.
Through this analysis, we have found that the central business district is almost always well served by transit. Outer-lying areas in which people generally own vehicles are also well-served, but this is not always the case. High-density, urban areas are almost always the least well served areas of any given city because people are less likely to own cars in these areas and thus demand is high. This research highlights some of the shortcomings in traditional transit planning approaches because such methods almost always focus on easing daily commute times instead of taking a more holistic look at cities. Possible solutions to transit desert problems include, but are not limited to: shared biking systems, TNCs, informal transit systems (van-pool), or customized transit systems.
Junfeng Jiao is an assistant professor in the Community and Regional Planning program and director of Urban Information Lab at UTSOA. His research focuses on using information technologies (GIS, GPS, Drone, smart phone, social media, wearable devices, etc) to quantify built environments and understand its impact on people’s behavior (e.g. travel, physical, eating etc) and its health consequence. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how people react and reflect the built environments where they live, work, and play. He has investigated how built environments affect people's access to grocery stores, transit facilities, and bicycle infrastructures, and how people describe cities in cyber space through Twitter. He firstly coined the term of Transit Desert and developed various measurement methods. His research on Transit and Food Deserts were widely reported by the Associated Press, Yahoo, MSN, NBC, NPR, USA today, Finance and Commerce, City Lab, The Conversation, Chicago Tribute, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Seattle Times, Seattle Met, Dallas News, Houston Chronicle, Austin Statesman, Texas Tribune etc.
Goldsmith Talks is an open-format series of presentations organized by UTSOA faculty, staff, and students. the series aims to encourage and promote presentations that are outside of the scope of the main lecture series. Examples are: invited seminar presentations, book talks, lectures by designers and scholars who may be in Austin for another engagement, round-table discussions, film screenings, product demonstrations, or any other activity related to research, scholarship, and teaching activities and at the school. The format provides a platform for encouraging the dissemination of work by visitors and members of our community. The goal is to raise awareness, increase access, and better integrate such events within the public life of the school.