I previously wrote about Walk Score and its use in Sacramento, and now the Walk Score company has released Transit Score. Sacramento ranks 22 out of 25 cities, with a Transit Score of 32 (of 100), in the category of “some transit.” The categories are rider’s paradise, excellent transit, good transit, some transit, and minimal transit. It is worth noting that if all the major cities had provided their transit information, Sacramento would probably have not been on the list at all, because with a population of just under a half million, it is not in the usual top 25 but would show up in a top 50.
Walk Score notes “The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score for a specific point by summing the relative ‘usefulness’ of nearby routes. We define usefulness as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route.” As pointed out in the recent Streetsblog post, it does not including information about where you can go once you’ve gotten onto the transit, which also of course affects the usefulness of the transit.
Walk Score released transit “heat maps” for Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, but so far as I can determine, the map for Sacramento is not yet available.
My neighborhood, which Walk Score labels Midtown/Winn Park Capital Avenue, has a Transit Score of 54, “good transit,” far better than most of Sacramento, but below several other neighborhoods. My exact address has a slightly higher score of 59, I think because of my proximity to light rail and several commuter lines. I’m three blocks from a light rail station, two blocks from a stop for several of the regional commuter buses, and within several blocks of several bus routes.
Because I work in Carmichael and Citrus Heights, light rail is critical to getting where I need to go. I take light rail, either the Blue to Watt/I-80 or the Gold to Mather/Mills, and then buses much of the rest of the way. Of course at the end of the day I try to ride all the way back home on the American River Parkway trail, which doesn’t show up in any of these calculations, but is a joyful way to get around.
A search on my office address and the some of the schools I work at does not come up with a Transit Score at all. I suspect that the suburban data was not included, or that there is so little data there that a score can’t be calculated.
Just as happened with Walk Score, I am sure that the algorithms and presentation for Transit Score will be refined over time, and become even more useful.