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Urban expansion outpacing rapid transit, report says

All 2.2 million people in the city of Paris live within a 1-km walk of public transit. (Ekaterina Pokrovsky/

Mass transit networks are failing to keep pace with urban expansion, according to a new report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

People Near Transit: Improving Accessibility and Rapid Transit Coverage in Large Cities examines transport systems in 26 major cities worldwide. The authors measured how many residents live within 1 km (.62 miles) of trains and buses. In the suburbs, options plummet by about half, fueling reliance on cars and limiting access to jobs and education for poor populations, the report says.

Paris wins plaudits for a perfect score of 100 percent within the city, meaning that all 2.2 million of its people have just a short stroll to rapid transit. Coverage drops to 50 percent, however, in the wider Paris metro region. Barcelona scored 99 percent within the city and 76 percent across its metro area. Other standouts for citywide coverage include Rotterdam (84 percent) and Seoul (83 percent).

Cities with notably inadequate mass transit include Johannesburg, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. All three have roughly 25 percent access to public transit in their city centers, and even less availability in outlying districts. 

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

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