Getting to Work: Transit, Density and Opportunity

Posted by Center City District on July 4, 2016

The Center City District, Central Philadelphia Development Corporation and Central Philadelphia Transportation Management Association have released Center City Reports- Getting to Work: Transit, Density and Opportunity, detailing how workers in Center City and the region arrive at their jobs and the impact these choices have on the downtown economy.

Transit and housing investments from the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been re-infused with value by employment, demographic and cultural trends of the early 21st century that favor dense, diverse and transit-oriented job centers. At the center of the region’s transit network, Center City holds the largest concentration of employment anywhere in the metro area, with 295,000 jobs. Sixty-one percent of all Philadelphians can take transit to a downtown job in less than 30 minutes. More than 1 million residents of surrounding suburban counties live within one mile of a rail station, connecting them directly to downtown’s employers, retail shops, restaurants, educational, medical, arts and cultural institutions.

However, land use and development patterns in the third quarter of the 20th century created an environment that not only required a car for the most essential trip a person regularly undertakes – the journey to work – they also disconnected many lower-income workers from easy access to employment opportunities. By reinvesting in existing infrastructure and concentrating development around transit-oriented nodes, Philadelphia can decrease congestion and air pollution, reinforce the competitiveness of our employment centers and create new opportunities for disadvantaged workers. Transit is not just a convenience; it is essential to the density that enables Center City to provide 42% of all jobs in Philadelphia.

To view or download the report, visit

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