OGDEN — Believe it or not, there aren’t many places that provide a better connection between transit and employment than the Top of Utah.
According to a new national study released by the Brookings Institution, the Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Area ranks 11th among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country for transit systems that most efficiently link employers and the labor pool.
The Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area ranks first on Brookings’ list, while the Provo-Orem area ranks seventh.
Encompassing all of Weber, Davis and Morgan counties, the Ogden metro area’s ranking places it ahead of cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago.
The report reveals that 44 percent of the Ogden metro area’s population can reach their jobs in 90 minutes or less via public transit.
According to the report, the image of the big cities providing the best transit service to employment can be misleading.
The report claims that, on average, 63 percent of metropolitan-area jobs across the country — about 64 million positions — are located outside of the central city area.
So while transit in the immediate city center is typically superior in the larger, older and more established cities, the efficiency of transit outside of the city center is usually better in cities with newer, more modern infrastructure, the report states.
“In a lot of metropolitan areas, the access to labor in cities is much greater than the access to labor in suburbs,” said Adie Tomer, Brookings’ senior research associate and author of the report.
“That’s because of the older design of transit systems and the more modern employer sprawl to the suburbs.”
Tomer said Utah ranks extremely well on the list, as do many other cities in the West, because of newer and expanded transit networks.
Utah Transit Authority spokesman Gerry Carpenter said when it comes to transit coverage, the Wasatch Front region has benefited from sheer geography.
Carpenter said with a mountain range to the east and Great Salt Lake to the west, UTA’s coverage area is relatively long and narrow, allowing the agency to put a large focus on north/south travel.
“We are kind of lucky in that sense,” he said. “But we’ve also tried to create a lot of feeder routes that allow people to get to the (north/south) service like FrontRunner. That’s why we did well in this study.”
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For the entire report, visit www.brookings.edu/transitandlabor.