Public Transport Passenger

EQUITY & TRANSPORTATION

The Commission's report A Comparison of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area to its Peers revealed that the highway system in the Milwaukee metro area performs well in comparison to other metro areas, but the Milwaukee metro area does not compare nearly as well with respect to public transit. While the Milwaukee area has among the highest amount of transit service per capita, it has experienced a much steeper decline in transit ridership due to a variety of external reasons, and its transit service levels are in danger of shrinking to the much lower levels of those peers without dedicated transit funding. People of color, families in poverty, and people with disabilities are more likely to rely on transit than whites, families not in poverty, and people without a disability, meaning that this imbalance has a more significant impact on those populations. The equity analysis of the VISION 2050 transportation component concluded that if the Region does not implement the recommended improvement and expansion of public transit, a disparate impact on the Region's people of color, low-income populations, and people with disabilities is likely to occur. Review several equity-related metrics below. Then explore more equity-related metrics on the Equity & Socioeconomics and Equity & Land Use pages.

VISION 2050 TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ANALYSIS:

VISION 2050 documents an evaluation of the potential impacts of the plan's transportation recommendations on the Region's people of color, low-income populations, and people with disabilities (environmental justice populations).

 

Based on the results of the evaluation, it was concluded that no area of the Region would disproportionately bear the impact of the planned freeway and surface arterial capacity improvements. It was also concluded that VISION 2050 would significantly improve transit access for people of color, low-income populations, and people with disabilities to jobs, healthcare, education, and other activities.

Photo: VISIT Milwaukee

TRANSPORTATION DISPARITIES IN THE MILWAUKEE METRO AREA:

The Commission's report A Comparison of the Milwaukee Metro Area to its Peers provides a statistical comparison of the Milwaukee metro area with 14 other metro areas in the Midwest and 14 other metro areas throughout the Nation. The report assesses how the Milwaukee metro area compares with other areas on a number of key measures, including population growth and characteristics, the economy, housing, and transportation.

 

The Second Edition of the report published in 2020 revealed that, when compared to its peers, the Milwaukee metro area has higher percent of workers who take public transportation to work and a higher percent of households that do not have access to a vehicle. At the same time, Milwaukee has by far the largest transit system of its peers not supported by dedicated funding. This would suggest that action is needed to provide dedicated local transit funding, or at least increase State transit funding, to avoid Milwaukee’s transit levels shrinking to the much lower levels of those peers without dedicated funding.

Photo: VISIT Milwaukee

Midwest Metropolitan Comparisons: Transportation

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census American Community Survey

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MODE OF TRAVEL TO WORK AND HOUSEHOLDS WITHOUT A CAR

Mode of Travel to Work by Race/Ethnicity: 2014-2018

Data indicate that automobile travel is the dominant mode of travel for all population groups. However, people of color are more likely to use transit or carpool to get to work than whites.

Source: SEWRPC

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Households Without a Vehicle by Race/Ethnicity: 2014-2018

This figure shows households without a car by race and ethnicity for the Region. American Indian and Alaskan Native and Black/African American populations are three and four times less likely to have access to a vehicle than the white, non-Hispanic population in the Region. 

Source: SEWRPC

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Households of Color and Non-Hispanic White Households Without a Vehicle: 2014-2018

The chart shows vehicle availability for households of color and white households in the Region. Households of color are nearly three times more likely to not have access to a vehicle than white households in the Region. 

Source: SEWRPC

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Households Without a Vehicle by Poverty Level: 2014-2018

The figure shows vehicle availability for families in poverty and families not in poverty. 30% of families in poverty in the Region do not have access to a vehicle, compared to 6% of families not in poverty. 

Source: SEWRPC

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ACCESS TO JOBS BY MODE

Jobs Accessible Within 30 Minutes by Transit: Existing

Access to jobs via the Region's existing transit systems is limited compared to access via automobile. The downtown Milwaukee area is the only area in the Region that has access to 100,000 or more jobs within 30 minutes by transit. 

Source: SEWRPC

Jobs Accessible Within 30 Minutes by Automobile: Existing

Access to jobs in the Region via automobile is much greater compared to access via existing transit. All of Milwaukee County, and most areas of Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha Counties, have access to 100,000 or more jobs within 30 minutes by automobile.

Source: SEWRPC