PART II: A Deeper Look at Detroit’s Routes and Population Density

Transit In Detroit

In case you missed it…

Here’s Part I: How “People Data” can Help the James Robertsons of Detroit and Jump-Start Transit Improvements

Now that we’re all caught up! Let’s start with population. Areas of medium population density make up most of Detroit. Then, there are clear swaths of low density areas. And a few pockets of high density stand out:

Detroit Population Density

To be effective, a transit system must reflect population density. Let’s see what Detroit’s bus routes look like in relation to population density:

Detroit Transit Routes

Bus routes are, for the most part, evenly distributed across the city. Does that strategy result in effective transit? What does it mean at the neighborhood level? Let’s zoom in.

Here, we see an area of low population density. It’s criss-crossed by bus routes. In a low-density environment, are these routes a wise investment of limited resources?

Detroit Near East Side

Here’s one of the highest density areas in Detroit. Transit coverage is less extensive. Is this an appropriate service level? If transit service were to change, what impact could that have for local residents?

Southwest Detroit

The city is changing: quite apart from the tired old narrative of neglect and decline, many segments of Detroit’s culture and economy are growing. To remain relevant, the transit system will need to evolve along with the city. What if transit could lead the city’s evolution rather than follow it?

Thanks to city, state, and federal leaders, 80 new buses are on their way to Detroit. How will we maximize the utilization of these buses? How are we going to deploy these new resources so that they meet the needs of today’s Detroiters?

Detroit New Buses

As living, breathing networks, transit systems require constant analysis — both quantitative and qualitative. Whereas full, in-depth system reviews are only practical once every few years, live visualizations can help transit providers to be much more responsive, much more often.

The simple truth is you cannot plan a transit system if you can’t see your data — and combine it with external data.  Our visualizations highlight conclusions that are hidden in disparate sets of numbers, enabling planners and policymakers to pursue data-driven transit solutions.

There are many parts to a transit system — it’s all about fusing them together to form a complete data picture.

That’s what we do.

Learn more: Interactive Map of Detroit’s Routes and Population Density

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