Access to Opportunity

Support a connected system that enables access to all activities, allowing people to succeed by removing transportation barriers

Like most large U.S. cities, the Kansas City region saw significant postwar suburban growth. As some cities see their suburban growth declining, our region’s suburbs are growing at a pace similar to our urban areas. Between 2010 and 2014, suburban employment increased by 12% while urban employment decreased by 2%.

With more jobs moving to car-dependent suburbs, people who do not have access to cars — including workers who make a low wage and people with disabilities — have reduced access to those job opportunities.

Supporting programs

These programs or initiatives can help us achieve our goals by directly advancing various plan strategies.

Even if a bus serves the area, it may not be at convenient times or might require a very long commute. Therefore, people who make a low wage often have no choice but to spend a large percentage of their household income on transportation at the expense of other necessities. While the number of jobs accessible by transit in the Kansas City region is growing, there is still room for improvement.

Performance measures

The map below shows transit service by frequency and the density of households without a car. While some may choose to not own a vehicle, the majority of households without a car have very low-incomes and must rely on transit for most of their transportation needs.

Existing Transit Services

In addition to the map above, the following map shows the number of jobs difficult for people to access if they do not have a car and rely on transit. The orange dots represent jobs that are a quarter mile or more from a transit stop; the larger the dot, the greater the number of jobs*. Combined with this is the planned transit system improvements from the region’s long-term transit and mobility plan, Smart Moves 3.0.

With the development of fixed-route bus service from this plan, it is anticipated that the average worker will be able to access 47% more jobs in the morning and 122% in the late evening, all within a 60-minute commute. Click on the layer list within the map and turn on the Smart Moves layer to see how it would increase access for our region.

*Note that this data is from 2015 so does not include recently developed job centers.

Planned Transit Improvements (Smart Moves 3.0)

Expanding access to opportunity for all residents is imperative to our continued economic growth. Residents of all races, ages, abilities and income levels need a reliable transportation system that connects them to jobs, education, housing, shopping, services such as healthcare and childcare, recreation and entertainment, places of worship, and friends and family. 


COMPLETE AND GREEN STREETS — Design, build and maintain streets that are safe and convenient for all travelers, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders and freight, and that use natural systems to enhance stormwater management, mitigate heat islands, improve air and water quality to create desirable corridors connecting walkable activity centers. Complete streets information

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS — Integrate emergency preparedness planning into the transportation planning processes, recognizing the important role transportation systems play in emergency response and recovery and emphasizing the needs of vulnerable populations.

EQUITABLE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY — Ensure innovative transportation technology facilities and services are accessible to residents of all races, ages, abilities and income levels.

EQUITABLE INVESTMENT — Support greater investment in transportation projects that address the needs of disadvantaged populations and communities and ensure more equitable outcomes.

MOBILITY HUBS — Work with local governments to develop, fund and build mobility hubs in key activity centers where transit services connect with a variety of other mobility services so people can easily switch from bike to bus, rent a car or bike, hail a ride, meet a vanpool, or charge an electric vehicle.

MOBILITY INNOVATIONS — Promote innovative services and technologies that expand or enhance safe and efficient mobility options for people and goods.

MORE MODE CHOICES — Prioritize broader implementation of accessible mobility services, such as bicycle, scooter and car-sharing options, as well as microtransit services to supplement fixed-route transit with first/last mile solutions.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION — Expand and enhance transit services along high-demand corridors as recommended in the Smart Moves Plan. Provide microtransit, or other on-call, curb-to-curb mobility services for lower-density areas throughout the region to provide an appropriate balance between ridership and coverage goals.

REGIONAL CONNECTIONS — Support improvements to intercity passenger and freight transportation facilities and services that connect our region to domestic and international markets.

TRAILS AND BIKEWAYS — Implement the MetroGreen system with continued planning support as needed, in coordination with the Regional Bikeway Plan. This includes connected trails, greenways and the network of on- and off-road facilities. Develop this system with an increased emphasis on natural resource conservation and restoration of connected stream and riparian corridors.

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