Access to Jobs

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2006-2010): 88.0%
Current (2017-2021): 87.7%

Theme Prosperous


Percent of residents living within a reasonable travel time to work

Why is it Important?

In order to have a strong economy and a high quality of life it is important for residents to be able to access jobs within the region. Job access improves when housing for a variety of income levels is located more closely to job centers, and when more transportation options are available to provide efficient connections between home and work. An increase in the proportion of residents who have reasonable travel times1 to work can make the region more attractive to potential employers and workers (boosting the economy), improve environmental quality by reducing distance of travel, and increase social equity by increasing accessibility for all workers. A “reasonable” travel time for those who commute by automobile is considered to be 45 minutes or less. For those that commute by public transportation, a “reasonable” time is considered 60 minutes or less.

How are we Doing?

Most residents in the St. Louis region (87.7 percent) have a reasonable travel time to work in 2017-2021. This is about the same as in 2006-2010. The percentage of workers who are considered to have access to jobs who travel by auto, 88.3 percent, is substantially more than those who ride transit, 60.4 percent. From the baseline year (2006-2010) to the current year (2017-2021) the percent of auto commuters with reasonable access declined by 0.4 percentage points while the decline for transit commuters was 6.5 percentage points.

Most workers who don’t work from home in the St. Louis region commute by auto (95.1 percent) and another 2.0 percent commute via public transportation. Those who commute by auto include those who drive alone and those who carpool. The remaining 2.9 percent of workers commute by taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle, walked, or other means. While access by all modes is important, auto and public transportation comprise 97.1 percent of commuters. It is therefore reasonable to look at only these modes. Further, reliable data is not available for other modes.

While this method indicates that workers in the region have good access to their current jobs, it does not provide any reflection of jobs that workers may not have due to low access to potential jobs. Also, it only reflects the current mode of transportation taken, and does not assess if commuters are using their desired mode.  The road network provides access to far more jobs in the region than the transit system. For example, some residents in the city of St. Louis can reach nearly all jobs in the region within a 45 minute drive but only about one-third of jobs in the region within 60 minutes by transit.1 Within the region commuters in the more central counties are more likely to have reasonable commute times than those in the outer counties. About 91 percent of commuters in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are considered to have reasonable commute times to their jobs. About 85 to 89 percent of commuters in St. Clair, St. Charles, and Madison counties have access while closer to about three-fourths of commuters in the outlying counties (Franklin, Jefferson, and Monroe) have reasonable commute times to their jobs.

Geographic Level

St. Louis eight-county bi-state region, including Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties and the city of St. Louis in Missouri and Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois. View map.


1“Reasonable travel time” as defined in the State of the System report completed as part of the long-range transportation plan, Connected2045, approved by East-West Gateway Council of Governments in June 2015.