Pittsburgh Transit Frequent Service Asset Mapping

19 Feb

Like many Rust Belt cities, Pittsburgh has been increasingly experiencing the negative effects that occur when development planning is disconnected from transportation planning. In dialogue with our members, community based organizations, and other activist groups, PCRG has taken steps towards increasing transit ridership and promoting interconnection between transit options. We have advocated for policies and zoning changes that encourage Transit Oriented Development, so that many more individuals can embrace a car-free or car-light lifestyle. To further support these goals, PCRG is proud to present the preliminary stages of the Frequent Service and Key Corridor Mapping Project which we hope will assist people working within all areas of transportation and land use. Below are a series of maps that preview the sort of research we will be pursuing. Map 1: Key Corridor Routes Average Frequency (in minutes) during the Week in Relation to Bike Share Stations

key corridor routes

In Pittsburgh, there are a total of 50 bike share stations and 500 bikes spread across Downtown, Oakland, the Hill District, Shadyside, Bloomfield, South Side, and the North Side. This map features Healthy Rides bike share stations in relation to the key corridor bus routes corresponding to their average frequencies (in minutes) over the course of a day. The buffer surrounding the bike share station relates to the number of buses that are in the surrounding 1000 feet, addressing the “last mile problem” associated with getting people as close as possible to their final destinations. There are only three bike share stations (Atwood and Bates station, Schenley and Frew station, and North Shore Drive station) that have either zero or one transit stops available within 1000 feet. Map 2: Key Corridor Routes Average Frequency (in minutes) during the Week in Relation to Zero Car Households

key corridor routes weekday

A wide range of types of individuals or families live in zero car households—they may be living in a mixed development community centered on multiple transit options to or they may be living under the poverty line in a suburban area. While some people have chosen to adopt the zero car approach as a lifestyle, others are not as fortunate and live in isolated communities, such as Penn Hills, with few easily accessible transit options in close proximity. This is a major challenge for those trying to get to daycare facilities, medical appointments, schools, grocery stores, or the countless other destinations that are necessary to reach on a daily basis. This map shows that 3 out of the 10 census tracts with the highest percentage of zero car households were Terrace Village (511, 81.9%), Bedford Dwellings (509, 63.7%), and Terrace Village (510, 38.6%) indicating that there is a trend through the Hill District corridor which is directly correlated to the high percentage of families living in poverty. Across the City of Pittsburgh, here are the following neighborhoods that have the highest percentage of zero car households:

Census Tract


Zero Car households


Terrace Village



North Oakland



Bedford Dwellings



Northview Heights


1304, 1204

Homewood South, Larimer



Terrace Village





5620, 1301

North Oakland, Homewood North



North Oakland



East Liberty


Map 3: Key Corridor Routes Average Frequency (in minutes) During the Week in Relation to Households Living in Poverty

poverty key corridor routes

According to a 2015 Forbes Magazine article “America’s Most Affordable Cities,”(1) Pittsburgh was ranked as the number 11 most affordable city across the country, where cities with 600,000 or more residents were evaluated on four metrics: housing affordability, housing opportunity index, cost of living index, and median salaries for residents with a BA degree or higher. Despite this all, there are still many areas across the City of Pittsburgh that suffers from living in poverty. While college graduates have a median income of $53,600, this is not the same for those who only have a high school education or less. Similarly to the zero car household trends in the Hill District, Terrace Village (511, 72.1%) and Bedford Dwellings (509, 68.1%) are the two highest census tracts suffering from families living in poverty.  Four census tracts (511, 509, 1204, and 1301) reoccur when the percentage of zero car households is compared to the percentage of families living in poverty. Below is a table indicating the ten census tracts with the highest percentage of families living in poverty:

Census Tracts




Terrace Village



Bedford Dwellings









Central Northside



East Hills



Central Oakland



Homewood North



Spring Hill-City View



Glen Hazel


Please feel free to contact Kathryn Schlesinger at kschlesinger@PCRG.org or at 412.391.6732 x.212; or Chris Sandvig at csandvig@PCRG.org,  or at 412.391.6732 x.208 with any additional questions about our work. Legend (2):

  1. Frequent Service Area, light purple ½ mile walkshed around fixed guideways: this is defined specifically by Port Authority based on their guidelines, which states that “frequent service areas are defined as having 1560 scheduled trips a week and provide service for at least 130 of the 168 hours in a week.”
  2. Average Frequency of Key Corridor Routes: there are a total of fourteen key corridor bus routes, a key corridor is defined by Port Authority’s Service Guidelines as a “network that provides frequent service in high volume corridors that are not served by Rapid Routes…serving more than 3500 passengers per weekday.” The average frequency coloration is based on heat map style, dark red (51, Carrick, 10 minutes) being the most frequent and dark blue (61C, McKeesport, 22 minutes) being the least frequent.