Rationale and definition:
This indicator measures access to reliable public transportation, using a proxy of percentage of population within [0.5] kilometers of public transit running at least every  minutes. Public transportation is defined as a shared passenger transport service that is available to the general public. It includes buses, trolleys, trams, trains, subways, and ferries. It excludes taxis, car pools, and hired buses, which are not shared by strangers without prior arrangement.
Effective and low-cost transportation for mobility is critical for urban poverty reduction and economic development because it provides access to jobs, health care, education services, and more. The Partnership on Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)1 and others propose indicators for urban access to sustainable transport that include: mean daily travel time, percentage of income spent by urban families on transport, and percentage of households within 500 meters of good quality, affordable public transportation.
Households should be disaggregated spatially and in terms of potential disadvantage (such as sex, age, disability) to ensure access for all.
Comments and limitations:
No internationally agreed methodology exists for measuring convenience and service quality of public transportation. In addition, global data on urban transport systems do not exist. Although some data exists for public transport companies and individual cities, harmonized and comparable data on the world level do not yet exist. To obtain this data would require going down to municipal/city level, as urban transport is most often not under direct responsibility of national governments. In general, there is currently a lack of data on the number of people using mass transit and on transport infrastructure.2
Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:
Primary data source:
Administrative data, complemented by mapping, surveys, and citizen-supplied data.
Potential lead agency or agencies:
Sayeg, P., Starkey, P., and Huizenga, C. (2014). Updated Draft Results Framework on Sustainable Transport, SLoCAT (Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport).
UN Statistics Division, (2014).