What Cities Gain When Their Airports Are Close to Downtown

Just two of the 10 most remote major U.S. airports are connected by rail of any kind.

Image Flickr/madrazz

We've all experienced the frustration of getting off a flight then enduring a long, trafficky drive downtown. What a difference it can make to be able to zip to your meeting or hotel on light rail or the subway.

With the help of my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Zara Matheson, I gathered data on the distance from airports to the downtown core of major American cities. Matheson collected data on driving time and distance (using estimates from Google Maps, collected in March 2012) and whether rail transit connects airports to downtowns. 

The slideshow below by Cities fellow Tyler Falk shows the 10 major U.S. airports that are closest to and the 10 farthest from the downtown cores of the cities they serve:

One of the great equalizers for airports farther away from downtown is rapid transit. But just two of the 10 farthest airports are connected by rail of any kind. Five of the 10 airports closer to the urban core, on the other hand, offer convenient public transportation. Good transit connections can be pricey and difficult politically. But the cost of not having one means that the efficiency gained in the air is quickly lost once you land.

Top image: Courtesy of Flickr user madrazz

About the Author