Study: West Coast has best ratio of public transportation to jobs

Boston, Houston, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Minneapolis rounded out the top 10 in the number of actual transit-accessible jobs.

Brookings found that overall 70 percent of U.S. metropolitan residents lived in neighborhoods where they could access public transportation.

"Transit coverage is highest in Western metro areas such as Honolulu and Los Angeles, and lowest in Southern metro areas such as Chattanooga and Greenville," the study said. "Regardless of region, residents of cities and lower-income neighborhoods have better access to transit than residents of suburbs and middle/higher-income neighborhoods."

The Brookings study added that more of the jobs that were accessible by transit — one-third — were in "high-skill" industries, while only one-fourth were low- or middle-skill work.

"This reflects the higher concentration of high-skill jobs in cities, which are uniformly better served by transit," the study said. "It also points to potentially large accessibility problems for workers in growing low-income suburban communities, who on average can access only about 22 percent of metropolitan jobs in low- and middle-skill industries for which they may be most qualified." 

The full Brookings study can be read here.