The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has has launched a database of information about more than 4,000 transit zones in the United States. This means information about zones around various transit stations including streetcars, bus transit, ferries, and streetcars. The site only covers a certain number of metro areas, however. The site is available at http://toddata.cnt.org/.
You’ll need to be registered to use the site, which requires only a name, e-mail address, password, and some information about your company. Once you’ve registered, you’re given a list of metro areas to choose from (there are around fifty) and once you choose one you’ll get a map. I chose San Diego.
In the case of San Diego you’ll get a list of both extant and potential transit systems (though in many cases you’ll get a list of just existing transit systems.) Pick one and you’ll get a list of stops for that system. Finally when you pick a stop, the map will show you a map of the stop and demographic information for a radius around the stop, including 2000 population, jobs in 2000 and 2008, and the median household income.
That’s only a small amount of the information available, however. If you chose the “Data” button on the left side, you can choose from several other data sets, including information about household income, household age, vehicle ownership, and how residents travel to work. The information is available both for the metro area as a whole and for the transit zone.
It’s unfortunate that the data is ten years old in some cases — but I guess it can’t be helped until all the numbers are crunched from the most recent census. I’m impressed at the amount of data sets that are available for such small, precise areas. I’m also impressed with the way Google Maps are used — the icons and overlays are terrific.