Study of Neighborhoods with Limited Access and Mobility in Rochester


In 2014 the Rochester City Council allocated a portion of the 2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the Olmsted County Planning Department to conduct a study of mobility and access limitations in low to moderate income neighborhoods in the city.  The goal of the CDBG program is to allocate annual grant money to projects that will improve housing conditions, enhance the living environment, and expand economic opportunities for low-and moderate income persons.

The purpose of the Mobility and Access Limitation project was to identify and develop mitigation strategies and measures to reduce the negative impact of limited transportation choices in neighborhoods with higher numbers of low and moderate income persons and to provide an infrastructure improvement framework to guide future public investments in those neighborhoods.         

To identify the neighborhoods of interest census tract data from the 2010 U.S. Census and census block group data from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey was used to identify fifteen neighborhoods with higher numbers or concentrations of low and moderate income families. Other data used to analyze and evaluate mobility and access included information on current infrastructure facilities and transportation services available from the Rochester Public Works and Planning Departments, primarily data in a spatial GIS (Geographic Information System) format as well as online resources to assist in analysis of transit services and facilities. With this information, the goal was to propose an interconnected network of travel corridor improvements and services to enhance access to jobs, services, schools and other daily trip destinations for low and moderate income residents in the targeted neighborhoods areas identified.  

An audit checklist was completed for each neighborhoods to gage the adequacy of current transportation facilities and services and identify where additional needs exist. To prioritize investment needs among the studied neighborhoods, eight neighborhood population factors were weighed to determine which investments would benefit the potentially greatest number of low and moderate income persons.   Given that funds are anticipated to be limited for the type of investments needed to improve access and mobility, prioritizing  identified areas based on consideration of the relative size of various subgroup populations in each area who may to benefit the most from either infrastructure or service enhancements was important.

The study report is presented in three sections. The 1st section provides a general overview of demographic and economic conditions to establish the overall size of the low and moderate income population in the city. The 2nd section refines this data to identify targeted small block group areas where the greatest concentration of low and moderate income persons are found, the potential magnitude of transportation need, and the relative priority of need among the fifteen identified areas. The final section of the study presents the results of the audit analysis of each targeted area with an indication of general strategies and infrastructure / service improvements that would provide benefit to residents of these areas. The suggested improvements are presented as part of this study to facilitate further discussion regarding the level of improvement that should be made to improve the access and mobility for low to moderate income individuals.  


If you would like to provide some suggestion or have any question or comments about the study, please contact the following staff members of Olmsted County Planning Department:


Muhammad Khan

Transportation Planner

507 328-7134


Jeff Ellerbusch

Analysis and Planning Division

507 328-7132