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Transit deserts are defined as not having access to rapid transit, such as train or bus services, within one mile of one’s residence. In New York City, boroughs outside the city’s center struggle with this the most, especially when limited bus services are only offered. Transit deserts bring the most impact for low-income and people of color (POC) communities, limiting their access to essentials such as job opportunities, healthcare, and food supplies. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has tried addressing this issue with experts in arcGIS, a Geographical Information System (GIS) software, resulting in the cutting down of essential bus stops. We used an alternative GIS software, QGIS, to look at the current data and recommend more effective changes. With this tool, graph theory concepts such as Krustal’s Algrothim were used in an attempt to better assess bus networks. We were able to utilize a geographic Minimum Spanning Tree plugin in QGIS to optimize routes in areas such as Staten Island, North Bronx, and Northwest Queens. Through our mapping, locations of transit deserts were confirmed. While there is still room to further explore accommodations, our preliminary findings serve as a foundation for future transit optimization.


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