About Us

Data Driven Detroit (D3) provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive decision-making that strengthens communities in Southeast Michigan.

Building A Better City Council by District Map

by Gregory Parrish – Technical Manager at D3
Contributing D3 Team: Louis Bach, Drew Gordon, Kat Hartman, Rob Linn, Clay Martin & Kurt Metzger

Historically, Detroit’s nine City Council members have been elected at-large; that is, each of them represents the city as a whole rather than a particular district. However, Detroit’s new City Charter, which took effect on January 1, 2012, changes the way that Council members are elected. Under the new Charter, only two members are elected at-large, and seven members are elected by district. Council members are required to live within the district that they represent.


Interactive District Options Map:

Continue reading Building A Better City Council by District Map

Is Bus Rapid Transit Possible with a Regional Transit Authority?

by Clay Martin – Research Analyst at D3

Cleveland has both a regional transit authority and bus rapid transit.

Light rail in Detroit faces an uncertain future. After years of planning and almost $100 million in dedicated funding from the Kresge Foundation, its M1 Rail partners, and the federal government, Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder announced in December that the M1 Rail project was canceled. In its place they proposed a bus rapid transit (BRT) system for southeast Michigan. In early January, they changed their position and stated that light rail was still possible in Detroit, although with a significantly shorter route. (A few days later, M1 Rail executive Matt Cullen indicated that the “light rail” would actually be a streetcar.) The shorter Woodward light rail/streetcar line will operate in conjunction with the new BRT system, though more changes to the transit plan may occur.

While the notion of rapid bus service may be unfamiliar to our region, it is worthwhile to consider the feasibility and desirability of a regional BRT system under the management of a dedicated regional transit authority (RTA). After all, legislation was recently introduced in Lansing to create an RTA and BRT does have certain advantages over its rail-bound counterpart. It is less expensive, with light rail costs per-mile between 150% and 5,000% greater than BRT, depending on the extent to which BRT elements such as grade-separated lanes are implemented [2]. And, if done right, it can be a genuinely rapid form of transit. One comparison of BRT and light rail systems found that five out of six BRT systems had higher average operating speeds than light rail. [3]

Continue reading Is Bus Rapid Transit Possible with a Regional Transit Authority?

The Power of New Data: New Primary Datasets and the Impact on Food Quality in Detroit

by Kat Hartman – Research Analyst at D3
& Louis Bach – Communications Team at D3

The D4 survey of food retailers with EBT and liquor licenses in Detroit revealed a "substantial percentage of stores with severe food violations..."


In the September 2011 edition of our newsletter, we debunked the myth that Detroit has no grocery stores within its city limits. That claim has been cited to support the assertion that Detroit is a food desert (an area in which healthy food is prohibitively expensive or outright unavailable.) We found that 115 grocery stores operate within the city limits. However, our analysis was limited to data that included only addresses, so we were unable to measure the current quality of food that stores offer, an important part of the food-accessibility issue.

On January 19th, the Detroit community came one step closer to addressing the question of food quality. This was accomplished through the development of a new data set, based on a survey of 207 food retailers in Detroit. The Good Food, Good Jobs Coalition of Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D-4) hosted a summit at COLORS and the offices of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) to highlight the release of its report on food safety in Detroit stores with both liquor and food stamp licenses.[1]

Continue reading The Power of New Data: New Primary Datasets and the Impact on Food Quality in Detroit

Release of the D3 Annual Report: A Resource for Our Community

Data Driven Detroit (D3) has finished our 2011 Annual Report, “Positives & Negatives: Finding a Balanced Approach through Data.” In addition to summarizing our activities over the past year, the Report also compiles essential statistics into a resource that we hope you will reference throughout the 2012. The year following a Census is always an important one. The results of this survey inevitably create waves that impact every level of geography, from city block to nation. The results from the 2010 Census, which were released in 2011, illustrated unprecedented changes in Detroit, across our region, and throughout the State. According to the new Census numbers, Michigan was the only state in the country to lose population over the decade.  The City of Detroit experienced one of its largest percentage losses in residents over the last 6 decades. Arguably, both positive and negative trends have emerged from the 2010 Census results.  It is essential that we as a region process them honestly and find a balanced, equitable approach to moving forward.

We at D3 believe that the region must work together to develop a common narrative that respects our diverse histories, while also establishing a new set of shared experiences. Our ability to do so successfully requires that we first understand our metropolis objectively and then act in agreement on that common knowledge. We believe that the most direct path to objective consensus is through data. D3 has brought together twelve months of demographic maps and visualizations, using our extensive library of data sets, to provide a common understanding of our region as we build our future together.

Download the digital version of the 2011 Annual Report here