The National Academies

TCRP B-29 [Final]

Transit Market Research: Leveraging ITS and Transit ITS Data

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Portland State University
Principal Investigator: Barbara Sestak
Effective Date: 2/3/2005
Completion Date: 5/31/2007


Leveraging ITS Data for Transit Market Research: A Practitioner’s Guidebook, describes currently used intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and Transit ITS technologies that have the greatest promise for transit market research.  This guidebook documents ITS and Transit ITS technologies currently in use, assesses their potential to provide market research data, and presents methods for collecting and analyzing these data. Also, the guidebook provides three in-depth case studies that illustrate how ITS data have been successfully used to improve market research practices. The guide should be useful to small, medium, and large transit agencies.  



Transit agencies use market research for a variety of purposes--scheduling and operations planning, long-range planning and design, performance analyses, market penetration and market segmentation analyses, and gathering data on mode choice and travel patterns, consumer perceptions, consumer preferences, pricing elasticity, customer satisfaction, market segmentation, market usage, scheduling, trip planning, supply and demand, crime mapping, and new product and service evaluations. Also, market research can show where to target resources to have the greatest impact on maintaining and increasing ridership. Because the data are used extensively throughout the major departments within transit agencies, reliable and cost-effective market research is a priority.


While transit market research is becoming more expensive, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), including Transit ITS (formerly known as advanced public transportation systems, or APTS), are transforming the way transportation and transit agencies operate. Because ITS and Transit ITS involve real-time data capture, these technologies have potential to inexpensively capture objective market information at high levels of data accuracy and completeness. Transit agencies should be prepared to capitalize on these efficiencies for transit market research. The use of these data by transit operators, transportation planners, and transit marketers presents significant opportunities for both short-term and long-term gains in transit use. In addition, transit properties that leverage objective customer information from these systems may be able to be more proactive in serving transit customers.


Currently, little information exists about the types of ITS and Transit ITS data best suited   for market research or about the extent of ITS and Transit ITS data use for this purpose by transit agencies in the United States. This guidebook provides information on the technologies with the greatest potential for recovering data to support market research activity. The guidebook also addresses issues that need to be resolved to ensure easier and more effective use of data within transit organizations.


Under TCRP Project B-29, “Transit Market Research: Leveraging ITS and Transit ITS Data”, the research team conducted a comprehensive review of literature, practice, and findings related to ITS and Transit ITS deployments potentially related to market research opportunities. The research team collected data from a representative sample of transit agencies about known and potential uses of ITS and Transit ITS data either as substitutes for, or in conjunction with, primary market research activities. For the data collected, the research team identified the market research purpose, type of data used, the data validation process, and how data were collected and analyzed to fulfill the market research objective.


The research team conducted case studies that include a summary of the ITS and Transit ITS technologies and applicable data used within transit agencies and assess the impacts of the use of ITS and Transit ITS data on market research practices.

Status:  The final report for this project has been published as TCRP Report 126: Leveraging ITS Data for Transit Market Research: A Practitioner's Guidebook.


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