The National Academies

TCRP H-32 [Final]

Determining the Elements Needed to Create High-Ridership Transit Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: TranSystems Corporation
Principal Investigator: Daniel Fleishman
Effective Date: 9/15/2004
Completion Date: 12/30/2006

Increasing ridership is a national goal and a high priority for all transit systems. Increasing ridership is important to sustain public investment in transit, particularly in a resource-constrained environment.
Ridership is generally used by public authorities as the basis for measuring the effectiveness of public transportation investments. In addition, strong transit ridership supports a wide variety of public policy goals, including energy conservation, air-quality improvement, congestion relief, mobility for transportation-disadvantaged groups, livable communities, and economic development and sustained growth. Increasing transit ridership also improves the efficiency of the overall transportation system by using available capacity.

There have been numerous success stories among transit systems for increasing ridership that can be emulated, and there is extensive literature on measures to increase ridership that has not been presented in a single source. Policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders need a guidebook that can be applied within the specific circumstances of local transit operations to better understand the common elements of transit systems that have successfully increased ridership.

The objective of this research is to produce guidance materials that effectively (1) identify the full range of types of actions, initiatives or special projects that offer the potential to create high ridership, and (2) provide examples of their effective usage and impacts

Status: An interim guidebook has been published as TCRP Web-Only Document 32. This guidebook describes the strategies used by transit agencies to create high ridership. The guidebook also provides information on the effective use and effects of those strategies on ridership and provides guidance on selecting appropriate strategies to sustain or increase ridership. A final version of the Guidebook, which will include the case study reports, will be completed by late August. Also, a descriptive brochure that presents the key elements an agency should consider in its efforts to increase and sustain ridership will be developed. The brochure will be designed to provide general-use information that will be readily understandable by a broad range of potential readers.  The final Report has been published as TCRP Report 111.This report includes a companion interactive CD-ROM that contains a database of individual transit agency ridership strategies linked to the strategies and examples presented in the report. The CD-ROM also contains a brochure that outlines the key elements identified in this report for increasing and sustaining ridership. These materials have been designed to assist transit managers and staff, as well as policymakers and other regional stakeholders, by identifying strategies that can be used to increase ridership.

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