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2020 T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 209 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transportation â¢ Passenger Transportation â¢ Planning and Forecasting Analysis of Recent Public Transit Ridership Trends Kari Watkins Simon Berrebi Chandler Diffee Becca Kiriazes David Ederer GeorGia Tech research corporaTion Atlanta, GA
TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 209 Project J-11/Task 28 ISSN 2572-3782 ISBN 978-0-309-48113-7 Â© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- rent systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Commission. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Commission to formulate the research program by identi- fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Commission defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. Published research reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 209 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Dianne S. Schwager, Senior Program Officer Jarrel McAfee, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Heidi Willis, Editor TCRP PROJECT J-11/TASK 28 PANEL Field of Special Projects Justin D. Antos, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Washington, D.C. (Chair) Joshua A. Baker, Alexandria Transit Company (DASH), Alexandria, VA Conan Cheung, Los Angeles County Metro Transportation Authority (LACMTA), Los Angeles, CA Arthur N. Gaudet, Arthur N. Gaudet & Associates Inc., Carrollton, TX Ryan Greene-Roesel, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), LKS-21, Oakland, CA Rohan Anthony Kuruppu, Riverside Transit Agency, Riverside, CA Ted Meyer, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), Cincinnati, OH Laurel Paget-Seekins, MBTA, Boston, MA Scott A. Wainwright, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago, IL Phillip Armstrong, FTA Liaison Robyn Sinquefield, FTA Liaison Matthew Dickens, APTA Liaison Darnell Grisby, APTA Liaison Katherine A. Kortum, TRB Liaison
TCRP Research Report 209 presents the results of a quick-study analysis of recent transit ridership trends. Transit ridership across the United States has declined for six straight years. Bus ridership, which has declined more than other transit services, is now at the lowest point since at least 1973. Rail ridership, with the exception of commuter rail, has also declined, and commuter rail ridership has recently leveled off. The audience for this report includes transit agencies; local, state, and federal governments; and others inter- ested in transit ridership trends. The objectives of TCRP Project J-11/Task 28 were to (1) produce a current assessment of public transit ridership trends in the United States on bus and rail services in urban and suburban areas, focusing on what has changed in the past several years, and (2) explore and present strategies that transit agencies are considering and using for all transit modes in response to changes in ridership. The Georgia Tech Research Corporation conducted this quick-study project through a literature review, transit ridership analysis, and case studies that focused on strategies being used to mitigate transit ridership losses. Changes in transit ridership are presented in this report at regional levels separately for mixed traffic modes (typically bus-based services) and dedicated right-of-way modes (typically rail-based service). A snapshot analysis using 2012 data was conducted, followed by a trend analysis for the period 2012 to 2016. The report examines the relationship between transit ridership and the following three major factors that are purported to influence transit ridership: population, transit-dependent population (i.e., zero-vehicle house- holds), and transit service levels (i.e., transit vehicle revenue miles). This research identified strategies for mitigating ridership losses through a review of the literature and news articles, followed by 10 case studies. Strategies transit agencies are undertaking include increasing transit service levels, adding new mobility options, and improving technology and customer amenities. TCRP has initiated a larger research project (TCRP A-43, âRecent Decline in Public Transportation Ridership: Analysis, Causes, Responses,â https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/ TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4524) to further examine transit rider ship and strat- egies for improvements. This project, which is also being conducted by the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, will examine ridership in more detail at the route and station levels to better understand the factors affecting transit ridership. The objectives of this research are to (1) help public transportation agencies better understand changes in ridership under specific operating circumstances, (2) identify and compare strategies to increase ridership or mitigate declines in specific service areas or corridors, and (3) develop clear guidance on how public transportation agencies can apply these research findings. F O R E W O R D By Dianne S. Schwager Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
1 Summary 6 Chapter 1 Background 6 Literature Overview 10 Chapter 2 Research Approach 10 Clustering 14 Ridership Trends 14 Transit Agency Strategies and Case Study Selection 15 Chapter 3 National Ridership Trends 15 Ridership Trends Analysis for Mixed Traffic Modes 30 Ridership Trends Analysis for Dedicated Right-of-Way Modes 34 Summary 36 Chapter 4 Transit Agency Strategies 36 Service Levels 37 Bus Network Restructuring 38 Mode Integration 38 Dedicated Right-of-Way and Bus Rapid Transit 39 Transportation Network Companies and Bike, Scooter, and Car Sharing Partnerships 40 Demand Response and Flex Routes 41 Fare Media and Integration 42 Additional Strategies 42 Summary 43 Chapter 5 Case Studies 43 Case Study 1âConnect Transit, BloomingtonâNormal, IL 46 Case Study 2âGreater Portland METRO, Portland, ME 48 Case Study 3âIndyGo, Indianapolis, IN 51 Case Study 4âKing County Metro, Seattle, WA 54 Case Study 5âMaryland Transit Administration, Baltimore, MD 57 Case Study 6âMassachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, MA 60 Case Study 7âMetro Transit, Minneapolis, MN 63 Case Study 8âMetropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX 65 Case Study 9âPinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Pinellas County, FL 68 Case Study 10âSpokane Transit Authority, Spokane, WA 70 Summary C O N T E N T S
72 Chapter 6 Conclusions and Next Steps 73 Future Research 74 Bibliography 79 Appendix A Literature Review 88 Appendix B Data Limitations 92 Appendix C Metropolitan Statistical Areas Abbreviations by Cluster