Transit Center: Give Riders Regular, Fast Transit

After surveying 3,000 riders across the country and conducting focus groups in three cities, Transit Center has some advice for policy makers: Forget the fancy branding and wi-fi, and focus on reducing travel times and offering more frequent service.

That’s a key finding of a new report, Who’s On Board, released by the organization earlier this week.

Women are more frequent users of transit than men, according to data in the report, underscoring previous arguments for greater attention to women’s perspective in safety and customer service campaigns. Women are 50.5% of the transit riders in the U.S., but only 47% of the workforce.

The report also sheds light on the limitations of current transportation data collection, which tends to treat riders as “single modal” when in fact they often use a variety of modes (car + train; for example, or bike + train) to get around. Other data point to the importance of walkability near transit stations, citing walking as the best solution for the “first-mile/last-mile problem.”

The report’s author, Steven Higashide, told us the report findings  have particular relevance to buses in New York City:

“In New York City, the findings on the importance of transit frequency and travel time are really reflected in the performance of the bus system,” said Higashide. “Over the past decade, bus ridership has steadily dropped as bus speeds have worsened. Bus bunching is hurting the effective frequency of bus service, as well. The relative bright spot has been Select Bus Service. But it’s not enough to roll out a handful of Select routes every year — the city and MTA have to work to bring speed and reliability improvements to the entire network.”

Hear hear, Mr. Higashide.

Full Report:

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