Posts tagged as "ridership"
SURTC Director Dr. Jill Hough was quoted in this story from National Public Radio on the impact of higher gas prices on rural transit: Gas Prices Force More People To Take Rural Transit.
The built environment and its effect on transit ridership will be discussed during the Transportation Seminar Series on October 18th. The presentation will focus on recently published findings from the report: Transit Ridership and the Built Environment. The objective of this research was to determine what variables (e.g., land-use mix, walkability) play an important role in determining the built environment/transit ridership relationship in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
SURTC has published a new report that focused on evaluating the the built environment and its influence on transit ridership. In relation to travel behavior, there has been a focus on improving our understanding of how the built environment influences one's travel mode choice. Planners need evidence showing how land use matters as they advocate for the adoption of different planning principles. This is especially true in small urban areas where planners seldom utilize innovative land-use principles, such as smart growth, within their planning process.
The objective of this research was to determine what variables play an important role in determining the built environment/transit ridership relationship in the Fargo-Moorhead community. Socio-economic and level of service variables were also considered. The publication can be downloaded at the following link: Transit Ridership and the Built Environment.
Total U.S. transit ridership decreased by 3.8% from 2008 levels according to the Fourth Quarter Public Transportation Ridership Report recently released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). APTA attributes the decline in ridership to high unemployment, economic recession, and lower gas prices, as well as bus and rail service cutbacks resulting from lower state and local funding.
Despite the decline, ridership has still been growing faster than population over the past decade. The 2008 ridership level was the highest in 52 years, and some decrease would be expected given the higher rates of unemployment and lower gas prices. Higher rates of unemployment mean that fewer people are traveling to work, and lower gas prices make automobile travel less expensive. The national unemployment rate increased from 5.8% in 2008 to 9.3% in 2009. Meanwhile, the U.S. average gasoline price decreased from $3.25 per gallon in 2008 to $2.35 per gallon in 2009. Research has shown that these factors do affect transit ridership. According to estimates obtained from a previous SURTC study, changes in unemployment rates and gas prices of these magnitudes could be expected to decrease ridership by as much as 10%, so a 3.8% drop is fairly modest. Ridership was down by less than 1% in 2009 compared to 2007 levels.
Further, while there was an overall decrease, the number of riders in rural and small urban areas was fairly constant, and ridership increased for demand response service. Bus ridership declined by just a half percent in 2009 in areas with a population below 100,000 (and was actually up 1.5% in the fourth quarter), and demand response ridership rose 2.7%.