What Drives Transit Ridership?

A study on how people use transit throughout the United States was released by the Transit Center. The Who’s On Board 2016 report examined people’s patterns of transit use to discover what riders value in transit and how that knowledge can be used to build ridership. There are a number of core findings that provide a guideline for agencies and elected officials to follow when considering options for improving transit.

The study identifies the three most common patterns of transit use: occasional riders, commuters and all-purpose riders. Their recommendation for transit agencies is to focus on growing the number of all-purpose riders, as they are the most reliable and financially efficient customers to serve.

All-purpose riders take transit regularly for multiple purposes and usually live within walking distance of a transit stop. This means transit oriented development and providing frequent service to highly populated areas should result in increased ridership. The report also emphasizes that the main factors leading to people using transit is not whether or not they own a car; it is the speed, frequency and reliability of the transit system.

As we continue to invest in transit systems throughout the U.S. it is important to remember fast, frequent and reliable service in dense neighborhoods will have the greatest impact on overall ridership.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

We have been briefing elected officials on our CrossRail Chicago plan. The CrossRail website has been redesigned and has some brand new content. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the highest impact transportation project in the Midwest.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Union Station Gets an Architect to Lead its Rebuild
“Amtrak, Metra and City Hall have settled on an architect to plan the redesign of Union Station, the latest sign of real momentum in ongoing efforts to restore the historic, Daniel Burnham-designed structure and put it on firm financial footing.”

Caltrain Awards Electrification, EMU Contracts
“Caltrain’s Board of Directors on July 7, 2016 approved $1.25 billion in contracts with Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. and Stadler U.S. Inc. to begin work on the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP).”

Seeking a Bigger Voice on Transit, Freight Issues, Cook Offers Transportation Plan
“Cook County will issue its first new long-range transportation plan in 76 years, a wide-reaching, highly detailed, 80-page document spelling out the county’s priorities for promoting transit and other transportation alternatives, supporting freight rail, improving job access and increasing capital investment.”

China Completes 16km High-Speed Tunnel
“Chinese engineers have completed construction of a 15,989m-long double-track tunnel on the new Xi’an – Chengdu high-speed line which is due to open in late 2017.”

New High Speed Rail Plan Connecting Sydney to Melbourne Revealed
“the long-awaited proposal by private company Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) Pty Ltd, which has partnered with international companies to develop the proposal, claims its high speed rail network will “place citizens in our capitals in less time than a morning commute”.”

Upcoming Events:

Brown Bag Lunch with Stephen Bonina, President of Stadler Trains

When: Tuesday, July 26, Noon-1:00pm

Where: DePaul University, 14 East Jackson Blvd, 16th Floor – Dublin Room, Chicago, IL

Cost: The event is free but please make sure to register here

2016 MHSRA Annual Fall Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: Marco Stegher, Americas Area Manager, Italferr S.p.A.

When:      Friday, September 16, Noon-1:30 PM (Check-in begins at 11:30 AM)

Where:     Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Cost:         Regular Ticket: $55     Student Ticket: $20  Register Here

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

The Latest from HSRA

Our Latest Blog Posts

Check out the latest news, updates, and high speed rail insights from our blog!

New Plans for Virginia’s Passenger Rail Expansion

New Plans for Virginia’s Passenger Rail Expansion

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) has begun preliminary discussions with Northeast freight operator Norfolk Southern Railways (NS) about alternative ways to expand Virginia’s passenger rail service. Earlier this year, plans were drafted to extend the N-Line...