Identifying Massachusetts’ Core Transit Riders Using Household Travel Survey Data

In order to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion, many local and regional stakeholders are working to maintain and accelerate ridership gains within urban public transportation systems. Strategies to increase ridership usually begin with a market analysis that identifies segments of the population that do not currently use transit but which might be amenable to using it. Known as choice riders, these residents have multiple options when it comes to travel – often including their own car and – in contrast to ‘captive’ riders who are seen as transit-dependent. Meanwhile, relatively little effort has been made to understand who consistent users of transit are, a subset the authors refer to as core riders. Core riders are members of population groups whose transit market share exceeds what should otherwise be expected given their share in the larger population. Previous literature has shown that specific population groups are more likely to use transit than others, regardless of vehicle availability. But these groups are not necessarily viewed as a desirable market segment from which to grow future ridership. Approaching transit planning from a market share rather than mode share perspective, however, reveals that core riders are a public transit agency’s most probable and plausible pool of users. Few studies or transit market analysis have made efforts to identify specific market segments of core riders as part of a strategy to increase transit ridership. This study uses data from a standard state household travel survey to develop a methodology for understanding and quantifying Massachusetts’ core rider population and provide a better understanding of who the state’s most consistent transit users are in order to assist transit operators in identifying and targeting such core riders as part of efforts to increase ridership.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP025 Public Transportation Planning and Development.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Williams, Elizabeth
    • Dietrich, Jeff
    • Pollack, Stephanie
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2015


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 94th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01551729
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 15-0520
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2015 11:24AM