Investigating the Effects of Public Transit Service Changes Using Access to Opportunities and Revealed Behavior Measures

Public transit system performance continues to be of interest to practitioners and academics, especially in the context of reduced budgets and declining ridership. Increasing data availability and analytical capacity are both changing possibilities for performance assessment, yet most commercially available tools and academic studies rely almost exclusively on “access to opportunities” measures that reflect changes in the number of opportunities that can be reached from origin locations across a system. These measures miss how current transit users are affected by proposed changes. User benefits approaches, on the other hand, are similar in spirit to those required by the Federal Transit Administration in the assessment of fare and service changes and explicitly consider impacts on those who live near or who currently use transit. In this paper, we explicitly compare access to opportunities and user benefits approaches in the context of a major bus system redesign undertaken by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (Houston METRO). The analysis focuses on the equity implications of the service change and compares impacts across racial and ethnic groups. The results demonstrate how publicly available data, including the Census Transportation Planning Package, can be used to prepare estimates of user benefits. In this case, both types of measures demonstrated similar equity-related implications of the service change, but the user benefits approach focuses attention to particular locations in the region that might bear the brunt of the impacts.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABE30 Standing Committee on Transportation Issues in Major Cities.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Karner, Alex
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698331
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-03126
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:52AM