TCRP Projects: Declines in Transit Ridership: Analysis of Recent Trends

Even before COVID-19, and despite population growth and stable employment, U.S. transit ridership declined in a confounding pattern not seen in other countries. This article presents highlights from TCRP Research Report 209: Analysis of Recent Public Transit Ridership Trends and TCRP Project A-43, an ongoing project that employs a two-phase approach to consider changes at system, route, and stop levels. In Phase 1 of Project A-43 researchers determined that the four main sources of net transit ridership decline between 2012 and 2018 were: income and household characteristics changed, bus and rail travel became more expensive, driving became less expensive, and new modes competed with bus and rail. Phase 2 analyzed the change in route- and stop-level transit ridership data for a handful of cities. These case studies uncovered several key points: transit should be given priority, agencies should get creative with fare policies and prices, micromobility has limited impacts on transit ridership, and transit ridership was peaking. The article concludes with a discussion of possible longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on future transit ridership.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 32-37
  • Serial:
    • TR News
    • Issue Number: 332
    • Publisher: Transportation Research Board
    • ISSN: 0738-6826

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01773686
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 3 2021 9:21AM