Consideration of the social status of transit user groups as something more than a marketing characteristics leads to discussion of the workability of certain basic transit planning goals and means. Distribution and maintenance of the quality of a resource (transportation) are viewed as functions of primary user group status, altruism, and power of the controlling agency. Race and sex are basic social status variables. Four user groups are examined-white and nonwhite males and females. Travel behavior and attitude data are presented from the 1960 and 1970 censuses for 11 cities and from a home-interview survey conducted in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1973 (N = 548). Census data show that increasing proportions of minorities use transit over the period of general decline of transit systems. Also shown is the high level of dependence on this declining- quality transit system by the lowest status users. The Trenton attitude and behavior data show that improvements in transit are likely to draw only low-status users and that their increasing presence might further discourage use by high-status travelers. Furthermore, only direct restrictions on automobile use are likely to turn high-status travelers to transit. The uncomfortable conclusion of this analysis of planning ends and means is that planning to provide a system primarily for those without alternative or placing faith in being able to attract riders to transit by dealing only with transit system attributes is shortsighted. To be successful over the long term, a system must be substantially used by high- status groups who will probably not be users by choice.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 84-94
  • Monograph Title: Social, economic and environmental implications in transportation planning
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00141411
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309024978
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Conf Paper
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Nov 3 1981 12:00AM