Growing the Immigrant Transit Market: Public Transit Use and California Immigrants

Relatively little academic scholarship has examined the effects of immigration on public transit. This is surprising considering that immigrants, particularly recent immigrants, are more reliant on public transit than non-immigrants and that in many states immigrants comprise a large share of transit riders. In California, eight percent of immigrants commute by public transit and nearly 50 percent of transit commuters are foreign-born. In this study, we use data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Public Use Microdata Sample of the U.S. Census to examine trends in transit commuting in California and the role of immigrants in bolstering transit ridership. We then use census-tract level data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses to examine the role of immigrants in predicting geographic variation in transit commuting controlling for other factors that influence transit use. Combined these analyses highlight the critical role of immigrants in maintaining transit ridership as well as in more accurately predicting rates of transit use. We conclude by offering policy suggestions for better serving the transportation needs of California’s rising immigrant population and growing the immigrant transit market.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044346
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-1678
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 6:21PM