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03

Who's on Board: Findings from this Year's Survey

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Should we still classify transit riders on household characteristics like whether or not they own a car? TransitCenter has a new way to identify riders in the latest edition of their 2016 Who’s on Board Survey. Instead of using the terms “choice” and “captive” to classify transit riders, TransitCenter suggests three new user-centric segments:

  1. Occasional: those who use transit infrequently, for various reasons

  2. Commuters: those who take transit regularly, but mostly for work

  3. All-purpose: those who take transit regularly, but for various reasons

Key Takeaway: Greater quality transit leads to more all-purpose riders


Another key concept is the importance of first/last mile connections. Mobile apps, taxi hailing services, and bicycling are all ways to access transit stops. Interestingly, the survey notes over 80% of connections to all-purpose trips are made by riders walking to their chosen stop. 53% of commuters and 57% of occasional.

Key Takeaway: If someone walks to transit, they’re more likely to be a frequent rider. Stations surrounded by housing, retail, and offices will promote all-purpose ridership; Park-and ride stations will serve mostly commuters and occasional riders


Frequency of service, travel time, reliability and facilities are important attributes to riders. And although frequency and trip length represent the largest gaps in satisfaction, reliability (like AVL) and facilities (shelters, safe transit stops) closely follow.

Key Takeaway: Addressing any deficiencies should be at the top of your agency’s list

Want to learn more about the survey? Download it here: https://transitcenter.org/publications/whos-on-board-2016/

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