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Understanding Transit Ridership Demand for a Multi-Destination, Multimodal Transit Network in an American Metropolitan Area: Lessons for Increasing Choice Ridership While Maintaining Transit Dependent Ridership

January 19, 2012 Comments off

Understanding Transit Ridership Demand for a Multi-Destination, Multimodal Transit Network in an American Metropolitan Area: Lessons for Increasing Choice Ridership While Maintaining Transit Dependent Ridership
Source: Mineta Transportation Institute

This study examines the factors underlying transit demand in the multi-destination, integrated bus and rail transit network for Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta provides an opportunity to explore the consequences of a multi-destination transit network for bus patrons (largely transit-dependent riders) and rail patrons (who disproportionately illustrate choice rider characteristics). Using data obtained from the 2000 Census, coupled with data obtained from local and regional organizations in the Atlanta metropolitan area, we estimate several statistical models that explain the pattern of transit commute trips across the Atlanta metropolitan area.

The models show that bus riders and rail riders are different, with bus riders exhibiting more transit-dependent characteristics and rail riders more choice rider characteristics. However, both types of riders value many of the same attributes of transit service quality (including shorter access and egress times and more direct trips) and their use of transit is influenced by many of the same variables (including population and employment). At the same time, the factors that influence transit demand vary depending on the type of travel destination the rider wishes to reach, including whether it is the central business district (CBD) or a more auto-oriented, suburban destination.

The results of the study offer new insights into the nature of transit demand in a multi-destination transit system and provide lessons for agencies seeking to increase ridership among different ridership groups. The results suggest that more direct transit connections to dispersed employment centers, and easier transfers to access such destinations, will lead to higher levels of transit use for both transit-dependent and choice riders. The results also show that the CBD remains an important transit destination for rail riders but not for their bus rider counterparts. Certain types of transit-oriented development (TOD) also serve as significant producers and attractors of rail transit trips.

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What Do Americans Think About Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results From Year 2 of a National Survey

June 30, 2011 Comments off

What Do Americans Think About Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results From Year 2 of a National Survey
Source: Mineta Transportation Institute

This report summarizes the results of a national random-digit-dial public opinion poll that asked 1,516 respondents if they would support various tax options for raising federal transportation revenues. The 11 specific tax options tested were variations on raising the federal gas tax rate, creating a new mileage tax, and creating a new federal sales tax. In addition, the survey collected standard socio-demographic data, some minimal travel behavior data, and attitudinal data about how respondents view the quality of their local transportation system and their priorities for government spending on transportation in their state. All of this information is used to assess support levels for the tax options among different population subgroups.

The survey results show that a majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 62% of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 24% if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system. Other variants on a gas tax that received at least 50% support were increases of 10¢ per gallon with the revenues dedicated either to projects reducing accidents and improving safety or projects to “add more modern, technologically advanced systems.” For tax options where the revenues were to be spent for undefined transportation purposes, support levels varied considerably by what kind of tax would be imposed, with a sales tax much more popular than either a gas tax increase or a new mileage tax.

A central goal of the survey was to compare public support for two alternative versions of a new mileage tax and eight versions of a gas tax increase. All variations on the two taxes increased support over that for the base case of each (a flat-rate mileage tax of 1¢ per mile and a 10¢ gas tax increase proposed without any additional detail). For example, varying the mileage tax by the vehicle’s pollution level increased support by 14 percentage points. For the gas tax, most notably, dedicating the tax proceeds to maintaining streets, roads, and highways increased support by 38 percentage points.

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