We are excited to debut a new tool that makes it easy for transit advocates, researchers, and journalists to better understand what’s going on with ridership in their region. As part of our new Ridership Initiative, we commissioned Azavea to build an interactive National Ridership Map to explore ridership trends in the country’s largest metropolitan areas.
This map uses American Community Survey (ACS) data and data from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database (NTD), which provides standardized ridership and operational data from all U.S. transit agencies. While NTD data are not granular enough to draw detailed conclusions, the consistency of FTA’s data-collection process enables comparisons among agencies and the exploration of long-term trends. ACS data add an important demographic and socioeconomic layer, which is available at the census tract level when you select a specific metropolitan region. As we often say at TransitCenter, all ridership is local.
We’ve aggregated data to the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level to best facilitate inter-regional comparisons, since transit agency jurisdictions vary widely in scale. Summarizing data at the metropolitan level is still no substitute for detailed local analysis, sensitive to actual transit routes and neighborhood densities and demographics. The Ridership Map also displays data about trends — not current values. Try Data USA for more detailed census analysis, Social Explorer for census data maps, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s (CNT) AllTransit for transit quality statistics and maps.
Nonetheless, there is a lot you can learn just from using the Ridership Map. To provide some concrete examples, here are ridership stories from a few regions:
Chicago region’s bus ridership has plummeted in recent years in part because regional growth has been concentrated at the hub of the region’s hub-and-spoke rail system. Rail ridership rose during the same time period while population and jobs remained roughly stagnant in the region. Elected leaders in any region should be paying attention to what degree transit ridership has been keeping up with population and job growth, especially as more and more cities set targets for increasing the share of trips taken by using active or shared transportation options:
Click here to read the full article: http://transitcenter.org/2017/12/18/a-new-ridership-map-to-explore-transit-trends-locally/