Title

DENSITY AND CAPTIVITY IN PUBLIC TRANSIT SUCCESS: OBSERVATIONS FROM THE 1995 NATIONWIDE PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION STUDY

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

land use - planning, land use - urban density, place - urban, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Urban areas, Travel behavior, Transit, Public transit, Population density, Planning, Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, Mode share, Modal split, Mass transit, Local transit, Development density, Captive riders

Abstract

The new millennium provides a good time to reflect on transportation-industry trends in some fundamental external factors that influence transportation behavior and planning response. In the public-transit industry, urban density and transit captivity have long been fundamental conditions driving transit planning and service and facility investment decisions. In light of demographic and economic changes, it is useful to revisit the issue of the importance of these factors to the transit market. Findings from a comprehensive analysis of the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), which explored current transit-travel behavior, are reported. Two key findings reflect on two historical axioms in transit: (a) the extent to which density influences transit use and (b) the importance of the transit-dependent market. The research findings reiterate the significant influence that development density has on public transit mode share and bring to light some revealing data on the influence of urban-area size on transit use. The importance of transit dependency on transit use is documented, and trends in transit dependency over the past few decades are revealed. Finally, the implications of these trends for the public-transit industry are discussed.