Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - mode choice, mode - bus, mode - rail


Travel time, Transit riders, Stated preferences, Ridership, Revealed preferences, Rail transit, Patronage (Transit ridership), Mode choice, Modal choice, Level of service, Journey time, Intracity bus transportation, Costs, Choice of transportation, Case studies, Bus transit


It is often assumed that rail systems are inherently more attractive than bus systems, but the problem of ridership attraction of rail versus bus has been discussed primarily in qualitative rather than quantitative terms. This study uses data from two case studies to analyze whether there is evidence indicating a significant preference for rail over bus service. If such a preference exists, the purpose of this study is to learn about transit service characteristics that affect it and cause it to vary from one situation to another. Models of choice among alternative travel modes are estimated using revealed preference data and stated preference data. Results suggest that there is no evident preference for rail travel over bus when quantifiable service characteristics such as travel time and cost are equal, but a bias does arise when rail travel offers a higher quality service. These findings imply that the introduction of a rail preference bias is not justified in a mode choice model which is employed to analyze alternative transit services including both rail and high quality express bus service.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X