Public Transit in America: Results from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys


Market share, Markets, Modal split, National Household Travel Survey, Public transit, Ridership, Transportation modes, Travel behavior, Travel surveys, Trend (Statistics), United States, Utilization


Understanding transit ridership has become a critical research interest and policy goal. This document updates the popular report titled: “Public Transit in America - Evidence from the 1995 National Personal Transportation Survey” with data from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey. This new data provides a unique opportunity to develop a richer understanding of travel behavior and provide a resource to the industry in terms of specific analyses relevant to public transit. It characterizes public transit as it is today from a number of perspectives that are believed to be useful to planners and policy makers and it provides trend data for several critical variables that are important to public transportation. This analysis describes transit travel, users, and markets. Topics analyzed include: trends in demographics, vehicle ownership, and personal travel between 1969 and 2001, transit mode share trends, extent of transferring, trip characteristics, and market penetration. Results are presented in descriptive terms with the authors providing observations and interpretation relevant for a better understanding of transit market shares and transit sub-markets. The report concludes by outlining the challenges and opportunities for transit in light of revealed information about by whom and how transit is being used.