Total factor productivity in transit systems: 1983–1988

Kofi Obeng
Nasir Assar
Julian Benjamin


Performance in single mode bus transit systems is analyzed in this paper. The paper points to two potential problems in using partial productivity and other measures in assessing the performance levels of transit systems. One solution suggested is total factor productivity which is shown to be mathematically related to many of the traditional measures of performance. Next, total factor productivity is determined using data for a sample of single mode bus transit systems. As part of the analysis, a neoclassical cost function is developed which allows for decomposition of total factor productivity among technical change and economies of scale. The major conclusions include growth of total factor productivity of 1.1% per year and technical growth of 1.14% per year. Growth of total factor productivity is attributed to output, the productivities of all inputs and technical change. Policy implications of these findings are examined.