Should Transit Serve the CBD or a Diverse Array of Destinations?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, planning - network design, planning - route design, ridership - drivers, place - north america


transit, connection to employment, connection to population, ridership growth, CBD


This analysis seeks to understand the relative efficacy of two classes of policies intended to increase the ridership and productivity of public transit service. One seeks to improve transit effectiveness by freezing transit service in the older parts of metropolitan areas, such as the CBD and surrounding dense neighborhoods, where growth is to be directed. The other seeks to connect employment and population, wherever it locates, as directly as possible by transit routes. The case study compares transit performance in two regions that pursue these two service approaches. The analysis shows that the transit system that seeks to serve all jobs carries almost 400 percent more ridership per capita than does the transit system that seeks to serve primarily CBD jobs, while each bus mile operated in the dispersed transit system carries about 35 percent more passengers than each bus mile in the CBD-focused transit system.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by NCTR, copyright remains with them.