Central Business Districts and Transit Ridership: A Reexamination of the Relationship in the U. S.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, ridership - drivers, place - north america


transit ridership, CBD, United States


Many scholars claim that public transit’s long-term ridership decline can be attributed to the decentralization of U.S. metropolitan areas and the decline of the central business district (CBD) as their primary economic engine. However, recent research has begun to challenge this view and has prompted this reexamination. Using multivariate analysis, we examine the relationship between the strength of the CBD and transit ridership in all U.S. metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 persons in 2000, while controlling for other factors thought to influence bus and rail transit ridership. We find no relationship between the strength of the CBD and transit ridership, which suggests that other factors are much more important contributors to transit ridership.


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