Heterogeneity in Activity-travel Patterns of Public Transit Users: An Application of Latent Class Analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - surveys, planning - methods, planning - service improvement, planning - marketing/promotion, ridership - behaviour


Public transit, Tours, Activity-travel pattern, Pattern classification, Latent class analysis, NHTS


Public transit is considered a sustainable mode of transport that can address automobile dependency and provide environmental, economic, and societal benefits. However, with typical temporal and spatial constraints such as fixed routes and schedules, transfer requirements, waiting times, and access/egress issues, public transit offers lower accessibility and mobility services than private vehicles and thus it is considered a less attractive mode to many prospective users. To improve the performance of transit and in turn to increase its usage, a broader understanding of the daily activity-travel patterns of transit users is fundamental. In this context, this study analyzed transit-based activity-travel patterns by classifying users via Latent Class Analysis (LCA). Using data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey, the LCA model suggested that transit users could be split into five distinct classes where each class has a representative activity-travel pattern. Class 1 constituted employed white males who made transit-dominant simple work tours. Class 2 was composed of employed white females who made complex work tours. Employed white millennials comprised Class 3 and made multimodal complex tours. Transit Class 4 were non-white younger or older adult groups who made transit-dominant simple non-work tours. Last, Class 5 members made complex non-work tours with recurrent transit use and comprised single older women. This study provided insights regarding the variations of activity-travel patterns and the associated market segments of transit users in the United States. The results can assist transit agencies in identifying transit user groups with particular activity patterns and to consider market strategies that can address their travel needs.


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


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