Sustainable transport choices in public transit access: Travel behavior differences between university students and other young adults

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - tram/light rail, mode - car, mode - pedestrian, ridership - young people, ridership - behaviour, land use - impacts, policy - sustainable


University students, sustainable modes, public transit, young adults, travel behavior


This research investigates the socioeconomic and travel characteristics of student transit users in comparison to other young adults and quantifies behavioral differences in public transit access between these two population groups. Using data from a 2015 system-wide on-board survey in the Denver-Aurora region, CO, we seek to understand whether college and university students make more environmentally sustainable choices when accessing bus and light rail transit as well as identify the determinants of their choices. Our results indicate that student transit riders live in larger households with more vehicles per household member and are located substantially farther from the city center and the light rail compared to other young adults. The majority of student light rail users drive alone to light rail stations and typically do not park at the station that is the closest to their home. On the other hand, most other young adults walk to light rail stations. We also find that travel time and vehicle ownership per household member have a significantly lower impact on student choices. The identified travel differences and behavioral variations between the two population groups may be associated with the lack of affordable housing for students in the central and transit-rich neighborhoods of large metropolitan areas.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.