Quick-Response Research on Long-Term Strategic Issues. Task 49. Strategies to Increase Transit Ridership in the Post-Pandemic Era

Public transportation ridership in the United States declined precipitously in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. While transit ridership has recovered nationally to about 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, recovery has varied across transit agencies by size and mode. Transit systems are experiencing changed ridership patterns, in part because many former passengers work remotely or have hybrid work schedules that do not involve transit use five days per week. Transit agencies throughout the United States are reassessing past practices and considering how they might change or adapt to better serve their communities. Many are experimenting with strategies and innovations to increase transit ridership by reshaping transit services in the near- and long-term through changes in current services, new service models, pricing and payment systems, communication, and other approaches. This project is challenging because (1) it is being conducted at a time of great urgency for U.S. transit agencies that want higher ridership and continued relevance, and (2) the scope of the problem is significant, complex, and evolving. Researchers should leverage relevant literature and the recent experiences of transit agencies that have initiated strategies and innovations to increase transit ridership. They should also identify future research and additional strategies beyond the project’s scope and budget to increase transit ridership and transit’s value to communities. The objectives of this project are to (1) present cost-effective and evidence-based strategies and innovations to achieve increases in transit ridership in the post-pandemic era at transit agencies of different sizes and modes located in communities with different attributes throughout the United States and (2) identify research needs and strategies beyond the project budget that will help transit agencies increase transit ridership and the value of transit services to their community. The project should consider the following questions: (1) What aspects of travel have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic that significantly affect transit ridership? (2) How will different strategies that are intended to increase transit ridership affect different constituencies? (3) What barriers exist to implementing specific strategies and innovations to increase transit ridership? How can these barriers be overcome? (4) What data, methods, and metrics are needed to develop strategies to support increases in transit ridership in the near- and long-term that address community needs? (5) How can transit agencies change their messaging to the community (e.g., current and prospective riders and decision-makers) to better communicate the value of transit services?


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $150000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-11, Task 49

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Start Date: 20241201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01902064
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-11, Task 49
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2023 1:17PM