Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices. Topic SA-42. College Student Transit Pass Programs

Many transit agencies currently have student pass programs with colleges and universities. These programs have very different funding, fare and operating structures, and student demographics. Compiling information on these programs would be very useful for all transit agencies who are currently serving college student populations or who desire to serve these populations in the future. This synthesis study will assist transit agencies, universities and communities with the development and/or evaluation of their college student transit pass program. It will focus on the relationship established between transit systems and the universities and colleges, and will document current state of the practice. Information to be gathered will include (1) History: What works, what does not work? Successful and unsuccessful programs; (2) Fare and revenue structure: How is the program financed? Any innovative funding mechanisms? What is the financial impact of the program to the transit agency and to the school? Student referendum and the voting process (part of student fees); Pricing structures (e.g. free, discounted, subsidies, per ride solutions, etc.); (3) Technology: How has technology been employed in implementing the program, including fare media, apps and real time information. Understanding the complications of reporting (number of active users, origin-destination (OD), etc.); Integration strategies (e.g. dual purpose student ID cards, stickers, etc.); (4) Legal and political environment: Who was the advocate or initiator of the program? Title VI (Fare equity, paratransit issues and confidentiality, etc.); Regulatory barriers ( e.g. MPO considerations, NTD reporting, etc.); Politics of campus administration; (5) Design and implementation: What are the operational features of the program? Time periods covered; Routes; Eligibility; Does it coordinate with a campus bus system? How are the passes administered on campus? Is there verification of eligibility? Post-graduation transitional programs; Goals and performance measures. (6) Impacts: Levels of ridership; Levels of service ( hours, routes and headways); What benefits and/or challenges are reported by funders, by users and by transit agencies? What modal shifts have occurred due to the program? Are there documented reductions in parking and traffic congestion? Data available for evaluation (trip purposes, OD surveys, etc.). Information will be gathered by literature review and a survey of selected urban regional and geographically diverse, large, medium and small transit agencies with college student transit pass programs, and with the colleges using these programs. At least five case write-ups representing different models of programs balanced by system size and geography will be developed. The final report will document gaps in knowledge and research needs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-07, Topic SA-42

  • 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:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    Milwaukee, WI  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Yu, Jie

  • Start Date: 20160920
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40898

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01601669
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-07, Topic SA-42
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 4 2016 1:00AM