Assessing the Efficiency of Mass Transit Systems in the United States


Frustrated with increased parking problems, unstable gasoline prices, and stifling traffic congestion, a growing number of metropolitan city dwellers consider utilizing the mass transit system. Reflecting this sentiment, a ridership of the mass transit system across the United States has been on the rise for the past several years. A growing demand for the mass transit system, however, necessitates the expansion of service offerings, the improvement of basic infrastructure/routes, and the additional employment of mass transit workers, including drivers and maintenance crews. Such a need requires the optimal allocation of financial and human resources to the mass transit system in times of shrinking budgets and government downsizing. Thus, the public transit authority is faced with the dilemma of “doing more with less.” That is to say, the public transit authority needs to develop a “lean” strategy which can maximize transit services with the minimum expenses. To help the public transit authority develop such a lean strategy, this report identifies the best-in-class practices in the U.S. transit service sector and proposes transit policy guidelines that can best exploit lean principles built upon best-in-class practices.



Dr. Hokey Min is James R. Good Chair in Global Supply Chain Strategy in the Department of Management at the Bowling Green State University. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Management Sciences and Logistics from the Ohio State University. His research interests include global logistics strategy, supply chain security, green supply chains, information technology, mass transit systems, and supply chain modeling. He has published more than 185 articles in various academic journals including Journal of Business Logistics, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Journal of the Operational Research Society, European Journal of Operational Research, Transportation Journal, Transportation Research, and Journal of Transportation Management.


April 2017


Mass transit systems
transit performance metrics
data envelopment analysis
comparative efficiencies
demand response