Long-Term Trends in Patron Satisfaction of DC Circulator


The DC Circulator is a local transit system designed to facilitate travel to and within the central business area in the District of Columbia. Since its inception in 2005, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (DCBID) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) have been conducting surveys to assess patron trends and feedback, including their satisfaction with the services provided. The Circulator routes provide access from fringe areas to Metro rail and bus services. The Circulator was formed as a public-private enterprise that involves the DDOT, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) and DC Surface Transit, Inc. As part of its performance management program, DCBID conducted surveys of patrons during summers over the seven year period of 2005-2011. Although the data provided snapshots of consumer opinion and feedback, there was no analysis to examine how the observed variables changed over the years. In addition, the scope of the data collection was not intended to provide information for determining whether there were seasonal variations in patron perception of the quality of service. This study provides some of the trends in patron feedback and perception of the quality of service of DC Circulator using survey data compiled over the seven-year period, in addition to data collected by the research team in summer and fall of 2012. This report also presents seasonal variations (over summer and fall) in the perception of quality of service.



Dr. Noel is a tenured full professor and Chair (2000-2010) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Howard University, Director of the Howard University Traffic Safety and Transportation Data Center, and Director for transit research conducted by Howard University as a member of the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in traffic and highway engineering, project management, and engineering systems analysis, and has been continuously involved as principal investigator on numerous sponsored research projects as faculty and as a consultant. In recent years his research focus has been in applied research for solving urban transportation problems. In parallel with his responsibilities at Howard University, he has more than 40 years of professional engineering experience, especially in the field of highway engineering, traffic engineering, and transportation research. He is a member of ITE, ASCE, TRB and ASEE and has an outstanding record of published articles. Since 1998 his research involved urban transit operation and safety, management of snow removal using intelligent transportation technologies, pavement ride quality and condition monitoring, traffic-induced vibration, innovations in countdown traffic signals. Additional research interests include pre-emption signal systems for buses and emergency vehicles, mitigation of reflective cracking in composite highway pavements, policy on truck weight enforcement, red-light violation index, and standards for red traffic signal installation.


Dr. Arhin is the Associate Director of the Howard University Transportation Research and Traffic Safety Data Center (HUTRC), and also the Associate Director of the Transit research conducted by Howard University as a member of the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. He has over 18 years of experience in all facets of transportation and traffic safety engineering that include traffic safety and operations, research, planning, transit operations and ITS. He has extensive experience working with state and local transportation agencies on a wide variety of safety, operations, and design projects. Prior to his tenure at HUTRC, he was a Senior Traffic Engineer with a number of nationally-recognized engineering consulting firms. Dr. Arhin has co-authored several project reports and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences which involved countdown pedestrian traffic signals, intelligent transportation technologies, pavement condition monitoring, crash data analysis, traffic volume trends, mitigation of reflective cracking in composite highway pavements, truck weight enforcement and red-light violation index. He is a member of ITE, TRB and ASCE and serves as a peer reviewer for several journals.


Ms. Janet Thomas is the Program Manager for the Howard University Transportation Research and Safety Data Center (HUTRC) and a University of Pittsburgh Alumnus. Ms. Thomas has more than 25 years of experience which includes but is not limited to Program Management, Project Management, Process Management, QA/QC, Information Technology Management, Proposal Development, Budget Management, Data Analysis and Report Writing. Ms. Thomas is a certified Six Sigma Greenbelt, currently a member of the Project Management Institute and preparing to write the PMI exam. She has work experience in the fields of Computer Manufacturing, Government, Auto Manufacturing and Education to her credit and has written or provided support for various project reports, operation manuals, standard operating procedures, statements of work, project proposals and technical and business processes.


October 2013


Circulator bus service
Transit patron survey
Downtown circulator