Investigating the Determining Factors for Transit Travel Demand by Bus Mode in US Metropolitan Statistical Areas

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Investigating the Determining Factors for Transit Travel Demand by Bus Mode in US Metropolitan Statistical Areas


Proper understanding of the nature of the transit travel demand is at the heart of transportation policy making and the success of transit systems. Unfortunately, most of the existing studies have focused on a single or few transit systems or metropolitan areas to analyze the determinants of transit travel demand. This study is an attempt to investigate the determining factors for transit travel demand by bus mode in the United States at Metropolitan Statistical Areas in 2010. The multiple regression results indicate that seven internal factors, which the transit managers and operators have control over, and only one external variable, namely gas price, show to have significant impacts on transit travel demand by bus mode. Transit supply, transit fare, average headway, transit coverage, service intensity, revenue hours, and safety are the contributing internal factors for transit demand by bus. This indicates that the mechanisms to increase the transit ridership patronage are in the hands of the transit authorities, which further indicates that they do not need to depend on outside world to attract more ridership but can do so by adjusting the influential internal factors that are under their control.



Dr. Alam is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning in the Department of Geography & Planning at the University of Toledo, Ohio. His research interests are in public transportation; relationships between urban form, active transport and health outcomes; traffic safety; transport and climate change; and planning in developing countries. He holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, a Master’s in Regional & Rural Development Planning from the Asian Institute of Technology, another Master’s in Civil Engineering from Florida State University, and a PhD in Urban & Regional Planning from Florida State University.


Dr. Nixon is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests are in environmental planning and policy focus on the relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior, particularly with respect to waste management and linkages between transportation and the environment. She holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester in Environmental Management and a PhD in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine.


Qiong Zhang is a transportation planner. She received a Master’s in Geography & Planning from the University of Toledo in 2013.

May 2015
Transit travel demand
Transit supply
External factors
Internal factors



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