Who's on Board 2014: Mobility Attitudes Survey

Who's on Board 2014: Mobility Attitudes Survey

In 2013, advocates, planners, and policymakers were abuzz with the 10.7 billion rides taken on transit, an all-time U.S. record. Yet the discussion focused too much on the sheer number of rides, without a deep look at the riders themselves, and particularly the changing attitudes that are propelling recent ridership increases. TransitCenter commissioned a survey to take that deeper look. We now have a snapshot into perceptions of transit and neighborhoods in 2014. As Millennials take center stage in American life and the Baby Boom generation confronts retirement, both the transit and real estate industries will have to adjust.

Key findings

The most important factors in determining whether someone is at least an occasional transit user are: high population density of home neighborhood (positive effect), being employed or a student (positive effect), being an ethnic minority (positive effect), high-quality local transit (positive effect), high income (negative effect).

Education level and the presence of children in the home do not appear to have a strong association with transit use either way when the other variables are controlled for. This suggests that despite high rates of transit use in college, most former students do not continue to ride transit after that experience. People with kids, meanwhile, may be just as willing as others to take transit when it is available in their neighborhoods.

Factors that generally draw people to public transportation include travel time, reliability, and cost. They appear to be more important than features like Wi-Fi. Additionally, "people who are offered pretax transit commuter benefits by their employers are over five times as likely to take transit regularly as employed persons who are not receiving benefits.

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