Hunter, Michael P.

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    Demographic Breakdown of Transit Rider Satisfaction
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-10) Mers, Bianca ; Watkins, Kari E. ; Hunter, Michael P.
    With ridership declining nationally and transit agencies looking for innovative ways to maintain and attract riders, a more complex understanding of transit riders and their satisfaction could provide additional insight and guidance to benefit the future of transit. This study challenged the traditional captive versus choice rider dichotomy and indicates the need for a more nuanced breakdown of transit riders based on the attributes most important to them. To conduct the analysis, the authors obtained rider survey data from nine agencies across the United States from varying geographic regions and representing various agency sizes. Agencies were selected based on their intentional use of demographic classifications and questions about satisfaction with various aspects of transit service. The authors then applied ordered logit regression across the 18,544 rider survey responses to predict the relative importance of service attributes on overall satisfaction. The findings suggested that different classifications of riders by gender, race, and income yielded diverse priorities, although certain service aspects such as reliability were important across demographics. In addition to the findings from the regression analysis, this study also offers a series of recommendations to facilitate future investigations by using more consistent, standardized data to further the breadth and depth of national transit rider analyses.