How Do People Perceive Service Attributes at Transit Facilities? An Examination of Perceptions of Transit Service by Transit User Demographics and Tri

Iseki, Hiroyuki and Mike Smart

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Given the well-known fact that transit users perceive out-of-vehicle travel (walking, waiting, and transferring) as more onerous than in-vehicle travel, understanding what makes travelers’ perceptions of the out-of-vehicle travel experience better is important for transit planners who seek to make public transit more attractive. Original survey data collected from 2,122 transit users regarding their perceptions of various attributes of service at 36 transit stops and stations in California were used to examine which attributes are important to transit users, as well as their satisfaction levels with each attribute, and to ascertain the relative needs for improvement of these attributes. The paper also examines how different sets of attributes that determine overall satisfaction vary by transit users’ trip characteristics and demographics, such as age, sex, income level, race and ethnicity, auto availability, mode of travel, and frequency of transit use. In a series of ordered logit regression analyses, satisfaction levels for safety- and access-related variables were found to be more aligned with overall user satisfaction than were information- and reliability-related attributes and amenities. A similar result was found for various subpopulations—men, those making less than $15,000 per year, frequent riders, commuters, and those with an alternative mode of travel—but not for others. The analysis indicates that while safety is certainly the number-one priority for all transit users, travelers with different backgrounds on different modes of transit have different priorities for services and attributes to improve their transit experience.