Planning for Post Pandemic Public Transit

Authors: DRISTI NEOG*, Westfield State University - Westfield, MA, Elham Shekari, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, Jeffrey Brown, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Public transit, post pandemic, transit issues
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The U.S. public transit agency experienced declining ridership in recent years which has prompted serious discussions among scholars and practitioners about the future of transit in this country. And then the pandemic arrived and had a devastating effect on ridership as most of the country entered various stages of lockdown and economic activity came to a virtual standstill. The pandemic’s immediate effects on transit ridership and agency operations were profound and deep. This study examines the short term and potential long-term consequences of the pandemic and its aftermath on transit in the U.S. by considering the experiences of a set of agencies that were doing well before the pandemic arrived. In contrast to the national trend, these agencies, located in a wide variety of settings (urban, suburban, college town) around the country had experienced ridership increases in the year before the pandemic arrived. Using a multiple case study approach that included document reviews, website and public information analyses, and semi-structured phone or video conference interviews with key agency staff, the authors examine the immediate effects of the pandemic on ridership and ridership patterns, agency adjustments to their operating and outreach practices to adapt to the public health situation, and the implications of the pandemic and its effects on longer-term agency planning and operational strategies. The lessons from the study should be of benefit to the transit industry and to others who are interested in public transit issues.

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