Redefining transit markets in Oklahoma using the General Transit Feed Specification and the American Community Survey

Authors: Kwangyul Choi*, University of Oklahoma, Han John Park, Rice University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, United States
Keywords: Public transportation, Transit ridership, Oklahoma, General Transit Feed Specification, American Community Survey
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Public transportation can improve social welfare by spurring economic development and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. It can also provide a cost-effective means of transportation. Despite its potential societal benefits, the U.S. transit ridership has declined over the past years, and two major urban transit systems in Oklahoma are not the exception (National Transit Database, 2020). To develop appropriate strategies to increase transit ridership, it is critical to clearly define the transit market of a respective area first. However, most transit studies simply assume the entire region or urbanized areas, instead of the service capture area, as the market for their existing transit services. Focusing on the two urban transit systems—EMBARK and Tulsa Transit—in Oklahoma, this study redefines the actual markets for the transit systems and examines the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of both markets. The set of characteristics is well-known factors in collectively shaping the level of transit ridership, and these characteristics include age, gender, Hispanic origin, race, education attainment, means of transportation to work, employment status, household income, poverty status, tenure, and vehicle availability (Durning & Townsend, 2015; Liu et al., 2016). In this study, we utilize the general transit feed specification (GTFS) to define local transit markets and the American Community Survey (ACS) to summarize the characteristics of communities within the respective service area. The findings of this study will not only provide a more accurate picture of potential transit markets but also allow the comparison of the two transit markets.

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