The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has teamed with Transit app to track demand for public transit and publish week-by-week estimates of ridership change for agencies across the U.S.
Transit agencies, which have relied on monthly or quarterly reporting, can use the new APTA Ridership Trends dashboard as another way to gather data to help make service-level decisions during the pandemic. They can follow up-to-date ridership trends and benchmark against their peers, APTA reported.
How does the dashboard work? The partners explained it this way:
“The percentages displayed in this dashboard represent the percent difference between actual pre-pandemic ridership and estimated ridership for a given period during the pandemic.
“The pre-pandemic numbers we use to calculate this percentage are actual ridership figures reported by agencies for the corresponding period from the year February 2019 to February 2020.
“Estimated values for each week are statistically modeled based on measures of Transit app usage, and do not represent actual reported ridership counts from agencies. App usage is attributed to a particular transit agency if that agency’s service appears as a nearby option for the user when they open the app.
“Transit app usage statistics count the frequency of how often the app is opened, providing a measure of demand for public transit, and take into account additional factors such as regional trends and current severity of the pandemic.”
The partners said Transit’s team also analyzes route-level and system-wide origin-destination data to provide up-to-date information about rider demand in the dashboard.
According to Transit, surveys have shown the demographics of its users to be “broadly reflective of public transit ridership at large in the United States, including during the pandemic. The company has provided a real-time tracker of public transit demand on its website since the start of the pandemic, and found its demand indicators to track closely with actual ridership statistics.”
“The number of people using our app for transit information is a great barometer for estimating overall ridership in near real time,” Transit Chief Business Officer David Block-Schachter said. “Together with APTA, we’ve been able to refine this data to provide insights to the entire industry.”
“Agencies around the country need up-to-date information to help them make critical business decisions during this unprecedented pandemic,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas noted. “This new partnership will benefit our members and riders all around the nation.”