Pandemic Complicates Transit Project Ridership Predictions, GAO

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
GAO reviewed eight projects funded by FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program. Two reported that actual ridership was about 30% lower than predicted “due to overly optimistic travel model assumptions.” According to all eight project sponsors, “transit ridership declined precipitously at the start of the pandemic. In most cases, recovery has been slow. Sponsors said they expect ridership to continue to be lower than pre-pandemic levels, given the current trend of remote work.”

GAO reviewed eight projects funded by FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program. Two reported that actual ridership was about 30% lower than predicted “due to overly optimistic travel model assumptions.” According to all eight project sponsors, “transit ridership declined precipitously at the start of the pandemic. In most cases, recovery has been slow. Sponsors said they expect ridership to continue to be lower than pre-pandemic levels, given the current trend of remote work.”

For projects funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants program, predicting ridership has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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