, Lecturer, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
This research identified ways to encourage transit use during roadway construction projects and retain riders after projects are complete. During the Duluth Megaproject highway construction project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Duluth Transit Authority used the opportunity to entice travelers to use transit. Additional trips, park and rides, and dedicated bus lanes were added, free fares were implemented, and a major promotional effort was undertaken to let travelers know about these enhanced options. Surveys of transit riders found that these efforts helped attract riders. Surveys also looked at what factors were important for keeping riders on transit once highway construction ended. This research found that less than 15 percent of transit riders changed their behavior within two years. It appears that once travelers change to transit, they continue to use transit as long as it is a reasonable option. And increasing fares to normal levels did not
create a significant incentive to stop using transit.