Transfer Behavior and Off-Peak Commutes

Principal Investigator(s):

Alireza Khani, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

As a public service in US urban regions, transit is distributed in a wide geographical area and in a large time span, making direct routes between many origins and destinations unlikely. In the Twin Cities, about one out of four riders make a transfer during their transit trip. It is believed that the introduction of fast, frequent, and reliable transitway services--light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT)--encourages more transfers and/or attracts more rides during off-peak times when express bus service is less available. Therefore, to further improve route connections and to promote more off-peak transit trips, research is needed on travel behavior of riders during off-peak hours.

Most transit rider behavior studies in the literature are focused on peak period trips that are mostly connected to offices or colleges/universities. Many of the peak transit trips are taken to avoid congestion and can contribute to the reduction of vehicular traffic. Studies show that a bigger share of the peak trips are made by white, college-educated, higher-income people than the off-peak trips. Many of the off-peak trips may be essential trips to service jobs, shopping, medical appointments, childcare, and other family responsibilities. These off-peak trips, according to studies, are more attributed to women, people of color, and lower-income people. Providing better off-peak transit service would not only increase ridership and revenue but could also serve more trips from these minority groups. It is crucial to understand the travel needs and behavior of people making off-peak transit trips to advance the efficiency and equity of transit service. Researchers will investigate the characteristics of off-peak transit trips and compare it with that of peak trips. Differences between peak and off-peak travel markets will be identified, and off-peak transfer behavior will be analyzed. Expected findings will shed light on how well the existing service matches with travel behavior and how bus route connections with transitways may be enhanced.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2022011
  • Start date: 07/2021
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Equity, Transit planning