, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 237–252 | Cite as

Examining the influence of multidestination service orientation on transit service productivity: a multivariate analysis

  • Jeffrey R. BrownEmail author
  • Gregory L. Thompson


Between 1990 and 2000, U.S. transit agencies added service and increased ridership, but the ridership increase failed to keep pace with the service increase. The result was a decline in service effectiveness (or productivity). This marks the continuation of a long-running and often-studied trend. The scholarly literature attributes this phenomenon, at least in part, to transit agency decisions to decentralize their service rather than focus on serving the traditional CBD market. Many scholars argue that a decentralized service orientation is both ineffective and inefficient because it attracts few riders and requires large per-rider subsidies. This research tests whether a non-traditional, decentralized service orientation, called multidestination service, results in reduced service productivity. Contrary to what the literature suggests, we find that MSAs whose transit agencies pursued a multidestination service orientation did not experience lower productivity. These results indicate that policies that have encouraged the growth of decentralized transit services have not necessarily been detrimental to the industry.


Public transit Service orientation Transit productivity Urban decentralization 



We would like to thank the Public Transit Office of the Florida Department of Transportation for their financial support. We would like to thank Rupa Sharma, Samuel Scheib, Clayton MacDonald, and Myungjun Jang for their data collection assistance.


  1. Alam, B.M.: Assessment of the influence of transit accessibility to jobs on the employability of the TANF recipients: the case of Broward County, Florida. Dissertation, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University (2005)Google Scholar
  2. Ferreri, M.G.: Comparative costs. In: Gray, G.E and Hoel L.A. (eds.) Public Transportation, Second Edition. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1992)Google Scholar
  3. Fielding, G.J.: Managing Public Transit Strategically. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (1987)Google Scholar
  4. Florida Department of Transportation, Public Transit Office (FDOT).: Florida Transit Information System, available at (2004)
  5. Hartgen, D.T., Kinnamon, M.L.: Comparative Performance of Major US Bus Transit Systems, 1988–1997, Sixth Edition. Center for Interdisciplinary Transportation Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1999)Google Scholar
  6. Lave, C.: Measuring the decline in transit productivity in the U.S. Transp. Plann. Technol., 15, 115–124 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Meyer, J.R., Gomez-Ibanez, J.A.: Autos, Transit, and Cities. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1981)Google Scholar
  8. Meyer, J., Kain, J.F., Wohl, M.: The Urban Transportation Problem. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1965)Google Scholar
  9. Pickrell, D.H.: Rising deficits and the uses of transit subsidies in the United States. J. Trans. Econ. Policy 19(3), 281–298 (1985)Google Scholar
  10. Pucher, J.: Renaissance of public transport in the United States. Trans. Quart. 56(1), 33–49 (2002)Google Scholar
  11. Pucher, J., Markstedt, A., Hirschman, I.: Impacts of subsidies on the costs of urban public transport. J. Trans. Econ. Policy 17(2), 155–176 (1983)Google Scholar
  12. Taylor, B.D.: Unjust equity: an examination of California’s Transportation Development Act. Trans. Res. Rec. 1297, 85–92 (1991)Google Scholar
  13. Taylor, B.D., Miller, D.: Analyzing the determinants of transit ridership using a two-stage least squares regression on a national sample of urbanized areas. Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (2003)Google Scholar
  14. Thompson, G.L.: Identifying gainers and losers from transit service change: a method applied to Sacramento. J. Plan. Educ. Res. 17, 125–136 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Thompson, G.L., Brown, J.R, Sharma, R., Scheib, S.: Where transit use is growing: surprising results. J. Publ. Trans. 9(2), 25–43 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. Thompson, G.L., Matoff, T.G.: Keeping up with the Joneses: planning for transit in decentralizing regions. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 69(3), 296–312 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA): The Status of the Nation’s Local Mass Transportation: Performance and Conditions. Report of the Secretary of Transportation to the U.S. Congress Pursuant to Section 310, Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1987. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC (1987)Google Scholar
  18. US Bureau of Economic Analysis.: Employment by MSA, available at (2006)
  19. US Bureau of Labor Statistics.: Tabulation of Unemployment Rates from the Current Population Survey, available at: (2000)
  20. US Bureau of Labor Statistics.: Consumer Price Index, available at (2005)
  21. US Census Bureau.: Census of Retail Trade, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1982)Google Scholar
  22. US Census Bureau.: Decennial Census of Population and Housing, available at (2000a)
  23. US Census Bureau.: Census Transportation Planning Package, Part 3, available from US Bureau of Transportation Statistics website at (2000b)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban and Regional PlanningFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations