Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Engineering Science

Major Professor

Steven Polzin, Ph.D.


Demographic, Distribution, Mode, Ridership, Transit, Trip, Accessibility


Understanding transit usage has become a critical transportation research interest and policy goal. This thesis presents results of an analysis of the 2001 NHTS data specifically focusing on the newly released appended variables that measure access or distance to public transportation. Statistically significant public transportation distance intervals from households and individuals were chosen for analysis in relation to other key variables in the original dataset. Actual relationships between public transportation and traditional household and person characteristics nationwide are explored, specifically focusing on both rail and bus transit modes for the work commute trip. Geographically, both inclusions and exclusions in analysis are conducted due to the widely accepted ubiquitous transit network present in the NY region.

The analysis reveals strong differences in household and workplace access to transit as a function of race, income, auto ownership, and urban area size. Additionally, a very high sensitivity to access exists suggesting that the share of transit accessible trips is smaller than previously acknowledged. Approximately 53 percent of households are within aviimile of bus service and 40 percent within a quarter-mile. Approximately 10 percent of the population lives within one mile of rail. Over 50 percent of workplaces are within a quarter mile walk radius of a bus line. Not surprisingly, work is more closely concentrated near transit than are residences. Furthermore, mode share for transit declines approximately two thirds beyond the first interval beyond 0.15 miles from a bus route.

These observations imply a high value to services in close proximity to residential areas.Historical work in this topic area include geographically specific data analysis obtained from surveys which potentially allow a degree of subjectivity in perceived responses whereas accessibility and distance data analyzed in this thesis are actual and spatially measured. Additionally, a regression model exploring the significance of actual access to transit upon mode choice is performed to explore the significance of influence by measured access variables. The analysis suggests that access is even more critical than might have previously been acknowledged by the transit planning profession.