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Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2004 Conditions and Performance
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Chapter 14 Executive Summary

The Importance of Transit

Transit enhances the quality of life of the American people. It offers basic mobility to people who either do not own or have access to a car, convenient and efficient mobility to people who live and work in densely populated areas where travel by car does not make sense, and competitive travel times and reduced road congestion for people traveling to and from work along major transportation corridors in large metropolitan areas. Chapter 14 draws on two surveys of transit riders—The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), a national survey, and the Transit Performance Monitoring System (TPMS) a snapshot of smaller systems with more transit-dependent riders.

The NHTS found that 44 percent of nationwide transit riders come from households without cars; TPMS found that 70 percent of trips were made by riders from households without cars. Getting to and from work accounts for the highest percentage of transit trips. Transit also is used to obtain educational, medical, personal business, and recreational services. The following pie chart shows shares of mobility, location efficiency, competitive travel time, and reduced congestion benefits provided by transit to TPMS riders. In many cases, trips provide more than one benefit. Transit also provides environmental and other benefits not captured by onboard passenger surveys.

The benefits of transit. Pie chart in five segments. Mobility accounts for 13 percent, mobility and competitive travel time/reduced congestion accounts for 23 percent, competitive travel time/reduced congestion accounts for 18 percent, location efficiency and competitive travel time/reduced congestion accounts for 11 percent, and location efficiency/mobility accounts for 35 percent.
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