TransLoc’s Transit Value Index uncovers new demands from U.S. public transit riders

Aug. 26, 2021
TransLoc says Americans are eager to get back on public transportation, and want investments in rider experience, reliability and sustainability.

According to a new survey from TransLoc, public transit was the top transportation method before the pandemic (46 percent) and will maintain this ranking in the months to come (36 percent). 

Data collected for the Transit Value Index was sourced from 1,200 working U.S. adults (ages 18 and older) who currently use transit and/or regularly used transit before the pandemic to understand new behaviors and expectations for post-pandemic ridership.  

Before the pandemic, three in four riders used public transit at least two days per week (74 percent) and the majority expect to use it as frequently once their area is completely reopened (72 percent). 

While Americans are eager to get back on the road, they want changes from agencies to restore their confidence in using public vehicles. The number one improvement respondents want to see are new apps or technology to enhance the rider experience (74 percent). Additionally, Americans want transit agencies to immediately prioritize investments in improving public vehicles’ on-time performance (62 percent). 

“The pandemic challenged our ability to move freely. Now as communities start to reopen and residents get back to their routines, we’re forced to navigate our new world with different transportation demands,” said Brett Wheatley, CEO of TransLoc. “We’re working closely with transit agencies across the country to deliver on these demands and provide Americans with the freedom of mobility.” 

Other findings include: 

  • Americans look forward to their daily work commute. Most U.S. riders have already started commuting to work (56 percent) or they plan to do so in the next six months (23 percent). Two in three (65 percent) enjoy their ride to work with the top reason being it provides time to decompress (86 percent).   
  • New cleanliness concerns could push some transit riders to cars. Personal vehicles or carpooling will see the biggest increase in post-pandemic usage (25 percent, as compared to 17 percent pre-pandemic) due to health concerns. Most U.S. transit riders express concerns about catching an illness on transit (71 percent) and say they would use transit more often if there were new safety protocols that keep vehicles clean and prevent overcrowding (73 percent). 
  • Sustainable transportation is important to riders. Within the next year, roughly half of transit riders think their local transit agencies should implement more sustainable practices (52 percent) and invest in electric vehicles (EVs) (45 percent). Most believe EVs will improve public transit (70 percent) and more than half say the top benefit will be reduced carbon emissions (56 percent). 
  • Transit riders are ready to experiment with self-driving vehicles. Most would use an autonomous bus or shuttle if their local agency launched one tomorrow (71 percent) and three in five say self-driving technology will improve public transit (60 percent). Riders say the biggest benefits of autonomous transit will be improving timeliness of vehicles (49 percent) and enhancing the experience with connected technolgy features (31 percent). 

To download the Transit Value Index, visit