Transit agencies around the country measure success in different ways. While many transit agencies look to ridership as a primary measure of success, other agencies define success based on community-specific priorities, like taxpayer value, economic development or customer experience. Here are a few examples we've observed in our partners across the country:
- Taxpayer Value in Sarasota: Sarasota County Area Transit’s Board of Directors wanted to ensure taxpayer value was front of mind during their recent network redesign, motivated by the question: "Are we providing taxpayers with the best possible options?" Their focus on taxpayer value ensured SCAT’s future network would prioritize the most efficient modes while delivering customers greater choice and flexibility. SCAT will implement an innovative mobility service this spring, designed to provide customers greater access and shorter trip times, while also living up to their mission of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
- Economic Impact in Charlotte: As a fast-growing, business-friendly city, economic development is a major priority in Charlotte, NC. Charlotte Area Transportation System (CATS) understands the priorities of the community and City, and has developed metrics to measure the economic impact of CATS projects. CATS’ light rail projects are major investments in the community, as they not only help people get around, they also have significant impacts on new commercial and residential development and job creation. These metrics allow the agency to demonstrate its value to the community, which goes far beyond what metrics like ridership could capture.
- Customer Experience in Las Vegas: The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of metrics like ridership to external forces out of agencies’ direct control. RTC Southern Nevada in Las Vegas has always been uniquely focused on customer experience. As CEO M.J. Maynard explains, ridership isn’t the only way to measure success or the importance of transit service. Instead, RTC is developing an access metric, which measures the number of jobs available by transit for low-income and minority residents.
All three of these agencies have succeeded in establishing a metric of success that represents real progress and achievement within their workplaces and communities. Examples like these show that transit excellence doesn't need to be restrained within the narrow scope of ridership — but rather that a successful transit agency is one that's attuned to the needs of its community and finds a way to deliver value in areas that matter to its residents and leadership.