5 Strategies for Getting More People to Use Public Transit in Your City

By: Miovision Team | Mar 19, 2024
an empty Toronto subway car

Image source: Unsplash

 

There are so many known benefits to public transportation, with one of the most significant being reduced emissions—if only more people would use it! 

Unfortunately, whether deserved or not, alternative modes of transportation like buses and streetcars get a bad rap in many cities. A lot of people want to do their part, but they also don’t want to risk transit delays making them late to work. 

With that in mind, here are several strategies your city can employ to get locals riding again and actively embracing public transportation benefits!

 

The Many Benefits of Public Transportation

Let’s start by discussing the environmental benefits of public transport. 

One person taking public transportation instead of driving 20 miles a day for a year can save 48,000 pounds of CO2 emissions—that’s equivalent to a 10% reduction in all greenhouse gas air pollution produced by a typical two-car, two-adult home. 

Public transportation benefits also extend to the economy: every dollar invested generates five in economic returns; every billion invested creates approximately 50,000 jobs; every $10 million in capital invested yields $30 million in increased business sales. 

Whether you’re discussing it from an environmental or economic perspective, there’s no doubt that cities and municipalities would benefit greatly from more people choosing to travel via public transit. Here’s how they can make that happen. 

 

Strategy 1: Educate Would-Be Riders

Step one is making potential riders aware and familiar with the benefits of choosing alternative transportation. They may have never stopped to consider why they should ride it. 

Education can take several forms, whether that be a media campaign, events, workshops, or online public transit promotion. No matter how you choose to go about it, be sure to be engaging and make your materials worth listening to. 

Additionally, as part of this education process, you can also try to debunk some misconceptions they may have. For example, you could conduct traffic studies to prove that traveling by bus is just as fast in your city as by car. 

 

Strategy 2: Improve Public Transit Infrastructure

If you want to make alternate modes of transportation more desirable, then improving your public transit infrastructure is also a wise idea. Offering someone a better product is always a surefire way to improve your chance of getting a sale. 

Improvements to public transit infrastructure can take many forms: 

  • Expanding or redoing sidewalks
  • Adding or widening bike lanes
  • Upgrading dedicated bus lanes 
  • Optimizing traffic signals to reduce congestion
  • Renovating rail lines to avoid delays
  • Increasing the frequency of trips
  • Providing improved accessibility
  • Amenities such as bike racks and shelters

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. What matters most is that you understand what your community has, and what it doesn’t, and then act accordingly. Providing solutions to common issues is a great way to improve the perception of public transportation! 

the feet of someone stepping onto a public bus

Image source: Canva

 

Strategy 3: Involve Community Stakeholders

If you’re struggling to determine where potential issues are, a great strategy is turning to community stakeholders for input. They’ll likely be willing to share their opinion on the current state of alternative transportation. 

You should seek out local government officials, business owners, and community leaders who use the transit system. If you act on the feedback provided by these individuals, they are likely to turn into your strongest supporters and advocates. 

Make sure to also speak with those in your municipality whose voices may not always be heard. Seek out voices from underrepresented groups, engaging with them in a collaborative manner where you make it clear that they will be respected. 

 

Strategy 4: Provide Public Transit Incentives

Offering public transit incentives is another strategic approach that can encourage increased transit ridership. In some cases, you may need to go the extra mile to get people to see the benefits of public transportation—and that’s totally fine! 

Public transit incentives such as discounted fares, loyalty programs, or tax benefits can all make it a more attractive option for commuters. You can also offer benefits such as contests for frequent riders to make the whole experience more enjoyable. 

No matter which types of public transit incentives you choose, rest assured that breaking down economic barriers will always work in your favor.  

 

Strategy 5: Improve Safety and Security

Another strategy to get more people to use public transit in your city is improving the overall safety and security of your offerings. People deserve to feel safe, and it’s a guarantee they will do their best to avoid public transit if it makes them feel otherwise. 

Just as with infrastructure, there is no universal solution or way to increase safety in public transportation systems. However, transit agencies should consider: 

  • Improving the lighting around the facilities
  • Adding security cameras/surveillance systems
  • Making transit stops more visible

If you are struggling to identify potential solutions related to safety, refer to step one and communicate with your community members. If you are sincere, they will likely be willing to share their experiences and provide some suggestions. 

commuter trains pulling up to an underground platform

Image source: Canva

 

Improve Public Transportation Systems With Miovision 

The benefits of public transportation are plentiful for municipalities, but only if their people choose to use it. From engaging the community to providing public transit incentives, these strategies can help transit planners increase transit users over time. 

Miovision can help you identify issues and provide solutions. Our technology and software will help you run better, more detailed traffic studies that help you identify opportunities to improve your transit systems. We’ll also provide you with solutions to improve those road networks, such as Transit Signal Priority (TSP) to optimize travel times.

Request a quote today to get more people using your public transit!