Examining WMATA Transit Ridership Habits for Improved Mobility

Dec 27, 2018 | News

Onboard Interviewing to Study Transit Ridership Habits

WMATA busEurekaFacts partnered with WBA Research to examine transit ridership habits and mobility footprints across the DC region for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Our in-person interviewers conducted onboard interviews to ask riders where they began their travel, what their destination is and to gain feedback on WMATA’s bus service.

These insights help WMATA assess volume by route and time of day, prioritize routes and optimize how often routes run so that commuters get where they need to go faster and WMATA maximizes efficiencies.


Helping Transit System Prioritize Routes and Move Riders Efficiently

Our transportation research team helped conduct this transit ridership study for WMATA to ensure it is properly equipped to move bus riders in the most efficient way possible across its fleet of 1,500 metro buses in the Washington, DC metro area.

WMATA enjoys our attentiveness to ensure transit ridership studies
stay on track and on budget. We’ve seen onboard interviews require
contingency plans built in from the start, and a dedicated project manager
monitoring that transit routes and shifts aren’t missed.”
Paul Schroeder, Chief Business Officer, EurekaFacts

Transit systems, and local governments who run them, benefit greatly from conducting transit ridership studies periodically. Smart planning and investing rely on understanding ridership behaviors, such as where volume is coming from, which routes are used most and where buses should be placed throughout the day. Nationwide, many transit systems are experiencing a decline in ridership. The solution may be surprising. Research has shown in a number of cities that when transit systems increase routes – based on where riders are coming from and going to – the demand (and revenue) will follow.


Importance of Redundancies and Quick Contingency Plans

After years of conducting transit ridership studies, our transportation research team has seen that these projects can be risky if not managed properly. Some organizations cut corners and end up missing routes and times of day, which can result in timelines blown, projects over budget and inaccurate data.

At EurekaFacts, we have a dedicated project manager who continually monitors all transit routes and shifts are filled and we build in contingency plans from the start, so that in rare cases when a shift is missed we quickly fill it without delay so the project stays on track and on budget. Our project manager ensures interviewers are on-time, get proper training and knows how to get less desirable shifts (like the 4 am route) filled.

Reach out to EurekaFacts when you need to conduct transit ridership studies and gain insights to ensure smart investments in transportation. Read more on our Maryland Transportation Institute collaboration bringing together transportation big data and survey data for new insights regarding our national highways and transit systems. We’ll be onsite at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Hope to see you there!


EurekaFacts Smart Research Solutions

About EurekaFacts

EurekaFacts is a market research firm with focus group facilities, usability and cognitive labs, multilingual call centers, multinational interviewing and vast data collection. Headquartered in Rockville, EurekaFacts is a leading insights provider for transportation research and urban planning. Partners enjoy our innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods and effective use of the latest technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), geographic information systems (GIS) and advanced analytics. We pinpoint the insights and data you need to shape your transportation initiatives for a better, safer, healthier world.

About Maryland Transportation Institute

Maryland Transportation Institute logoMaryland Transportation Institute is a research institute at the University of Maryland (UMD) advancing transportation innovation for enhanced economic development and quality of life across Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic. It focuses on key challenges related to automated vehicles, infrastructure safety, security, nextgen freight and logistics, smart cities and future mobility. It collaborates with 10 UMD colleges and is affiliated with the largest US transportation big data center, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Lab and the DOT-designated National Transportation Center.