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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) partnered with the Transit trip-planning application yesterday to release a dashboard that provides weekly estimations of public transit ridership for agencies across the United States.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, public transit ridership has gone up and down rapidly in response to public health alerts across the country. Such fluctuations make it difficult for transit agencies that rely on monthly or quarterly reporting to follow up-to-date ridership trends and benchmark against their peers, APTA officials said in a press release.
In response to that challenge, APTA and Transit partnered to track demand for public transit and publish estimates of ridership change in real time.
Estimated ridership values for each week are statistically modeled based on measures of Transit app usage. The estimates do not represent actual reported ridership counts from agencies. The Transit app counts the frequency of how often its app is opened, providing a measure of demand for public transit.
APTA and Transit also take into account factors such as regional trends and the pandemic's current severity to develop the estimates.
“The number of people using our app for transit information is a great barometer for estimating overall ridership in near real-time. Together with APTA, we’ve been able to refine this data to provide insights to the entire industry,” said David Block-Schachter, Transit's chief business officer.