Looking for public transit-related resources? You’ll find them below. We will post links to City of Guelph reports, blogs with
Public transportation is an essential part of modern cities, providing citizens with a reliable and affordable means of transportation. However, there are different approaches to designing public transportation systems, and one of the most important considerations is whether to prioritize coverage or high frequency. High-frequency transit (HFT) refers to transit systems that have frequent service on key routes, while coverage transit (CT) refers to systems that aim to cover a wide geographic area. In this paper, we argue that HFT is a better approach to public transportation than CT because it provides faster, more reliable, and more efficient service.
One of the main advantages of HFT is that it provides faster service than CT. As Harvard economist Edward Glaeser notes, “Frequency is the most important determinant of travel time.” In other words, the more frequent the service, the less time passengers spend waiting for a bus or train. A study by the American Public Transportation Association found that “a reduction in wait time of even a few minutes can significantly increase transit ridership.” This is important because faster service can make public transportation more attractive to potential riders, which can lead to increased ridership and reduced congestion on roads.
More Reliable Service:
Another advantage of HFT is that it provides a more reliable service than CT. Because HFT focuses on key routes with frequent service, it is less susceptible to disruptions than CT. A study by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis found that “reliable transit service is a key factor in transit ridership.” This is because passengers are more likely to use public transportation if they can depend on it to get them where they need to go on time.
More Efficient Service:
Finally, HFT is more efficient than CT. Because HFT focuses on key routes with frequent service, it can carry more passengers per hour than CT. This is because CT systems often have to spread their resources over a wide geographic area, which can result in low ridership and inefficient service. A study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute found that “increasing transit service frequency is the most cost-effective way to increase transit ridership.” This is important because increased ridership can lead to reduced congestion on roads and lower carbon emissions.
In conclusion, high-frequency transit is a better approach to public transportation than coverage transit because it provides faster, more reliable, and more efficient service. By focusing on key routes with frequent service, HFT can provide faster service, which can attract more riders and reduce congestion on roads. It can also provide more reliable service, which can make public transportation more attractive to potential riders. Finally, it is more efficient than CT because it can carry more passengers per hour, which can lead to reduced congestion on roads and lower carbon emissions. Therefore, cities should prioritize HFT when designing their public transportation systems.
American Public Transportation Association. “Transit Ridership Report: First Quarter 2017.” 2017. https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/Resources/Resources-Statistics-Ridership-APTA-Ridership-Report-Q1-2017.pdf
Glaeser, Edward. “Frequency is the Most Important Factor in Public Transit.” CityLab, 2014. https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2014/02/frequency-is-the-most-important-factor-in-public-transit/8408/
Institute of Transportation Studies. “Exploring the Impacts of Transit Reliability.” UC Davis, 2018. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sk7n0h4
Victoria Transport Policy Institute. “Transit Service Levels and Quality.” 2015. https://www.vtpi.org/tran_serv.pdf