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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Public transit, Ridership, College towns


This study looks at the demographic, urban form and transit service characteristics that influence ridership in a college community. It acknowledges both the internal (those that a transit operator has control over) and external (variables that the transit operator cannot control) factors that influence ridership. A literature review shows that income, unemployment levels, densities, age, urban form, headway and coverage correlated to ridership.

The study area used is the Five-College community that is serviced by UMass Transit, the dominant operator in the area. To perform analysis census data is collated at the block and block group levels regarding income, unemployment, vehicle ownership, population, density, college age population and housing age. Additional data about urban form and transit service characteristics is obtained. Exploratory data for all variables support the literatures finding except unemployment and land use diversity.

Modeling is done in three stages using different scales of census data. A final model, combining scales is created. The highest indicators of ridership are found to be direction of travel, level of service, the percent of college age students and population density.


First Advisor

Mark Hamin