Establishing the UC Davis Transit Research Center

Research Lead: Susie Pike

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Transit agencies and transit passengers face a number of challenges, including funding (with transit agencies receiving less funding than highway and roadways), stigma towards transit and transit passengers stemming from a history of racial injustice, and decreasing ridership over the past decade or more. Despite increased investments and service hours, transit have seen a decline in per capita transit ridership in recent years, even after a period of recovery following the Great Recession beginning in 2008. Declines in transit ridership can be attributed to multiple factors including shifting residential patterns, lower rates of immigration, and increased auto-ownership among lower income groups. Transit systems are often seen as a last resort to serve communities with no other options. This highlights real and perceived service challenges such as long headways and travel times. Transit operators are tasked with many activities including reducing congestion and emissions, promoting economic growth, and improving urban environments. One study cannot address all these problems, however researchers at UC Davis are currently working on a number of ways to improve transit equity, coordinate transit and land use planning, and identify challenges facing transit agencies with different characteristics serving diverse communities.

Project Description: This project will support the establishment of a Transit Research Center at UC Davis to explore strategies for strengthening transit service and transit use in the United States. Overarching themes of this initiative include equity and accessibility. Over the coming year, the Transit Research Center will highlight and disseminate existing public transit research underway at ITS-Davis and affiliated departments by developing a transit research website and organize a half-day symposium. The Transit Research Center will also create opportunities for soliciting input from and collaborating with policy makers, state agencies (such as Caltrans and California Air Resources Board), and stakeholder groups, including the California Association for Coordinated Transportation and the California Transit Association.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $49,705

Project Partner(s): Yolo County Transportation District; California Association for Coordinated Transportation; San Mateo County Transit District; California Transit Association