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Transit Providers to Survey Riders to Gauge Demand and Meet Passenger Needs

The first phase of a regionwide transit survey will begin in September, as Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), Trinity Metro and Arlington Via passengers are asked to help planners determine the demand on the system and potential future improvements.

Funded through a partnership between the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), DCTA and Trinity Metro, the survey will be conducted in two phases. The first will start in early September and continue through November. The second phase, to be conducted from January through May 2023, will focus on DART and the Trinity Railway Express.

During both phases, two types of transit travel surveys will be conducted to determine how traditional, fixed route and on-demand (microtransit) riders are using the expanding public transportation network and what changes could be made to better accommodate the needs of the growing region.

The first survey is an on-to-off survey, which will attempt to measure demand and passengers’ trip patterns on each transportation mode. Upon boarding a bus, riders will be handed cards by surveyors wearing blue vests and asked to return the cards when they disembark. On the region’s various rail lines, passengers will simply be asked at what station they will get off.

The second type of survey, a questionnaire, will involve surveyors asking randomly selected passengers about their current trip and their socioeconomic characteristics. Some passengers will be asked to fill out paper questionnaires instead of participating in interviews. For microtransit routes, riders will be asked to participate in the survey after they complete their trips.

Both formats will contain the same questions. Participation in the surveys is voluntary, and answers will be kept confidential. The goal is to collect data from a random sample of 10% of transit riders.

“NCTCOG coordinates regional transit data collection with DART, DCTA and Trinity Metro every five to seven years,” said Arash Mirzaei, NCTCOG senior program manager, model and data development. “This is the first regional travel survey being held after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This transit survey provides a comprehensive picture of socioeconomic characteristics of transit users along with the trip details that help determine how and why they use the transit system. Transit agencies can use this data to adjust existing service and develop future plans.”

Dallas-Fort Worth is the fourth-largest region in the nation, with a population of approximately 8 million. As North Texas attracts thousands of new residents each year, transit will play a significant role in ensuring the transportation system remains reliable and continues to improve into the future.

For more information about the survey visit https://nctcog.org/transitsurvey.

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