Local public support for an innovative transit system

Roger B. Trent, H. Russell Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Little is known about the sources of public support for transit systems even though the perceptions of transit users and potential users have been extensively documented. Research reported here examines dimensions of public support for the first U.S. downtown people mover during three critical phases in the system's life: construction, shakedown, and operations. The method employed was a community sample survey with home interviews. Data analysis showed that the public—who were virtually all nonusers—were largely favorable toward the system during the construction phase. During the shakedown phase, when system reliability was extremely low, many attitudes toward the system became less favorable, especially perceptions of performance and direct community impacts. Later, reliability improved, and attitudes which had become less favorable tended to grow more favorable once again. It is suggested that a system's performance can influence many aspects of public support for a transit system, even among nonusers. This pattern has implications for system planners who must depend on public good will for continuing support of transit systems. In particular, extensive pretesting of new systems should occur before the fare gates are opened to patrons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management


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