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Public Transit Ridership

Description: 

Public transit in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas is composed primarily of bus service, with neighborhood shuttles and circulators and regional shuttles helping to extend service. Light rail service began in the Phoenix metro area at the end of 2008 with a twenty mile starter line connecting Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Several extensions to the starter line are in the planning phases. Construction is currently underway for the first extension, 3.1 miles of additional service through downtown Mesa, with plans to open in late 2015.

Historically, Maricopa County has had low levels of bus ridership per capita. Ridership has increased primarily as a result of population growth. As people become more aware of the benefits of public transportation, both to themselves and to the environment, ridership will continue to grow. Light rail ridership has been strong since its inception, demonstrating that the community is receptive to alternate forms of transportation.

Healthy, sustainable communities are those that provide a variety of options for residents, such as access to multiple types of transportation. Increasing transportation options also improves accessibility to jobs, decreases transportation costs for workers, and helps to build an improved sense of community. When people shift to alternate modes of transportation, reduced automotive emissions can result in improvements to the local air quality.

Data Source: 

Valley Metro Ridership Reports, http://www.valleymetro.org/valleymetro/ridership_reports/, and Sun Tran Rider Statistics, http://www.suntran.com/about_stats.php.

iconLight Rail Passengers Per Mile

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Visualization Notes:

Mesa has the highest number of boardings per mile over their one mile of track as many people take advantage of the park-and-ride in Mesa to board the light rail and access locations along the route.  Weekend boardings per mile in Mesa are comparable to weekday travel, an indication that passengers are boarding at the east end of the line to travel to various leisure activities in Tempe and Phoenix. 

icon Light Rail Passengers

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Visualization Notes:

The number of passenger boardings is proportional to the miles of track and number of stops found in each city.  Weekday ridership is generally higher than weekend ridership due to the number of commuters using the light rail. However, weekend ridership has remained strong as the community has familiarized themselves with the system and used it for their weekend leisure activities. A summer decrease in ridership is evident, especially in Tempe and Phoenix where a large number of the ASU community use the light rail during the school year.

iconTotal Bus Boardings in Arizona Cities

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Visualization Notes:

Public transit in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas is composed primarily of bus service, with neighborhood shuttles and circulators and regional shuttles helping to extend service.  Historically, Maricopa County has had low levels of bus ridership per capita.  Ridership has increased primarily as a result of population growth.  As people become more aware of the benefits of public transportation, both to themselves and to the environment, ridership will continue to grow. 

Data Source

Valley Metro Ridership Reports, http://www.valleymetro.org/valleymetro/ridership_reports/, and Sun Tran Rider Statistics, http://www.suntran.com/about_stats.php.