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Americans are eager to get back on public transportation, demand investments in rider experience, reliability and sustainability

DURHAM, N.C., Aug. 25, 2021 – Public transit has always been a lifeline for Americans and it will continue to play a central role in how people commute, travel and stay connected post-pandemic. In fact, a new survey from TransLoc, a transportation software solutions company and a part of Ford’s mobility portfolio*, found that public transit was the top transportation method before the pandemic (46 percent) and will maintain this ranking in the months to come (36 percent).

Data collected for the Transit Value Index was sourced from 1,200 working U.S. adults (ages 18 and older) who currently use transit and/or regularly used transit before the pandemic to understand new behaviors and expectations for post-pandemic ridership. Before the pandemic, three in four riders used public transit at least two days per week (74 percent) and the majority expect to use it as frequently once their area is completely reopened (72 percent).

While Americans are eager to get back on the road, they demand changes from agencies to restore their confidence in using public vehicles. The number one improvement respondents want to see are new apps or technology to enhance the rider experience (74 percent). Additionally, Americans want transit agencies to immediately prioritize investments in improving public vehicles’ on-time performance (62 percent).

“The pandemic challenged our ability to move freely. Now as communities start to reopen and residents get back to their routines, we’re forced to navigate our new world with different transportation demands,” said Brett Wheatley, CEO of TransLoc. “At TransLoc, we’re committed to understanding and aligning with riders’ new expectations for reliable, efficient and safe transit. We’re working closely with transit agencies across the country to deliver on these demands and provide Americans with the freedom of mobility.”

Other findings include:

  • Americans look forward to their daily work commute. Most U.S. riders have already started commuting to work (56 percent) or they plan to do so in the next six months (23 percent). Two in three (65 percent) enjoy their ride to work with the top reason being it provides time to decompress (86 percent).  
  • New cleanliness concerns could push some transit riders to cars. Personal vehicles or carpooling will see the biggest increase in post-pandemic usage (25 percent, as compared to 17 percent pre-pandemic) due to health concerns. Most U.S. transit riders express concerns about catching an illness on transit (71 percent) and say they would use transit more often if there were new safety protocols that keep vehicles clean and prevent overcrowding (73 percent).
  • Sustainable transportation is important to riders. Within the next year, roughly half of transit riders think their local transit agencies should implement more sustainable practices (52 percent) and invest in electric vehicles (EVs) (45 percent). Most believe EVs will improve public transit (70 percent) and more than half say the top benefit will be reduced carbon emissions (56 percent).
  • Transit riders are ready to experiment with self-driving vehicles. Most would use an autonomous bus or shuttle if their local agency launched one tomorrow (71 percent) and three in five say self-driving technology will improve public transit (60 percent). Riders say the biggest benefits of autonomous transit will be improving timeliness of vehicles (49 percent) and enhancing the experience with connected tech features (31 percent).

To download the Transit Value Index, visit

Survey Methodology
TransLoc’s Transit Value Index was conducted in July 2021 and surveyed 1,200 working Americans 18+ who regularly use public transit today or regularly used public transit before the pandemic. This survey was conducted direct-to-consumer via mobile devices.

About TransLoc
TransLoc delivers a one-stop-shop for transit providers seeking transit orchestration solutions. Recognized by Fast Company for its innovative technology, today TransLoc’s intelligent transportation software portfolio includes flexible demand response, fixed-route systems, and planning services, providing software and services for more than 1500 transit providers worldwide. Powering more than 600 million annual rides, TransLoc’s fixed-route and on-demand systems are at the core of both cities and towns, and on university and business campuses. TransLoc has collectively partnered with agencies to deliver the highest level of service and win the confidence of the riding public for more than a decade.


Media Contact:
SHIFT Communications for TransLoc
Stephanie Epstein

*On March 1, 2022, global technology company Modaxo acquired TransLoc from Ford Motor Company. TransLoc is no longer affiliated with Ford or any Ford properties.