Bus Ridership Data Analysis System In Reserve

Developing a comprehensive Bus Ridership Data Analysis System would allow NJ TRANSIT to better anticipate travel demand, more effectively ensure that all communities are provided equitable service, and better target its customer outreach efforts. Currently, NJ TRANSIT uses fare revenue as an indicator of passenger ridership. The agency also relies on passenger surveys to obtain samples of ridership demographics as well as passenger trip origins and destinations. With the introduction of NJ TRANSIT's Smart Bus program, a parallel dataset has become available providing more precise information on bus passenger boardings and deboardings as well as trip run times. NJ TRANSIT believes that with proper quality control and statistical analysis, the smart bus dataset could be combined with the passenger survey data to power a data analysis application for improving demand forecasting, Title VI Civil Rights compliance efforts, and customer outreach.


The Smart Bus data are collected daily for each bus that runs revenue trips. Survey teams regularly collect passenger background information onboard buses from samples of the ridership population. With proper statistical weighting, the passenger survey data could complement the Smart Bus Data, allowing inferences to made about passenger origins and destinations, demographics, and other background information. This combined dataset would power a Bus Ridership Analysis System that would serve NJ TRANSIT departments such as Bus Service Planning, Civil Rights & Diversity, Travel Demand Forecasting & Research, Market Research, and GIS.


The selected consultant will utilize origin-destination travel surveys on specified bus routes that was collected over the last few years or new survey data that will be collected separately from this project in 2019. All bus origin-destination data will be provided to the consultant by NJ TRANSIT.


The consultant will explore the Passenger Survey and the Smart Bus datasets to identify how they can be combined to produce reliable inferences, ultimately yielding a product dataset that can be queried to provide estimates of ridership volumes, origins, destinations, , and demographic breakdowns. Such data would potentially be available at the route, operating direction, and farezone levels allowing for both macro and micro ridership analyses.

Idea Submitted by Susan O'Donnell

List your Agency /Division / Bureau, County, City Univ. or Other NJ TRANSIT Market Research

Idea Champion - Who at NJDOT, NJ Transit or NJ Motor Vehicle? (if known) Aaron Reisner, Senior Transportation GIS Analyst, NJ TRANSIT

Why is this a priority and what are the benefits for the State/County/City?

As New Jersey's demographic makeup and development patterns continue to change at a rapid pace, travel patterns and demands continue to shift as well. The State's transit agency requires a practical way to track these trends so that it can respond to them, adjust service patterns, and offer appropriate communication services to its customers. At the same time, NJ TRANSIT increasingly seeks to perform more robust analyses to ensure compliance with Title VI Civil Rights regulations prohibiting discrimination. The Bus Ridership Data Analysis System will provide the access and querying capabilities necessary to effectively safeguard against discriminatory policies and submit more precise Title VI compliance reports to the FTA.

The benefits of the effort will be several-fold. A more precise understanding of customer demographics and travel patterns will enable NJ TRANSIT to better tailor its customer communication plans. This effort will in turn lead to better information on passenger loads, payments methods, and individual bus stop usage. NJ TRANSIT can use these findings as input for forecasting models, farezone delineation efforts, and other bus service planning activities, ultimately better serving all NJ TRANSIT bus customers.

Archive: 2018 Ideas
Archive: 2018 Ideas
Idea No. 86