Here is information on several American cities that have been successful in improving their transit systems.
In February 2019, Transit Center (a foundation that supports advocacy, research and leadership development for transit reform across the US) released a report on the state of transit in American cities in 2018. The results are interesting:
Seven cities demonstrated clear improvements in ridership: Seattle, Pittsburgh, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Detroit, and Las Vegas.
How? Well ...
Detroit expanded frequent service on 10 of their busiest routes by adding 500 trips a week and running them 24/7.
San Antonio outfitted 1,000 bus stops with shelters and invested in ADA-accessible sidewalks
Houston redesigned its bus network to deliver frequent service to more neighborhoods. Last year, bus service accounted for most of the region’s ridership growth.
There are some areas of concerns that Ottawa should take note of:
Denver spent billions on a light rail network that extended far into the suburbs without improving the bus network, which serves the urban core of the region. In 2018, modest gains in rail ridership were swamped by losses in bus ridership.
The report clearly states that improvement in one neighbourhood or on one line, will not improve ridership – transit agencies need to look at the whole system.