2022 Posts

Ridership in Review: 2021 and Early 2022

September 15, 2022

At the beginning of 2021, we took a broad look at ridership throughout 2020 to identify some of the changing trends we were seeing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to do this at the end of 2021 as well, but just as things seemed to be reaching a steady state, the rise of the Omicron variant caused another drastic change in ridership trends. These trends steadied out through June 2022, then became greatly impacted by various service disruptions. Therefore, we decided to take a look at ridership again up to June 2021 to explain some of the data and give some thoughts about what we might expect going forward.

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Analyzing Ridership Demographics Throughout Boston

August 26, 2022

How can we understand the demographics of riders across our system, to make equitable transit decisions? Depending on resources available, there are multiple methods transit agencies can use to try to estimate their ridership demographics, both to comply with Title VI and supporting policies and to make better decisions about their system regarding equity. A previous post, "Does U.S. Census Data Predict MBTA Bus Ridership?", summarizes a project which compared the two most common ways transit agencies can estimate ridership for minority and low-income riders: either by conducting a passenger survey to collect demographic information from a sample of riders or using U.S. census data to estimate ridership based on the residential demographics of surrounding stops and routes. Conducting a passenger survey has been – and as confirmed by this blog post is still – the preferred method to understand rider demographics. However, the MBTA continues to use census data as an estimate for certain applications, as it is more easily accessible and less resource-intensive compared to the rider census survey.

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Massachusetts Statewide Bike Survey: Summer 2021

July 14, 2022

The Massachusetts Statewide Bicycle Survey was conducted over the Summer of 2021 to get a holistic picture of the state of biking across Massachusetts and how it was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We were interested in how, when, and why people biked both before and during the pandemic, and how they imagined their biking behavior changing in a post-pandemic world. This survey, which was distributed via flyers, email, and word of mouth in partnership with many community organizations, ended up receiving more than 7,000 responses. The respondents were clustered around the immediate Boston area, but we heard from people in nearly every part of the state, and the breadth of responses allowed us to examine how biking differs from region to region.

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Improving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Bus Network

June 30, 2022

The MBTA strives to provide good service to riders, but what does providing “good service” really mean? In this post, we will explore this concept as it relates to bus service. For over a decade, the MBTA has been redefining our approach to “good bus service” to better capture the benefits bus service can provide for our riders. We have refined our approach to understanding and measuring this by incorporating additional benefits that a bus route can provide to both passengers and the MBTA system as a whole.

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MBTA Station Prints 2 – The Answers

June 15, 2022

Thank you for taking our second Station Prints Quiz! Let’s take a look at the answers to see which station matched which prints.

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The MBTA’s First Service Delivery Policy Annual Report

May 26, 2022

OPMI is proud to release the first-ever MBTA Service Delivery Policy Annual Report.

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MBTA Station Prints Quiz 2

May 25, 2022

Here on the Data Blog, we previously posted a station prints quiz where readers were given daily ridership graphs for anonymous stations and tasked with identifying which station the graph belonged to (we also provided the answers). With new travel patterns emerging because of the pandemic, we would like to put our readers’ subway knowledge to the test again with another quiz.

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Creating a Road Map of "Busable" Streets

April 27, 2022

Greater Boston's makeup has changed significantly in recent years, with shifting demographics, emerging employment districts, increasing traffic congestion, and changing travel patterns. Meanwhile, up until recently, much of the MBTA bus network had not seen any changes since the 1960s. To remedy this, the MBTA created the Bus Network Redesign, an initiative that aims to completely re-imagine the  bus network to better reflect the travel needs of the region and create a better experience for current and future bus riders.

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How Subway Ridership by Time of Day is Changing

March 24, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted transit use, changing trends that were previously well-established and static over time. These circumstances have necessitated a new look at our data to investigate transit changes in a thoughtful way. This post will focus on how we’re thinking about changing ridership trends...

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Pandemic Effects on Biking in Massachusetts

February 9, 2022

While we have focused primarily on transit ridership on this blog, the pandemic has significantly affected all transportation modes. One interesting case is the effect of the pandemic on biking. A so-called “bicycle boom” has been observed during the pandemic so far, as bicycle demand seemed to increase greatly throughout Massachusetts...

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OPMI Announces Tracker 2021

January 28, 2022

We are proud to release the 2021 version of Tracker.

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