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Center Identification Number:  576-14

 

Project Title:  Teenage Attitudes and Perceptions Regarding Transit Use

 

Principal Investigator:                 

 

Lisa E. Tucker, Research Associate

813-974-5036
E-mail: tucker@cutr.usf.edu

 

Institution:                                       

 

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

 

External Project Contact:                       

 

Jon Ausman, FDOT  

 

I.  Project Objectives

 

To assess the current level of transit use among teenagers and their potential as a viable transit market. To identify successful components, as well as challenges faced by transit programs targeting teenagers. To explore teen attitudes and perceptions regarding transit. To examine the extent of peer and parental/legal guardian influence on teen transit use, and to explore parental/legal guardian attitudes related to their teens using transit. Finally, to develop overall recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness and attractiveness of mass transit among teenagers and increasing their share in the transit market.

 

 II.  Project Abstract

 

Teenagers are generally considered to be image and brand-conscious, and greatly influenced by their peers and parents/legal guardians. Transit ridership among teenagers has traditionally been relatively low, particularly in those areas with small and medium-sized transit systems. Many transit agencies have employed a variety of programs to attract teen riders, such as summer passes or fare-free transit to school. Proponents of such programs often hypothesize that teenaged riders will continue their transit habits into adulthood, thus establishing a base of transit patrons in the future. The purpose of this project is to explore teen attitudes and perceptions regarding transit, and to examine the level of influence peers and parents/legal guardians exert in teen transit use. The research will be conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analyses. This will include the conduct of in-depth focus groups discussions with parent/legal guardian and teen pairs as well as quantitative surveys of transit agencies. Based upon the findings of this research, recommendations will be offered for enhancing the effectiveness and attractiveness of public transportation among teenagers and increasing the teen share in the transit market.

  

III.  Task Descriptions

 

This project will include four distinct tasks designed to achieve the objectives listed above. Each task is described below.

 

 

Task 1:  Review of the Literature Pertaining to Transit Use Among Teenagers

 

The investigators shall review and summarize previous studies related to teenagers and public transportation. The results of this task will inform the development of the questioning route to be used during the focus groups and the content of the quantitative questionnaire. The results of the literature review shall be summarized, along with the results of Task 2 (described below), in Technical Memorandum 1.

  

Task 2:  Conduct Focus Groups with Teen and Parent/Legal Guardian Pairs

 

Focus groups shall be conducted with matched pairs of teens and parents/legal guardians to explore the range of attitudes and perceptions related to teen transit use. The focus groups shall be conducted in a number of cities around the country, one of which will be Miami. Teens will discuss their experiences using transit, its image perception, peer and parental/legal guardian influence, their attitude toward using transit, and what might make transit more attractive to this age group in general. Focus groups shall be conducted separately with parents/legal guardians of participating teens to explore the level of parental/legal guardian influence in teen transit use, as well as the attitudes and concerns parents/legal guardians may have related to their teenaged children using public transportation. The matching pair paradigm shall allow for comparison of teen attitudes about transit to those of their parents/legal guardians. Refreshments shall be provided during the focus group sessions.

 

Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 1 Literature Review and Focus Group Results

 

Task 3:  Conduct Survey of Transit Agencies

 

Using the results of Technical Memorandum 1, CUTR shall develop and conduct quantitative surveys of transit agencies nationwide. Transportation providers shall be asked about their approach and success in recruiting and maintaining teen ridership, obstacles they may face in doing so, marketing strategies, promotional efforts targeted toward teens, any information they might have on current levels of teen ridership, and data that may be derived from system on-board surveys. Results of the surveys shall be analyzed in relation to the findings presented in Technical Memorandum 1.

 

Deliverable:  Technical Memorandum 2 Synthesis of Transit Agency Survey Results

  

Task 4:  Develop Best Practices Report

 

The final task of the research shall summarize the results of all previous tasks in order to develop a report on the Best Practices in Attracting Teen Ridership. The report shall highlight programs that have been successful, as well as document challenges facing programs attempting to attract and maintain teen ridership. In addition, the report shall offer recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness and attractiveness of public transportation among teenagers and increasing the teen share in the transit market. 

 

IV.  Project Schedule

 

Project Start Date:  November 1, 2003

Draft Final Report Due Date:  December 1, 2004

Contract Ending Date:  January 31, 2005

 

Task/Month

1N

2D

3J

4F

5M

6A

7M

8J

9J

10A

11S

12O

13N

14D

15J

Task 1

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task 2

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

Quarterly Report

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

Technical Memorandum 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Memorandum 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

Final Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

V.  Project Budget

  

Teenage Attitudes and Perceptions Regarding Transit Use

Budget Categories

State Share

Center Director Salary

 

Faculty Salaries ($24.17 X 1400 hours)

$33,838

Administrative Staff Salaries

 

Other Staff Salaries

 

Student Salaries ($16.46 X 150 hours)

$2,469

Staff Benefits

 

Total Salaries and Benefits

$36,307

Scholarships

 

Permanent Equipment

 

Expendable Property/Supplies

$1,200

Domestic Travel

$8,000

Foreign Travel

 

Other Direct Costs 

$2,112

Total Direct Costs

$47,619

Indirect Costs

$2,381

TOTAL COSTS

$50,000

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:   The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.

 

Budget request includes salary for clerical and administrative staff, postage, local telephone service, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.

 

VI.  Student Involvement

 

Graduate students may provide assistance with the literature review, research and data collection, qualitative and quantitative analyses, and/or report writing.

 

 VII.  Technology Transfer Activities

 

The results of this analysis will be provided to the FDOT through a series of technical memoranda and a final report, as outlined above. Copies of the final report will be provided to the Research Office, the State Public Transportation Administrator, the Manager of the Transit Office, and those transit systems that participated in the analyses. Information will also be made available through the CUTR and NCTR websites and presentations at state and national conferences.

  

VIII.  Potential Benefits of the Project

 

Considering that most teenagers cannot drive and are dependent upon their parents/legal guardians and friends for transportation, teens comprise an under-exploited market share of users within the transit industry. A better understanding of why teens do and do not choose to use transit will provide valuable information to transit agencies seeking to increase teen transit use. Furthermore, familiarity among those who use public transportation as teenagers may provide a future transit market as this group ages. This research project will provide information regarding the history and current use of transit among teens; a better understanding of teen attitudes and perceptions of public transportation; a better understanding of parental/legal guardian attitudes and perceptions toward teen transit use; an assessment of what transit agencies are doing to market themselves to teens; and it will offer recommendations for increasing transit effectiveness and attractiveness to this under-exploited transit market.

  

IX.  TRB Keywords

 

Teenagers, parents/legal guardians, peer influence, transit, transit markets, attitudes, perceptions

 

 

 

 

National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 www.nctr.usf.edu Comments: webmaster@cutr.eng.usf.edu