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The services that are trying to attract high ridership can be assessed for their ridership, and the coverage services, where ridership isn’t the goal, no longer count as because ridership is not what they’re trying to do.In our network redesign for Houston, for example, the Board said “deploy 80% of our budget pursuing ridership.” That’s what the plan does.People who are used to getting around by a private vehicle (car or bike) often underestimate the importance of frequency, because there isn’t an equivalent to it in their experience.A private vehicle is ready to go when you are, but transit is not going until it comes.
Notice that these three mechanisms are logically independent of each other, so they represent three value; its benefits tend to be exponential, up to a point, because improving frequency is actually three different improvements at once.
Obviously the company would go bankrupt staffing all of these shops dotted across the prairie, miles from the nearest town, each with a smiling team waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a customer to appear.
So in the real world of business, a rancher in North Dakota may have to drive 50 miles to find a Mc Donalds, because the only one will be in a large town where there are enough customers.
We know which lines in the New Network are intended for high ridership, and those are the ones where we’ll expect that outcome.
(For my peer-reviewed academic paper on this issue, see here.) So for now, I’ll suppose that you do want a ridership-maximizing transit system. How do we network designers know that we’re designing one?