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Title:Measuring the Economic Benefits of Rural and Small Urban Transit Services in Greater Minnesota
Authors:Jeremy Mattson
Publication Date:Apr 2020
TRID #:01741349
Keywords:benefit cost analysis, benefits, case studies, economic impacts, return on investment, rural transit, social impacts, surveys, towns, transit riders
Type:Research Report


The objective of this research was to measure the benefits of rural and small urban transit services in Minnesota. The study accomplished this by first identifying, describing, and classifying the potential benefits of transit. Second, a method was developed for measuring these benefits. Where possible, benefits were quantified in dollar values. Other benefits that could not be monetized were either quantified in another way or described qualitatively. The study included an analysis of societal benefits and economic impacts within local communities. Third, the developed method was applied to a series of six case studies across Greater Minnesota. Data were collected through onboard rider surveys for each of the six transit agencies. Total benefits and benefit-cost ratios were estimated for the six transit agencies—all showed benefits that exceeded costs—and results were generalized to Greater Minnesota. Finally, a spreadsheet tool was developed that can be used by any transit agency to calculate the benefits of its services. This research provides information to assess the benefits of public spending on transit, which gives decision makers the data needed to inform investment decisions.

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