Behind the scenes with MBTA data.

In the last five years, the MBTA and other large transit agencies across the country have seen drops in their ridership, especially on buses and during off-peak times. This is counter to historical trends; given increased population and economic growth in Boston, we would typically expect ridership to increase. The changes are also not uniform; ridership on the Commuter Rail system, for example, seems to be growing significantly.

Analysts at the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI) decided to investigate possible causes of this decline in ridership. We have posted some of this work on the blog here and here, and we are excited to post the full report below. The report linked below explores bus ridership, examining what factors are causing the decline in bus ridership specifically, and how these factors differ depending on the neighborhood.

The paper includes two significant analyses: a longitudinal regression looking at bus ridership at the transit-system level across the United States and a geographically weighted regression (GWR) focusing on local differences within the MBTA area. 

Read the full report: “Location, Location, Location: A Neighborhood-Level Analysis of Changes in MBTA Bus Ridership”

Suggested Citation


Thistle, I., & Zimmer, A. (2019). Location, location, location: A neighborhood-level analysis of changes in MBTA ridership (unpublished). MBTA – Office of Performance Management and Innovation, Boston. Retrieved from: https://massdot.box.com/v/busridershipreport


If you have any further questions or concerns related to this report, please reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.