Transit ridership has grown steadily since 1996, reaching 9.0 billion unlinked trips (see box) in 2001, an increase of 19 percent (figure 45). This represents an annual change of 4 percent compared with the growth in U.S. resident population of 1 percent over the same period. Between 1991 and 1996, transit ridership did not grow appreciably .
Among the various types of transit service, bus ridership comprised the majority of unlinked trips (5,215 million) in 2001, having grown 16 percent between 1996 and 2001. However, rail transit ridership, with almost 3,480 million trips in 2001, posted stronger growth (39 percent). Among the rail components, light rail grew 29 percent; heavy rail, 27 percent; and commuter rail, 19 percent (figure 46). Heavy-rail ridership posted 2,728 million trips; commuter rail, 418 million trips; and light rail, 334 million trips in 2001. Other modes, such as ferryboats and demand responsive, posted a combined 313 million trips .
1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, “National Transit Summaries and Trends,” 2002 draft, available at http://www.ntprogram.com, as of February 2003.