Chicago Transit Authority - MIT Partnership

Funding: Chicago Transit Authority

Urban transportation is rapidly evolving with the introduction of new mobility service, including car sharing, bike sharing, and on-demand taxis and shuttles. These modes may both conflict and complement public transportation. Transit Lab works with Chicago Transit Authority to identify ways in which the new modes can be integrated with public transportation to improve user experience while achieving sustainability.



Zhao J, Webb V, Shah P.  2014.  Customer Loyalty Differences Between Captive and Choice Transit Riders. Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2415:80–88.

Traditionally, efforts to increase the customer base of public transportation agencies have focused primarily on attracting first-time users. Customer retention, however, has many benefits not often realized. Loyal customers provide recommendations to others, increase and diversify their use of the service, and do not require acquisition costs associated with new customers. An earlier study identified key drivers of customer loyalty, with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in Illinois as a... more

Webb V.  2010.  Customer Loyalty in the Public Transportation Context. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering. MST

Public transportation agencies, much like other service industries, have a constant churn of their customer base. New customers are entering and current customers are defecting every day. Traditionally, efforts to increase this customer base have focused on attracting more first-time users. However, preventing the loss of customers to competitive modes, such as the auto, has many added benefits that are not often realized. Loyal customers provide recommendations to others, increase and... more

Wilson N, Zhao J, Rahbee A.  2009.  The Potential Impact of Automated Data Collection Systems on Urban Public Transport Planning. Schedule-Based Modeling of Transportation Networks: Theory and Applications. :75–99.

Automated data collection systems are becoming increasingly common in urban public transport systems, both in the US and throughout the developed world. These systems, which include Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), Automatic Passenger Counting (APC), and Automatic Fare Collection (AFC), are often designed to support specific and fairly narrow functions within the transport agency. However, it is clear that the data obtained from these systems can have wide-ranging applications within public... more

Zhao J, Rahbee A, Wilson N.  2007.  Estimating a Rail Passenger Trip Origin-Destination Matrix Using Automatic Data Collection Systems. Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. 22(5):376–387.

Automatic data collection (ADC) systems are becoming increasingly common in transit systems throughout the world. Although these ADC systems are often designed to support specific fairly narrow functions, the resulting data can have wide-ranging application, well beyond their design purpose. This article illustrates the potential that ADC systems can provide transit agencies with new rich data sources at low marginal cost, as well as the critical gap between what ADC systems directly offer... more


Neema Nassir's picture
Postdoc Associate
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor