The purpose of this study was to provide a marketing information foundation for the Arlington County Teen Transit Initiative, a teen-led task force charged with planning additional transit-oriented services for Arlington County teens.
- Just over half the respondents were female.
- The majority were 16 and 17 years of age, white, and born in Arlington County.
- Teens fell into three broad segments: 53% non-riders (of ART or Metrobus), 24% light riders (ride ART or Metrobus a few times a month or less), and 23% heavy riders (ride ART or Metrobus at least once a week).
- Teens who were not transit riders were most likely to be 14-17 year olds who have lived in Arlington County for a long time.
- Heavy riders tended to be Hispanic or African American and new residents in the County.
- Heavy riders skewed older (18) and light riders tended to be younger teens (15-16).
The Need for Teen Transit:
- Those who said it was easy to find a ride (56%) tended to use transit less than other teens.
- One out of five Arlington County teens said finding a ride was hard.
Where Teens Go, What They Do & How They Get There:
- Teens went everywhere. Most popular destinations were North Arlington & Ballston.
- Heavy riders appeared to go to all of Arlington County destinations more regularly than did light riders and non-riders.
- Teens frequented malls, movie theaters, and friends’ houses.
- Non-riders and riders did the same activities at these destinations, with the one exception being “work.” Teen transit riders cited “work” more often as a travel destination than did non-riders. – Twice as many heavy riders as non-riders or light raiders said they were going to work.
- Most teens get to places with their parents’ help or by walking.
- Transit had light penetration (use) among teens.
- ART and Metrobus served less than 10% of teens who were engaged in any one activity – going to the mall, to the community center, to jobs, etc.
- Only 19% of all teen respondents said they use ART and/or Metrobus as the way they “usually get there.”
Families Experience/Use of Transit Lifts Teens Interest/Use in Transit:
- There was a direct and positive correlation between family experience with ART and/or Metrobus and teen use of ART and/or Metrobus. The Arlington County Teen Transit Initiative can have a long-term positive impact – any conversion to transit would potentially create another “pro-transit influencer” on extended family members in this and future generations.
Making Transit More Attractive:
- Among teens who indicated they used ART & Metrobus, convenience, dependability, and costs (fares) were most important considerations (expectations). Teens’ expectations were not being met by existing services – there were significant “performance gaps.”
- Light riders, when compared to heavy riders, had greater expectations of what convenience and dependability meant to them – this creates an even bigger “performance gap” to close.
- The “cost factor” was a bigger issue for heavy riders than for light riders perhaps in part because heavy riders experienced fares (cost) more often.
- No single barrier or over-arching issue made transit unappealing to non-riders. Multiple issues appeared to be important – lack of information, high fares, lack of convenient and dependable service and schedules, overall “lame” image, and parents’ permission.
- These barriers also arose when non-riders were asked what it would take for them to ride the bus – the barriers (real or perceived) limited the overall appeal of transit.
- Parents appeared to have many of the same issues with ART and/or Metrobus that teens did – high fares, lack of convenience and dependable service and schedules.
- Some parents were also concerned about safety.
- Parents did see the benefit of ART and/or Metrobus helping teens get to work.
- Mode of Data Collection – 10-minute Paper Research Survey for Teens; Online Qualitative Input for Parents and Educators
- Completed Surveys – (698 Teens) 8th Grade = 111; 9th Grade = 188; 10th Grade = 169; 11th Grade = 230
- Survey Population – 13 high schools were represented in sample. Respondent distribution across schools closely monitored Arlington County School Statistics; Survey respondents’ ethnicity distribution closely matched Arlington Public Schools’ demographic profile, as well.
- Survey Instrument – Paper hand-out survey
- Criteria for Participation – Arlington County 8th – 11th graders
DOCUMENTS FOR DOWNLOAD
Full Presentation (PDF): 2006 AC Teen Transit Initiative FINAL REPORT
Technical Summary (PDF): Summary – 2006 AC Teen Transit Initiative STUDY
Survey Questionnaire – Teens (PDF): 2006 AC Teen Transit Teens QUESTIONNAIRE
Survey Questionnaire – Parents (PDF): 2006 AC Teen Transit Parents QUESTIONNAIRE
Survey Questionnaire – Teachers (PDF): 2006 AC Teen Transit Teachers QUESTIONNAIRE
Data Tables (PDF): 2006 AC Teen Transit DATA TABLES
Contact the ACCS Research Team for more information.