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Frequency has three independent benefits for the customer, which helps to explain why high frequency is so critical to sustained high ridership: If you think about how these three things govern the real usefulness of transit, you can begin to see why frequency is such a ferocious ridership-driver.
Notice that these three mechanisms are logically independent of each other, so they represent three value; its benefits tend to be exponential, up to a point, because improving frequency is actually three different improvements at once.
(Businesses also want customers to pay more rather than less, but for our purposes here let’s hold fares or prices constant, and just think about how you get lots of customers.) Everyone understands that Mc Donalds is a business, which means it is under no obligation to provide a burger restaurant within 1/2 mile of every citizen.
If they were, every ranch (population 4) in North Dakota would need to have its own Mc Donalds at the end of the driveway.
For a while I’ve wanted to synthesize some material that’s scattered through my book (and more recent work) but that needs to be presented more directly. , and the first thing businesses do is choose which markets they will enter.
It’s long, but there are handy section dividers along the way, and pictures near the end. Unlike governments, businesses feel no obligation to provide their service in places where they would spend a lot of money to serve very few people.
We know which lines in the New Network are intended for high ridership, and those are the ones where we’ll expect that outcome.
(For my peer-reviewed academic paper on this issue, see here.) So for now, I’ll suppose that you do want a ridership-maximizing transit system. How do we network designers know that we’re designing one?
Did you just hear me say that we deploy transit service for maximum ridership? There is no “should.” There is only a description of the consequences of choices that you, and your community, are free to make. A more precise question is: When transit authorities answer that question, then everyone knows what the purpose of the service is.
We don’t describe this situation as Mc Donalds being to rural folks, because we know Mc Donalds is a business doing what businesses do.
Businesses deploy their product or service where it will succeed.
Those can both be valid government purposes, but they lead to the creation of services where ridership is not the objective.
The objective, instead, is to satisfy (a) and/or (b) above.