HOW DOES WEATHER AFFECT COTA RIDERSHIP?
The Central Ohio Transit Authority is the region's public transportation leader, with nearly 19 million total rides in 2018 – a 3% increase from the previous year. With this increase, COTA Planners have worked to implement innovative solutions that will help them maintain their 91% customer satisfaction rate that won them Outstanding Public Transportation System among midsize agencies in 2018. While their real-time bus GPS data integration into the Smart Columbus Operating System has helped customers make mobility decisions, central Ohio’s severe winter weather presents another challenge.
Weather has a major impact on the flow of traffic in central Ohio. Situated in the middle of Ohio, the Columbus Region has a varied climate, exposing residents to cold winters and hot, humid summers. These harsh and often unpredictable weather patterns leave COTA Planners wondering what impact is had on ridership, traffic, and arrival times at bus stops. Striving for another increase in ridership through the years to come, COTA wants to keep residents on the bus during every season by introducing new tools that will keep bus stop arrival times and rider trip times accurate. This will improve rider experience and increase the likelihood that people will choose the bus, decreasing congestion on the roadways, reducing carbon emissions, and keeping roads safe during extreme weather.