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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Chad Chitwood

 More than 89 Million Americans Will “Travel Like a Local” While Visiting Top U.S. Cities This Summer – A 24 Percent Increase over Last Year

 Millennials and adults under 45 continue to lead the way with 68 percent opting to ride public transportation on vacation

Washington, DC – As Americans are into their summer travel, nearly 89 million (57 percent) who plan to vacation in a U.S. city say they will use of public transportation for at least one activity this summer.  More than 156 million Americans in total plan to travel to a top U.S. city this summer (24 percent increase). This continues a trend from recent years. The American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) annual “Travel Like a Local” Summer Travel Survey reports that public transportation will be highly utilized by these travelers looking for the most cost-effective and worry-free form of transportation.  

Millennials and adults under 45 continue to embrace use of public transit during vacations.  Among millennials (18-34) and adults under 45, 68 percent confirmed that they plan to use public transportation during their trip to a major U.S. city or metropolitan area this summer. According to the travel survey, public transportation options make travel more cost effective and stress free for all ages. 

“As the number of city visitors and tourists continue to increase, public transit systems not only serve as a reliable and affordable way to get around but provide a great way for visitors to experience the local flavor of a community and all that it has to offer,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “In addition, our industry’s use of smart phone apps and other tools help visitors easily navigate a city that is new to them.”  

The data show that a city traveler’s strongest reason for choosing public transportation is eliminating the need for a parking space with 71 percent of respondents noting this while 67 percent say that it is more affordable than taxis or rental cars. Other reasons included cutting down on the cost of gas (51 percent), minimizing the stress of driving in an unfamiliar city (55 percent). 

Forty-eight million vacationers will use public transportation to experience restaurant dining and local nightlife, while 53 million say they will use it while sightseeing. An equal 45 percent of travelers expect to utilize public transit for travel to and from their place of lodging and to and from airports. 
These travelers are flocking to destinations all across the country. The hottest urban travel destination for 2015 was once again New York City followed by the 14 additional cities:  

1. New York 

9. Seattle 

2. Chicago

10. Washington, DC 

3. Los Angeles

11. Boston 

4. Atlanta 

12. Miami 

5. Las Vegas 

13. Houston 

6. Dallas 

14. San Diego 

7. Orlando  

15. Portland

8. San Francisco 


As Americans embrace city vacations, APTA is issuing a series of insider guides for some of the top city destinations. These tips provide insight into a local public transit systems unique characteristics, unspoken protocols and general advice to help vacationers “travel like a local” and avoid public transit faux paux. This information shows how easy it is to navigate a city by using the local public transit system. 

For more details on how you can “Travel Like a Local” this summer, visit​.

The APTA 2015 “Travel like a Local” Summer Travel Survey was conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence and includes 1,005 interviews using a Random Digit Dial sample of both landline and cell phone numbers. At the 95 percent confidence level, the margin of error is +/-3.2 percentage points.

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.  More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.

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