Bus Stops and Bus Users in the City of Detroit
Eun-Young Kim
Ph.D. student, Urban, Technological, and Environmental Planning
Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
The University of Michigan


According to the Detroit Area Study (DAS) (R. Marans, see this link for a sample), public transportation use in the Detroit area has been declining. DAS data from 2001 shows that only 8.3 percent of commuters choose bus as their travel mode whereas 69.1 percent of people are driving single occupant cars. Furthermore, 63.1 percent of respondents to the DAS answered that they never use the bus. Frequent users, including daily users and people taking a bus at least once a week, composed about ten percent of the sample.

Previous studies indicate that there are relationships among environmental factors, psychological factors, and transportation use (Bamberg, Sebastian and Peter Schmidt, "The impact of general attitude on decisions" Rationality and Society, Thousand Oaks, Feb 1999). GIS data collected in 2000 by SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) enable one to gauge the condition of bus stops in Detroit. Bus stop condition will be considered one of indicators that represents the environmental condition of public transportation. Also, 2001 DAS shows specific preferences and attitudes toward transportation among Detroiters. Bus stop condition will be examined using GIS.  The results are presented, in this paper, as a single interactive, internet map.

Interactive Internet Map

DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation) and SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) operate buses in the City of Detroit. There are a total of 5618 bus stops located along the routes (Hamtramck and Highland Park are excluded). 

Field evidence, including overall condition of bus stops, was observed and photographed for selected stops. Five indicators, stop sign, light, shelter, bench, and sidewalk, are used to evaluate the condition of bus stops.  These indicators were then used to formulate an index of bus stop condition,  scored as 1 to 5, from poor to good, respectively. The accompanying internet map shows Detroit bus routes and bus stops.  The stops that scored 1 or 2 on the index are colored red.  Click on a stop to get data concerning that stop; click on a route to look at the database accompanying the mapped route.  The map  showing bus stop condition alone, has also been combined by the author with results about bus users from the DAS (for internal DAS use only).  Hence, the title of this article.

This interactive internet map is used to capture numerous variables in a single image that can be used interactively without owning any software other than a browser.  Thus, some of the power of GIS analysis is transferred to members of the public, allowing them to query records that might not otherwise be readily available to them. 

Link to Interactive Internet Map, made in ArcView 3.2 using ImageMapper from Alta 4, www.alta4.com.--access to the full map, for qualified viewers, available by contacting IMaGe.  Click here to see a link to a partial, but very useful, interactive map showing all bus stops, routes, and bus stop conditions (shelter availability and so forth).