In the Washington, D.C. region, SmarTrip cards used to pay both parking fees and subway fares were considered easy to use and were rated high for usefulness.
Date Posted

Transit Service Integration Practices: An Assessment of U.S. Experiences

Summary Information

This study presents the results of an assessment of transit service integration practices in the United States. Even though little evaluation data is available to quantify the impacts of integrated transit policies and practices, transit agencies agree that service integration supports overall agency goals and benefits customers. This report highlights findings from case studies that examine various types of service integration policies related to infrastructure, schedule, information, fare payment, and special events/emergency services.

A review of the literature was initially performed to obtain a picture of the current state of the practice of transit service integration. The second phase of the project was to gather information about current and past transit agency service integration practices. Transit properties were surveyed through a two step process. An overview survey was administered to a selected group of transit agencies. Responses to the overview survey were used to screen potential candidates for the second stage of the survey. A defined set of criteria were established to narrow down the list of transit properties to participate in the second stage of the survey. The criteria used were integration practice-based and not agency-based.

Based on the responses from the second stage survey, several service integration practices were selected for more in-depth evaluation in the form of site-specific case studies. Case study sites were selected for a variety of reasons:


  • Innovative institutional and funding arrangements between local and regional agencies.
  • Availability of data to measure impacts.
  • A complex environment where coordination efforts have focused on reversing trends that have led to fragmentation of the region's transit system.
  • The region offers a unique example of joint operation of transit services.
  • The region has unique characteristics that help promote service integration practices.
  • Local agencies pre-date the rise of a new regional entity that is attempting to engineer service integration.


Washington D.C. was one of the 12 agencies that responded to the second stage survey on fare payment integration practices and was selected for case study evaluation.


In the Washington, D.C. region, contactless electronic payment cards (known as SmarTrip) used to pay both parking fees and subway fares were considered easy to use by over 97 percent of card holders surveyed.

Usefulness of the cards was rated at 4.85 on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).

The Washington, D.C. case study illustrates a correlation between fare integration and ridership and the importance of convenient distribution of fare cards.
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