They key implication of this research for practice is the potential to add additional performance measures of transit agencies. Common knowledge in transit practice and research is that ridership is the paramount metric against which all agencies are measured. This can be problematic because it leads to service planning decisions that cater to the discretionary rider. Discretionary riders are those with other means of transportation beyond transit, typically with access to a personal automobile. These riders have been the focus of transit agency for some time because they offer the largest potential gains for ridership if service becomes more attractive to the point where they might to choose to ride transit over making the trip by auto. However, with the dominance of ridership as the most important performance measurement of transit agencies, and agency decisions to accommodate discretionary riders with service decisions, this brings up questions of equity. If service decisions are being made solely with choice riders in mind, potentially at the expense of transit dependent riders, there can certainly be issues of fairness.
One simple explanation for the the dominance of ridership as an all-important performance measure is the fact that it is easy to measure. Automated person counters (APCs) have made figures reliable and easily comparable. What if, however, other important facets of transit agency performance were made to be more easily measured. The creation of the Transit Equity Index (TEI) will provide transit agencies the ability to comprehensively measure how proposed changes to service will affect their efficacy in promoting social equity. This tool will help agencies and policy makers understand how they can shape transit service in a way that is both effective for spurring ridership and equitable for all users.