Transportation systems are central to all cities, and city planners and policy makers take special interest in assuring these systems are efficient, functional, sustainable, and, increasingly, that they have a positive impact on human health. In addition, vehicular emissions are increasingly costly to cities due to congestion and its impact on public health. This study aims to show the associations between the media and environmental variables and associated transit ridership. By tracking media influence, we illustrated how media coverage and attention to an issue over time may impact public opinion and ridership outcomes, especially at the local level where the issues are most salient. The relationship between air quality and transit ridership shown can be generally explained through a combination of infrastructure and human behavior. The media key terms examined in this analysis show that ridership is associated with favorable weather conditions and air quality, suggesting that ridership volume may be influenced by an overall sense of comfort and safety. Based on this analysis, we illustrated the role of media attention in both increased and decreased transit ridership and how such effects are compounded by air quality conditions (e.g., green, yellow, orange, and red air quality days).
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