Management objectives and the causes of mass transit deficits

Ian Savage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Based on data for the period from 1948 to 1997, exogenous decreases in demand and increases in costs are estimated to have reduced the annual profitability of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) by $1 billion. Half of this decline was recouped by reductions in service, increased fares and increased productivity. Even more would have been recouped had the CTA not given away earlier productivity gains during the 1970s. This was during a period when subsidies were increasing rapidly, and seemingly without constraint. When faced with financial challenges, management has preferred to increase fares rather than reduce service levels to the detriment of social welfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-199
Number of pages19
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Chicago
  • Management objectives
  • Subsidies
  • Transit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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