Overall approval of TriMet continues to climb


2016 Attitude & Awareness Survey tracks agency’s performance, services and ridership

Overall public approval of TriMet remains high and improving according to a recently released 2016 Attitude & Awareness Survey. DHM Research conducted the annual telephone poll that tracks TriMet’s performance, service and ridership. They found:

  • Overall job approval increased 8 points, the highest in almost a decade.Overall approval of TriMet continues to climb
    • Strong approval of TriMet rose 20 points to 47 percent.
    • Job approval from frequent or regular riders is 93 percent.
  • On a scale of 1 to 7, where 4 would be the midpoint, MAX is given a reliability rating of 5.8, buses received 5.
  • Convenience is a core consideration for riders. 24 percent of people riding more frequently than a year ago cite convenience as a reason.

TriMet Attitude & Awareness Survey results

TriMet’s approval ratings not only climbed, but strong approvals gained substantially, an indication that customers feel TriMet is meeting their needs and providing service at a reasonable price.

  • TriMet’s overall job approval rating in 2016 was 80 percent. This was the highest approval rating since 2008. Overall approval was 72 percent, 76 percent, and 66 percent in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
  • Bus overall approval was 76 percent, up two points over last year, with riders giving a higher approval of 82 percent.
  • MAX overall approval was 82 percent, up two points over last year, with riders giving a higher rating of 88 percent.
  • The perception that bus and MAX systems were being operated safely continued to rise with ratings of 75 percent and 78 percent, respectively. While overall safety perception rates increased two or three points over last year, strong approval of our safe operation increased 13 to 14 points.
  • For the third year, the survey included questions about bus and MAX reliability. Overall reliability held steady at 76 and 82 percent, respectively.


  • Ridership declined for the second year in a row, down 4 percent over 2015. A slight methodology change, which now sets the respondent’s minimum age to 18, from 16 in years past, may be partially responsible.
  • While frequent and regular ridership increased one to three points, occasional and infrequent riders dropped four points each over the last year.
  • Work trips increased 8 percentage points. Trips to the airport and recreational trips decreased 15 and 9 percentage points, respectively.
  • 77 percent of riders are choice riders – they have a car available or choose not to own a car because they prefer to ride TriMet. This figure has been steady over the past two years.
  • Most riders, 85 percent, are satisfied with their experience on TriMet, while 91 percent of frequent/regular riders say they are satisfied.
  • Riders said they use TriMet most often to recreate or commute to work.

Public mood

  • Fewer than half of the respondents think that the Portland Metro area is headed in the right direction, with a significant jump in those who think the region is on the wrong track.
  • When asked the most important major problem that local government needs to address in the metro region, social issues, including homelessness and affordable housing, ranked highest, followed by transportation, which dropped from being in the top spot last year.
  • Of transportation issues, expanding roads to increase capacity and manage traffic congestion were respondents’ highest concerns, followed by public transportation and road maintenance.
  • Improvements most desired include expanding service and frequency.


The telephone survey included both landlines and cell phones of 800 residents, ages 18+, throughout the TriMet service district and was conducted after the election in mid-November, 2016. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Quotas for age and gender in each county were used for a representative sample.


Survey results can be found here.

DHM Research’s presentation to the TriMet Board of Directors can be found here.