How the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Used Community Feedback to Improve Rider Satisfaction

How the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Used Community Feedback to Improve Rider Satisfaction
City Size
Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio.
The Greater Cleveland area has a population of around 2.1 million.
Daily Ridership
The Greater Cleveland RTA has a daily ridership of over 75,000 and an annual ridership of over 22.4 million.

Transit Authority Profile

Established in 1974, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) serves as a vital component of the transportation infrastructure within the Greater Cleveland area, covering Cuyahoga County. The RTA serves the diverse residents of Northeast Ohio, with 58 municipalities and a population exceeding 1.4 million. Ranked as the nation’s thirteenth-largest public transportation system, the Greater Cleveland RTA plays a significant role in facilitating mobility and connectivity for the region’s residents. It offers a broad range of transit services, including bus services, rail services, paratransit services, and bus rapid transit. As the Greater Cleveland RTA continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of its diverse community, it faces unique challenges that require innovative solutions and strategic planning for sustainable growth and impact.


The RTA faces unique challenges in maintaining its effectiveness and relevance amidst evolving transportation needs and trends, compounded by the aging infrastructure of the city of Cleveland. To address these issues, the Greater Cleveland RTA seeks to scale its performance metrics in order to enhance customer experience, community value, financial stability, and employee engagement. Previous attempts with other survey firms yielded unsatisfactory results, leading to a lack of trust in survey data and prolonged analysis timelines. Additionally, the RTA recognizes the importance of inclusivity within its services, given the wide range of non-English speaking residents within its diverse customer base. Overcoming language barriers requires tailored strategies and active engagement within the community. These challenges highlight the importance of reliable data sources and efficient analysis processes, critical pillars for the RTA’s continued success and effectiveness in serving the Greater Cleveland community.


Following a thorough procurement and review process, the Greater Cleveland RTA decided to partner with ETC Institute, a data analysis firm specializing in survey design and administration. ETC Institute’s expertise and track record in surveys and analytics for transit authorities, coupled with the ability to create and administer multilingual surveys, aligned perfectly with RTA’s objectives of improving service inclusivity and data integrity. The partnership with ETC Institute began conducting thorough customer experience surveys, measuring riders’ perceptions and satisfaction levels. RTA has significantly benefited from access to statistically valid survey results, leading to an expanded and deeper collaboration with the ETC Institute. In addition to the original focus, ETC’s Institute’s partnership with RTA now includes surveys targeting community value, financial stability, and employee engagement. The RTA has leveraged this expanded data set to enhance transit services and improve operational efficiencies, ultimately benefiting transit users across the Greater Cleveland area.

“I would recommend ETC for many reasons. They are reliable, trustworthy, and have exceptional timing and very reasonable fees. The finished product along with the relationship that we gain from ETC Institute is very important to us.”

Natoya Walker-Minor
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority


The partnership with ETC Institute has yielded tangible results for RTA, driving improvements across various performance indicators:

  • Enhanced trust within the organization and increased operational efficiency through employee satisfaction surveys
  • Boosted inclusivity by offering surveys in 12 different languages
  • Improved the decision-making process by utilizing qualitative market research metrics

Through ETC Institute’s data collection efforts, the Greater Cleveland RTA has learned that 89% of community members feel that the RTA is valuable to the Cleveland Region.

Are you curious about the insights a ridership survey can offer your community? Contact a member of the ETC Transportation Survey Team today. 
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