Implementing Transit in Towns: A Case Study of the Carlisle Circulator

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Michael Beevers




While large cities are commonly associated with public transit, towns are also places where people look to public transit as a service for their community. Many times, this means creating a new transit system where there was none before. One of the main problems with implementing a new transportation system is getting people to ride it for the first time, particularly in towns where the majority of people either has a car or has access to one, but transit implementation brings with it other challenges including optimizing accessibility. Nevertheless, there is a population that doesn’t drive, including senior citizens and those who can’t drive, and without public transportation these people can have difficulty getting to where they need to go. Towns have characteristics that differ from cities, and challenges therefore manifest themselves uniquely in towns.

In April of 2014, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, implemented its first local bus service in decades. This case study aims to analyze how towns implement transit systems, and what challenges they face, by conducting surveys of bus riders and interviews of key stakeholders. Primary findings suggest that transit planning in towns creates equitable access to locations and services, not efficient access. Also, targeting populations most likely to ride (such as seniors) is also important to making sure the bus is used and is successful.

Full text currently unavailable.