Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Shanna Rose

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© 2020 Julian F Thesseling


This paper will provide readers with an understanding of the variables that US transit agencies grapple with when developing fare policy, with a particular focus on the political process. The framework chapter will examine the objectives of public transportation and how agencies face difficulties in achieving these objectives. While this paper will focus on American transportation policy, the framework will draw from the experiences of cities across the world. Three case study chapters will then each discuss an American city or region’s approach to fare policy, and how variables have either complicated or enhanced agencies’ ability to develop effective fare systems. Lastly, a discussion chapter will bring together the findings from each case study through targeted comparisons. This paper will illustrate how, while public transit in the United States aims to facilitate efficient and equitable societies through fare policy, the politicization of transportation reduces the ability of transit providers to optimally do so. Direct voter control over transportation funding and a decentralized yet consensus-driven governance structure can counter the adverse effects of the political process on US public transit.