Charlotte, N.C. topped the nation in public transit use growth between 2006 and 2008, increasing 47 percent based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, a monthly randomly-sampled survey of area residents, which included questions about commuting choices.
During the time period, ridership on Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) grew 30.5 percent with all service categories experiencing double digit growth.
In the last month of 2007, CATS opened the state's first light rail system, the LYNX Blue line, which helped fuel growth in 2008. Evidence that people have switched to public transit is a 2009 survey in which 72 percent of LYNX riders commuted by car prior to opening of the line.
There were many factors that fueled the growth in ridership on the CATS system, including increased and more convenient services, improved on-time performance, enhanced customer service and rise in the average cost of gasoline by 22 percent.
Of the top ten cities listed in the U.S. OMB report, which includes Denver, San Antonio and St. Louis, seven have implemented light rail and one has commuter rail service, many integrated with transit-oriented-development and with a dedicated funding source for public transit.