Transit benefits

DART provides nearly five million rides to central Iowa residents and visitors each year. Our services benefit both those who ride DART and those who do not by helping to strengthen local communities and the economy. A strong public transit system benefits the communities it serves in several ways.


Top five reasons people ride DART

Graph showing the top five reasons people ride DART. 43 percent ride to or from work, 16 percent ride to/from health/medical appointments, 13 percent ride to go shopping, 9 percent ride to social/recreation activities and 7 percent ride to school.

DART’s services ensure everyone in our region has access to opportunity. For some central Iowans, transit is the only means they have to get to work, medical appointments, school and more.

Our diverse group of riders range in age, socio-economic status and dependency on transit. DART conducts a survey of our riders biannually to learn how we are meeting their needs. This survey also allows us to collect some demographic information so we understand who we are serving.

Graph showing ages of DART riders. 26 percent are 34 years-old or younger, 17 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44 years-old, 17 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54 years-old, 19 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64 years old and 16 percent are age 65 or older.Graph showing DART riders with a valid driver's license. 48 percent do not have a valid driver's license, while 52 percent say yes they do have a valid driver's license. Graph showing the total household income for DART riders. 10 percent of riders have a household income of 75 thousand dollars or more per year, 8 percent have a total household income between 50 thousand and 74,999 dollars per year, 26 percent have a total household income between 25 thousand and 49,999 dollars per year and 56 percent have a total household income of 24,999 dollars per year or less.

Economic Vitality

DART helps to make Greater Des Moines competitive and drives the possibilities for our region and the communities we serve. A strong public transit system supports job creation and retention and fosters economic activity. This includes:

  • Every $1 invested in transit results in $4 in economic development.*
  • 87 percent of public transit trips directly benefit the economy, with riders spending or making money. **

DART works with our member communities and local private and public partners to ensure that our region remains a great place to live, work and play. Through partnerships, DART has managed to expand its transit network to offer rides to new areas of our region without increasing property taxes.

Quality of Life

By 2040, Greater Des Moines’ population is expected to reach 1 million. In that same time, we will experience a 40% increase in jobs. This is why it’s so important to put the right infrastructure in place to support this growth, and keep our region a top place to live, work and play.

Through investing in our local infrastructure by strengthening public transit we will be able to help mitigate challenges. For example, investing in public transit can help to reduce the number of commuters driving, helping to maintain commute times. 


* American Public Transportation Association (APTA), "Economic Recovery: Promoting Growth the Benefits of Public Transportation"
** American Public Transportation Association (APTA), "Nearly 90% of Public Transit Trips Impact Economy Through Work Commute and Consumer Spending"

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