Source: Federal Highway Administration; California Department of Transportation. Note: The areas that are not shaded in are outside of a MSA. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • Across Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in California, the average increase in unlinked passenger trips (UPTs) stood at 27.9 percent from 2021 to 2022, slightly slower than the national average growth of 28.6 percent during the same period. However, in 2022, the unlinked passenger trips (UPTs) in California still 39.2 percent lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic level. Notably, several MSAs experienced significant jumps in UPTs from 2021 to 2022. Davis, CA recorded the highest increase nationally with an impressive 109.8 percent, followed by San Francisco-Oakland, CA at 96.8 percent, Bay City, MI increased by 88.9 percent, and Santa Cruz, CA increased by 75.6 percent. Most of the large increase is due to the easement of nationwide travel restrictions in 2020.
  • The average amount of unlinked passenger trips (UPTs) in California by county were 39.2 percent lower in 2022 than in 2019, but more than the 27.9 percent in 2021. UPTs were 53 percent lower in 2021 than the 2019 level across all counties. Despite the increase from 2021 to 2022, the UPTs in 2022 in Davis, CA remained 44 percent lower than 2019 level. On the other hand, UPTs in Lake Tahoe, CA-NV is 3.9 percent higher. Lake Tahoe, CA-NV is also the only county in California that had higher unlinked passenger trips in 2022, when compares to 2019 level. The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved significant funding for alternative transportation in North Lake Tahoe. The approval includes a contract with Tahoe Downtowner LLC for TART Connect service, extending it through June 30, 2024, with $2.6 million allocated from Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), and a $0.2 million funding agreement with the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association for the continued operation of the North Lake Tahoe Express airport shuttle.86
  • While there was a general increase in UPTs from 2021 to 2022, it's important to highlight that three Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in California experienced a decline in their UPT figures. Specifically, Visalia, CA witnessed a 0.5 percent decrease in 2022 compared to 2021, and Fairfield, CA saw a notable 6.7% decline during the same period. Among them, Redding, CA stood out with the remarkable drop of 46.5 percent compared to the previous year, making it the MSA with the largest decline in the United States. Redding, California has experienced a consistent decline in ridership since 2016, with a 2.7 percent decrease from 2015. The impact of the pandemic was significant, resulting in a 34.0 percent drop from 2019 to 2020. Subsequently, in 2021, ridership in Redding, CA saw another decline of 16.9 percent from the previous year's 34.0 percent decrease. Unfortunately, the trend continued in 2022, with a substantial 46.5 percent decrease in ridership. Redding, CA has struggled to recover from the pandemic's impact, with the total ridership in 2022 being 70.7 percent lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

86 County of Placer. Board approves funding for alternative transportation sources in North Lake Tahoe. June 15, 2023. Assessed Jan 18, 2024. Available at: