About TRU

TRU is proud to receive the GuideStar Silver Seal of Transparency.Transportation Riders United is a nonprofit that has been working since 1999 to improve public transit in greater Detroit through education, engagement, and advocacy.

TRU believes everyone should be able to get where they need to go. 

We educate, mobilize, and advocate for more and better public transit and other affordable mobility options throughout metro Detroit.

TRU’s mission statement, officially adopted Nov 13, 2019

Our VISION: Universal Access

  • All people in greater Detroit will have reliable, safe, and affordable access to the places they live, work, shop, and play through a high-quality transit system.
  • An integrated network of buses, trains, bike routes, and other transportation options will seamlessly connect our cities, region, and beyond.
  • This system will foster attractive livable neighborhoods, enhance business opportunities and improve the environmental quality of the region.

Our VALUES: Trustworthy Teamwork for the Public Interest

Megan testifying before SEMCOG
TRU Director Megan Owens presented facts to the SEMCOG Assembly in a coordinated effort to minimize the I-94 expansion
  • TRU is dedicated to serving the public’s best interest. We are part of the community and work on behalf of the community.
  • TRU works hard because we are confident that we can make a difference over the long-term. We are results-oriented and mission-driven.
  • TRU believes in collaboration and teamwork. We seek to engage new and diverse partners and supporters.
  • TRU is committed to providing trustworthy information and to making well- reasoned, evidence-based decisions.
  • TRU values openness and respectful candor. We strive to always act with honesty and integrity.


Our volunteer Board of Directors sets our mission and priorities, ensures sufficient resources, and oversees our activities. 

Our small but active staff lead and manage TRU’s daily activities, which include research, education, engagement, outreach, and advocacy.

Our members, partners, and supporters provide the resources, input, and activism essential to bring about positive change.


While there are hundreds of ways we could potentially help improve and promote public transit (and dozens of things we wish we could do), we carefully analyze and strategically decide each year where our time, voice, and effort can bring about the greatest positive change. Here are some of our current top priority efforts:

  1. Advocate to Restore Bus Reliability by Boosting Driver Pay
    • Spotlight how the no-show bus crisis and low driver wages are devastating riders and our community
  2. Enhance State Support for Transit as a Critical Climate Solution
    • Advocate for effective implementation of transit goals in the MI Healthy Climate Plan
    • Mobilize allies statewide to push MDOT for greater transit investment and prioritization
  3. Support Regionwide Transit Investment
  4. Maximize Federal Funding to Advance Transit
    • Urge MDOT, SEMCOG, RTA and agencies to maximize the impact of unprecedented levels of federal transit investment
  5. Enhance TRU’s Partnerships and Impact
    • Develop a Friends of Transit network of organizations and businesses that agree transit is worth investing in.
    • Grow our financial support and professional staff for long-term sustainability


As a nonprofit organization, our work is only possible through the generous support of our members, sponsors, and funders.

  • Special thanks to the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, Energy Foundation, United Way of Southeast Michigan, Beaumont, and Forth for their generous support over the past few years.
  • Thank you also to the wonderful sponsors of our events and programs
  • Enormous thanks also to each and every individual who has donated to TRU, ranging from $5 to $5,000.

Please donate today to support our work.


In the interest of full openness and transparency, TRU’s financial records are available for public review: