The term “dogfooding”, derived from “eating your own dog food”, is popular in the tech sector, and implies that a company should use its own products wherever it can. Thus, in general, Apple employees should have Macs on their desks rather than Windows machines, and Google employees should use Gmail. The advantages of this are several. Most importantly, bugs can be quickly identified by employees using the system on a daily basis, and feedback can be channeled quickly through the organization. Secondarily, missing features can be quickly identified similarly. Employees will get better empathy for the experience of paying customers.
There are of course limits to this process. You would not expect Boeing Defense employees to take a helicopter home with them, or even operate one on a regular basis. However, for most consumer products companies, this is a highly useful practice.
Applying this to the transportation sector implies employees (including senior management) of highway agencies should use roads to get to work (I am sure this is true for the vast majority of even “multi-modal” DOT or highway agency employees).
Similarly employees, and management, and directors or council-members of transit agencies should ride transit to work.
Update 8/31/14: St. Paul Traffic Engineers should ride the every day until the signal timings are fixed.
Now of course, no-one can systematically use the entire system, everyone is spatially constrained in where they travel. Further, the bus drivers on the first ride of the morning (or the last in the evening) cannot practically ride transit to work in a system that does not operate 24/7, since there is no bus to get the bus driver there, or take her home.
Still, there are many opportunities for many employees, and more importantly, directors and Board members, of transit agencies to use transit, and I think increasing this number would improve service.
I have not seen a local survey in the Twin Cities, but this has been done in other cities.
In fact the travel passes (and especially travel passes for family members) are controversial.
Thanks to the Twitter community for coming up with these examples of transit agency staff dogfooding (or being raked over the coals for free transit passes to encourage dogfooding). If you have other examples, leave them in the comments.