Research Reports

Research Reports2019-04-30T11:50:17-04:00

2019 Public Transportation Fact Book

The Public Transportation Fact Book, published annually, contains national aggregate statistical data covering all aspects of the transit industry in the United States and Canada.


Leveraging Big Data in the Public Transportation Industry

Public transportation agencies generate large amounts of data as part of their daily operations. These agencies are working with private sector partners to use these data sources to provide valuable insight and improve public transportation service and efficiency. Leveraging Big Data requires long-term investment in infrastructure and talent, and it is poised to have a larger role in public transportation funding decisions.


Public Transit Increases Exposure to Automated Vehicle Technology

Automated Vehicle (AV) advancement is being pursued intensely by the technology and automobile industries. AV development is progressing in the public transportation industry through pilot programs, partnerships, private sector involvement, and research by the federal government and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). Public transit agencies will face complex challenges in implementing AV technology over the coming decades, though there is hope that it will lead to improved operations, more efficient cost structures, and enhanced safety.


Infrastructure Proposal: Critically Needed Public Transportation Projects

Bipartisan efforts to enact and infrastructure investment bill will provide a critically important opportunity to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs. At least $232 billion in critical public transportation investments are identified for funding by an infrastructure bill.


The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation

This 2019 brochure highlights how new technologies, data capabilities and business platforms have disrupted transportation, rapidly changing how people move and redefining urban mobility. It further explains how partnerships between public agencies and private entities can result in better operations and increased service in this new mobility landscape. Why not make your business part of this growth?


Strong BUILD Program Is Critical for Public Transportation Projects

The BUILD grant program is an extremely valuable resource for the public transportation industry, which depends on grant funds for capital projects. APTA research shows that the percentage of BUILD grant funds for public transportation-related projects in Fiscal Years (FY) 2017 and 2018 is substantially lower than the historical average. However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 contains significant changes that should restore some balance to the BUILD program.


Public Transit Leading in Transition to Clean Technology

The transportation sector is now the largest greenhouse gas emitting sector. Public transit agencies have been reducing their impact by modernizing their bus fleets, with now more than 21 percent of vehicles being hybrid-electric in 2018, and with agencies turning to pure electric buses. While capital costs for battery electric buses remain higher than those of traditional buses, lifetime costs of battery electric buses have been shown to be lower and have additional positive externalities compared with traditional buses. Public transit agencies nationwide are taking advantage of federal and state grant programs to acquire new electric vehicles.


Transformation of the American Commuter (Report Cover)

The Transformation of the American Commuter

The American commuter is no longer required to settle for private automobiles as their main way of getting around.More than three in four Americans (77%) see public transit as the backbone of a multi-transit lifestyle that includes current and future technologies such as ride-hailing (e.g. companies like Uber and Lyft), bikesharing, carsharing, autonomous vehicles (AVs) and other emerging technologies, according our new study.


Public Transit Is Key Strategy in Advancing Vision Zero, Eliminating Traffic Fatalities

As the movement toward Vision Zero grows, public transit is increasingly recognized as a core strategy to support safe mobility for all. Public transportation is one of the safest ways to travel. It is ten times safer per mile than traveling by car because it has less than a tenth the per-mile traffic casualty (injury or death) rate as automobile travel.


The Benefits of Reliable Federal Funding for Public Transportation

There is a bipartisan consensus that the United States is falling behind its global competitors on the condition of our infrastructure. Policies addressing the current lack of investment would have the potential to generate economic growth and enhance productivity. Guaranteed annual funding provides benefits that nonguaranteed funds do not, from spurring innovation and job creation to getting more “bang” for the federal buck. This paper examines guaranteed transit funding specifically and concludes that this type of infrastructure spending provides numerous benefits.

The Economic Cost of Failing to Modernize Public Transportation

Our failure to adequately invest in public transportation infrastructure holds back America’s economy. Absent of increased investment, the country would see $340 billion less in cumulative business sales over the next six years. This translates to a loss of $180 billion in cumulative gross national product (GNP) and a loss of $109 billion in household income. This equates to over 160,000 fewer jobs. The economy benefits when transit operators can devote resources toward expanding and modernizing service in response to emerging growth.


Understanding Recent Ridership Changes

APTA’s Policy Research Team has identified four major factors causing public transportation ridership declines, and the steps agencies can take to mitigate those factors and positively impact ridership.

Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns

While it is sometimes assumed that public transportation is only essential for large urban areas with significant traffic congestion, this report shows that public transportation can also play an important role in rural areas and small towns. Although public transit serves a minor portion of total rural travel, the trips that are provided are particularly valuable.


Evaluating Value Capture Financing Options for Public Transportation

This summary of TCRP Research Report 190 describes and provides examples of several value capture arrangements being used by cities and transit agencies.


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Fair Treatment: Commuters and Tax Reform

Changes to the tax code are possible with the election of a new administration and new members of Congress. Embedded in the code is a transportation fringe benefit that has positively impacted public transit agencies, employers, commuters, government and the environment. The program has yielded numerous positive outcomes, and continuation of this fringe benefit is advisable.


Who Rides Public Transportation

Public transit riders are part of the engine that powers America’s economy, with 87% of public transit trips directly impacting the economy through connecting people to employers needing workers and to retail and entertainment venues. Seventy-one percent of public transportation riders across the country are employed, and another 7% are students. This study, authored by the CJI Research Corporation, is the most extensive demographic report of public transit riders ever, with nearly 700,000 passenger surveys.


The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation

The most effective life-saving traffic safety tool for a commuter and a community may be the daily metro transit pass. A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90 percent simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car. This means traveling by public transportation is ten times safer per mile than traveling by auto. Transit-oriented communities are five times safer than automobile-oriented communities. This means public transit cuts a community’s crash risk in half even for those who do not use public transit. Public transportation communities spur compact development which reduces auto miles traveled and produces safer speeds.


Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Technology is transforming transportation. The ability to conveniently request, track, and pay for trips via mobile devices is changing the way people get around and interact with cities. This report examines the relationship of public transportation to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, and ridesourcing services provided by companies such as Uber and Lyft. This research shows that the more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.


Public Transportation’s Role in the Knowledge Economy

Public Transportation is critical in connecting workers with employment opportunities in innovation districts where knowledge-focused businesses and institutions cluster. This analysis finds that if the public transportation services envisioned in the innovation districts’ long-range plans are realized, additional businesses would relocate and productivity would increase. Because better access to workers enhances efficiency, new economic activity is generated.


Economic Impact Report Cover

Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment

Groundbreaking analysis measures public transportation’s impact on the nation’s economic productivity for the first time. Investment in transit can yield 50,731 jobs per $1 billion invested, and offers a 4 to 1 economic return. Investment offers productivity gains long after the short-term stimulative effect.


A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth

This joint report produced with the U.S. Travel Association examines how cities with rail stations connected directly to airport terminals can realize increases in hotel performance. The report compares six cities with direct rail access from their airport terminal to five cities without. The analysis found that from 2006-2013, hotels in the cities with direct rail access brought in 10.9% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.


Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset

This report seeks to understand the mindsets behind the decline in driving among millennials and understand the implications of this and other trends for public transportation in the United States, utilizing a mixture of in-depth interviews and a survey of 1,000 people in six cities that are representative of the types of cities Millennials find attractive.


The New Real Estate Mantra

This paper shows that average sales prices for residences near public transportation were more resilient during the Great Recession than their respective regions as a whole.


Older APTA Policy Briefs

Browse through prior APTA research.

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