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American Public Transportation Association

 New Publications

  • The transportation sector is now the largest greenhouse gas emitting sector. Moving to cleaner fuel sources can help reduce emissions, and can be a key component of a region’s Climate Action Plan. A dramatic shift has been occurring in the makeup of transit bus fleets, with over 17 percent of the fleet electric/hybrid in 2016. While capital costs remain higher than traditional buses, lifetime costs of battery electric buses have been shown to be lower than other fuel options with additional positive externalities. Transit agencies across the country have been taking bold steps in pursuing alternative fuel transit vehicles, with help from state and federal grant programs.

  • The Transformation of the American Commuter - December 2018
    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 p​ublic 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​ - August 2018
    As the movement toward Vision Zero grows – with more than 30 U.S. communities committing to the goal of zero traffic deaths – 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​ - July 2018
    ​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 - May 2018
    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 - March 2018​
    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. This paper is available only to APTA members.

  • The Business Case for Infrastructure Investment​​ - March 2018
    Demand for public transportation continues to grow, which will require both private support as well as federal government investment. Further, much of the innovation in transportation emanates from private sector, venture capital-backed support of “smart” cities through technology. Public transit is so popular at the state and local levels that since 2000, the average success rate of transit ballot measures is 71 percent. The regions with the best mobility networks continue to grow. Why not make your business part of this growth?

  • Public Transportation's Impact on Rural and Small Towns - October 2017​
    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.​

  • Framework for Assessing the Return on Investment from High-Speed and Intercity Rail Projects - September 2017
    This report reviews 47 prior studies that have assessed benefits, costs, economic impacts and/or social impacts of High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HS&IPR) proposals. The review shows consensus that HS&IPR can have broad societal benefits that go far beyond time and cost for users. There is, however, a lack of consistency regarding coverage of alternative travel modes, breadth of study areas and time periods, and the set of wider societal benefits that are covered.​ This report provides a guide to developing a comprehensive study of the potential impacts of proposed HS&IPR projects.
  • The background report can be accessed here​.

  • Evaluating Value Capture Financing Options for Public Transportation - August 2017
    This summary of TCRP Research Report 190 describes and provides examples of several value capture arrangements being used by cities and transit agencies.

  • ​​Fair Treatment: Commuters and Tax Reform - May 2017
    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, emplo​​yers, commuters, government and the environment. The program has yielded numerous positive outcomes, and continuation of this fringe benefit is advisable

  • Economic Implications from Proposed Public Transportation Capital Funding Cuts - April 2017
    The Administration’s proposed funding cuts for transit capital projects would jeopardize $38 billion of planned projects that would provide 500,000 hard hat jobs and an additional 300,000 long-term jobs from productivity benefits. These cuts would have a negative impact on GDP of $45 billion over 10 years.

  • Public Transportation: Major Economic Contributor as Part of Infrastructure Proposal - March 2017

  • Who Rides Public Transportation - March 2017
    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 - September 2016

  • 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. 

  • ​​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 - March 2016
    This groundbreaking study shows that planned public transportation investments will yield a 2 to 1 return while helping to generate income for local businesses, its workers and their neighborhoods. In fact, this investment will yield more than $174 billion in business sales in the three cites examined. Our study authors examined the emerging tech sectors in Silicon Beach, CA; Austin, TX; and Durham, NC and looked at public transportation’s emerging role in enhancing access to employees and promoting critical entrepreneurial infrastructure.

  • Open for Business: The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation - March 2016
    Mobility in the United States is undergoing an evolution, driving new partnerships and challenging the traditional boundary between public and private realms. In fact, much of the innovation in transportation is coming from private sector, venture capital-backed support of smarter cities through technology. Though viewed as a primarily public-sector function, public transportation is proving to be the backbone of the multimodal, on-demand economy that private sector innovation is driving today.

  • 2015 APTA Annual Report - November 2015
    APTA's 2015 Annual Report highlights the association's many efforts throughout the year, including communication, legislative, and advocacy efforts, as well as conferences, standards development, workforce development, and other activities.
  • 2015 APTA Public Transportation Fact Book - November 2015
    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.
  • ​The Impact of ​Raising Insurance Liability Caps - October 2015
    This paper examines the consequences of increasing the $200 million cap on passenger liability claims for passenger railroads, as proposed by the DRIVE Act. 
  • 2015 APTA High-Speed Train Survey - September 2015
    In a survey conducted by TechnoMetrica for APTA, two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans are likely to use high-speed trains if high-speed rail were available today. This jumps to nearly seventy (67) percent when respondents were informed of the costs and time saving benefits of high-speed rail service. Accompanying infographic
  • Update on Public Transportation Agencies Providing Real-Time Data - August 2015
    Adoption of real-time information technology continues at a rapid pace, according to new information from APTA's 2014 Public Transportation Infrastructure Database
  • Value Capture for Public Transportation Projects: Examples - August 2015
    Public transportation projects can benefit when increased tax revenue generated by those projects is directed to fund them.
  • Public Transportation Embracing Open Data - August 2015
    Public transportation agencies across the country are releasing data for public use, and realizing benefits.
  • This report shows why public transportation is an attractive market for both public and private investment. The public transportation industry is supported by growing demand, and bolstered by long-term demographic and consumer preference shifts.
  • An Analysis of Bus Axle Weight Issues - November 2014
    This report provides information to help decision‐makers identify options to reduce bus weight, mitigate the negative impacts of transit buses exceeding weight limits, and address competing regulations in this area.
  • Procurement Handbook: A Guide for Transit Industry Executives
    Procurement has become an integral part of every public transportation agency’s overall business strategy. This Handbook provides transit executives with an understanding of fundamental procurement principles. Issues include roles and responsibilities, planning, contract essentials, compliance, and how to avoid problems. The document can be printed or used as an online tool by clicking on topics of interest on the Contents page.
  • Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment - May 2014
    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.
  • The Role of Transit in Support of High Growth Business Clusters in the U.S. - December 2013
    This study addresses issues of business productivity, market access and transit service for high growth business clusters in the United States. The study draws on eight high-growth knowledge-oriented business clusters and their transportation conditions in six US cities to provide an estimate of the total national income and employment consequences of congestion and how investment in public transportation can alleviate those consequences.
  • A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth - November 2013
    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 - October 2013
    The Millennial Generation, those born between 1982 and 2003, is the largest and most diverse generation in American history. They are also living through times of economic dislocation and technological change. Recent research shows that rates of driving are down, and Millennials are leading the trend. This report seeks to further understand the mindsets behind these trends and understand their implications 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.
  • APTA Surveys Transit Agencies on Providing Information and Real-Time Arrivals to Customers - September 2013
    The results of a survey conducted by APTA on the ways in which transit agencies are providing real-time arrival information to transit passengers.
  • Americans' Support for Public Transportation - June 2013
    This survey conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute provides evidence that there is growing support for an already strong majority of people in favor of expanding public transportation. Nearly 74 percent of respondents agreed to use of their tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their community.
  • 2013 "Travel Like a Local" Summer Travel Survey - May 2013
    Nearly three in five Americans visiting a major U.S. city this summer plan to use public transportation during their stay. The five most popular cities for travel this summer are New York, Miami, Chicago, Orlando and San Francisco. The survey found that Millennials (18-24) are most likely to use public transportation while on vacation, with 73 percent reporting yes. Major motivators for using public transportation included not having to worry about finding a parking space (73 percent), saving money on parking fees (69 percent), and not having to navigate a car within a new city (64 percent).
  • The Future of Public Transportation Employment: Bold Visions, Bringing Exciting Opportunities - May 2013
    A shift is underway, as Americans begin to seek more robust transportation choices. Public transportation is at the center of the shift, and as a result, public transportation will need to invest in an even more skilled workforce. New job opportunities and careers will provide those interested in transit-related careers a chance to change America.
  • The New Real Estate Mantra - March 2013
    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.
  • Transit on the Cutting Edge of Clean Technology - September 2012
    This white paper reviews the substantial progress that transit agencies have made in investing in innovative clean technologies and fuels, such as electricity, hybrid vehicles, electric storage, biofuels, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells. Transit, in fact, has often been on the cutting edge of adopting these clean technologies, driven in part by a range of federal and state policies, programs, and incentives.
  • Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High Performance Passenger Rail in the United States - July 2012
    This paper addresses the initial investment and on-going cost of operation and maintenance of high-performance passenger rail (HPPR) in four of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sanctioned HPPR regional networks – Northeast, Chicago Hub, California, and Northwest – over a 40 year period. The system can generate a net benefit of at least $660 million annually. If the nation should forgo this opportunity, it stands to sustain a cost of at least $26.4 billion in foregone economic benefits over the next four decades.
  • High-Speed Rail: On the Move in America - July 2012
    High-speed rail is critical to America’s economic future. Congestion on our highways and runways already costs $130 billion a year, and our population is expected to grow by another 100 million people in the next 40 years. That is the key rationale behind the Obama Administration’s more than $10 billion investment in high-speed and passenger rail projects across the country.
  • APTA High-Speed Train Survey - May 2012
    The results of a national survey that show that nearly two-thirds of Americans are interested in traveling by high-speed rail and the figure soars to 74 percent among those in the 18-24 age brackets.
  • Public Transportation Protects Americans From Gas Price Volatility - May 2012
    This paper highlights the role that public transit plays in protecting Americans from price volatility, as well as strategies that can buffer Americans from future gas price shocks.
  • Mobility Management: Customer-Focused Public Transportation - March 2012
    Mobility Management seeks to create and coordinate a full range of well-synchronized mobility services within a community- "a one-stop shop for mobility options," according to one public transit agency general manager.
  • Economic Recovery: Promoting Growth - March 2012
    This white paper focuses on the many economic benefits derived from  public transportation. Members are encouraged to use this document when reaching out to their legislators.
  • Rural Communities: Expanding Horizons - March 2012
    This white paper details the need for investment in public transportation in small urban and rural areas throughout the nation. Members are encouraged to use this document when reaching out to their legislators.
  • House Proposal Erodes Credit Ratings, Ties Hands of American Communities - February 2012
    This report explains the implications of the tax title approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on February 3.
  • An Inventory of the Criticisms of High-Speed Rail - January 2012
    This report is the summary of extensive research that examined the criticism that has been leveled over the past three years at the national efforts to improve intercity passenger rail and introduce true high-speed passenger rail in the United States.  The report defines eight broad categories of criticism of high-speed rail and offers several counterarguments to each.
  • 2011 APTA Annual Report
    The 2011 APTA Annual Report details the many significant activities APTA undertook on behalf of its members to continue making public transportation a national priority. The report provides and account of APTA's efforts including: communicating the benefits of public transportation, strides in standards development and workforce development, and making the case for federal investment through a multi-year, multimodal surface transportation authorization bill.
  • An Analysis of Proposed U.S. House of Representatives Actions and Their Impact on Public Transportation - September 2011
    This report analyzes the impact of a one-third cut in federal public transportation spending proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The report estimates that 620,000 jobs would be lost over the course of a six-year authorization period as a result of the cuts.  The report also includes survey responses from APTA member transit agencies and businesses.
  • Light Rail Vehicle Request for Proposals (RFP) Procurement Guidelines - July 2011
    This is the first edition of the APTA standard light rail vehicle procurement guideline including both procurement terms and conditions and technical specifications. Please provide feedback to APTA on how it worked and what changes might be needed. Transit agencies and their vehicle consultants are requested to let APTA staff know when they are using the document. APTA staff contacts are Fran Hooper ( for procurement issues and Martin Schroeder ( for technical specification issues.
  • Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies: Update - August 2011
  • The Case for Business Investment in High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail - March 2011
    This report focuses on key issues critical to private investors as they consider investments or future expansion into business serving growing passenger rail markets.  It highlights national and international trends, the market potential in the U.S. future funding sources, and the need for public support
  • Potential Impact of Gasoline Price Increases on U.S. Public Transportation Ridership, 2011-2012 - March 2011
    This study examines several sources that detail varying elasticities between gas prices and public transportation ridership.  It uses those sources to predict the impact that rising gas prices will have on public transportation ridership, using APTA's 2010 ridership figures as a baseline.
  • Business Member Economic Outlook for 2011 - February 2011
  • High-Speed Rail Investment Background Data - February 2011
    Definitions of categories of high-speed rail are presented with a history of federal laws supporting high-speed rail.  Historical and projected growth trends of passenger trips, vehicles, and agencies for all types passenger rail are calculated.  High-speed rail policy, plan, and need statements from APTA and other organizations are described.  Summaries of research detailing high-speed rail land use impact, energy use and emissions reduction, and economic benefits are presented.
  • Regional Organizational Models for Public Transportation - January 2011
    This study examines the processes of governance transformation that have been employed to respond to the opportunities for and challenges to providing regional public transportation. Case studies of eight regions of various sizes and providing geographic diversity across the U.S. provide insights into the impetus for governance transformation, the direction of the changes being implemented, and the mechanism(s) for change, as well as accomplishments, lessons learned and ongoing challenges.
  • The Route to Carbon and Energy Savings - November 2010
    This report identifies a portfolio of strategies that transit agencies can take to reduce the energy use and GHG emissions of their operations and estimates the potential impacts of those strategies in 2030 and 2050. Using interviews and current literature, a portfolio of 17 high-priority strategies were selected for analysis based on their potential for reducing GHG emissions over the medium and long term.
  • Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines 2011 - October 2010
    This completely updated specification replaces previous versions of the White Book and provides details for the procurement of buses 30 feet to articulated bus lengths and multiple propulsion and fuel types. This document contains language for a full RFP including Terms and Conditions and Technical specifications.
  • Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits - June 2010
    This report by Todd Litman investigates ways that public transportation affects human health, and ways to incorporate these impacts into transport policy and planning decisions. This research indicates that public transit improvements and more transit oriented development can provide large but often overlooked health benefits.
  • Primer on Transit Funding - June 2010
    SAFETEA-LU is the current authorizing law which establishes authority to appropriate General Revenues and to spend trust fund monies through limitations on obligations, for highways and transit, on an annual basis from Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 through FY 2009. It includes a detailed explanation of SAFETEA-LU and historical federal transit funding levels.
  • Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies - March 2010
    This report, based on a March 2010 survey, provides a national perspective on the extent to which the current recession is affecting public transit agencies and the tens of millions of Americans who use their services.
  • Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population - March 2010
  • Public Transportation: Moving America Forward - January 2010
    This overview highlights the many benefits of public transportation for individuals and communities. The economic, environmental and social benefits of public transit are detailed. It includes the latest statistics and examples to illustrate the benefits.

    Members: up to 25 free/$0.50 each for 26+, Nonmembers: $1.00, Hard copy available in the APTA bookstore.
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