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American Public Transportation Association


  • 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.  ​

  • 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 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. ​

  • Light Rail & Streetcar Systems: How They Differ; How They Overlap
    This brochure provides an easy-to-use guide that explains the typical characteristic of light rail and streetcar systems, highlighting what sets them apart and where the differences become fuzzy. This is intended to be a useful tool for civic leaders and the general public as new transportation initiatives are being proposed in their communities, and for practitioners as they strive to explain these initiatives in broadly understood terms. There are many examples that clearly illustrate how we have described light rail and streetcars, as well as the fuzzy middle. Hopefully, this brochure has been an aid in better understanding these two modes of rail transit and a recognition of their common features. Perhaps the best conclusion from this information is that it is less important what you call a rail transit project than it is to understand what flexibility you have in making it work best for you and your community.

  • Final Report of the Grade Crossing and Pedestrian Safety Task Force
    In 1991, the APTA Rail Safety Committee determined that a Grade Crossing and Pedestrian Safety Task Force be formed to "investigate and report on the state of the art of grade crossing and pedestrian safety, and to develop recommendations".  The information contained in this report is intended as a final report of the original task force and provides a summary of the findings of that task force.

  • A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth - November 2013
    This joint report produced with the U.S. Travel Assocation 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.

  • 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 of 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.
  • Light Rail Vehicle Request for Proposals (RFP) Procurement Guidelines - 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.
  • Public Transportation Fare Database
    An annual report of major elements of fare structures by mode for U.S. and Canadian transit agencies. The report includes fixed-route adult base fares, surcharges, common fare payment options, special categorized passenger fares, and demand response (or Paratransit) passenger fares.
  • Public Transportation Infrastructure Database
    A report, published every other year, listing major transit infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada. The report includes rail line data and station, stop and parking data for all modes. The database also includes status, mileage, and opening dates of future rail projects.
  • Public Transportation Vehicle Database
    Annual report of revenue vehicles by fleet characteristics, including date of manufacture, manufacturer, model, length, and equipment. Includes summary tables which group vehicles by mode and list by manufacturer, size, year built, and equipment. Special section on the new vehicle market includes orders, planned orders, prior year deliveries, and vehicle costs. Approximately 300 transit systems included. Published annually in June. Database available for download in Microsoft Excel and Access, and Adobe PDF formats.
  • Financing High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail With Tax Credit Bonds: Policy Issues And Fiscal Impacts - 2008
    This paper presents the results of a fiscal and policy analysis of utilizing a potential tax credit bond financing program to facilitate investment in high-speed intercity passenger rail.
  • Manual for the Development of System Safety Program Plans for Commuter Railroads - 2006
    As more people than ever rely on commuter railroads to get them safely and efficiently to their daily destinations, transportation providers are called upon to perform at the highest level of industry safety despite increasing budgetary pressures. The development of the manual is a direct outgrowth of the work of the commuter rail industry and further refinements made by the APTA Commuter Rail Safety Subcommittee, the Federal Railroad Administration, and APTA staff.
  • Rail Transit in America: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits - 2004 (Litman, Todd)
    This report quantifies the benefits of rail transit based on a comprehensive analysis of system performance. The analysis indicates that rail transit investments are a cost-effective way to improve urban transport, and shows that rail transit systems provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits that tend to increase as a system expands and matures.
  • This Is Light Rail Transit - 2003
    The brochure was prepared by the Light Rail Transit Committee of the Transportation Research Board. It was first distributed at the Eighth National Conference on Light Rail Transit in Dallas, Texas, in November 2000 and has subsequently been updated. Its printing in this Second Edition was sponsored jointly by the Transportation Research Board and APTA. The brochure gives the history of this mode, then outlines the current state of the art, including vehicles, infrastructure, operations and economics. It is an excellent introduction to this versatile mode of public transportation.
  • Bring Back the Streetcars: A Conservative Vision of Tomorrow’s Urban Transportation - 2002
    This report by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind of the Free Congress Foundation argues for the development of new streetcar lines from a conservative perspective.
  • Proceedings of the APTA/TRB 8th Joint Conference on Light Rail Transit - Light Rail: Investment for the Future - 2000
    This CD-ROM of the 2000 Light Rail Transit Conference Proceedings includes 49 papers presented at the eighth in a series of light rail transit conferences jointly sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association and the Transportation Research Board.
    Members $15, Nonmembers $15, available in the APTA Bookstore.
  • Commuter Rail Economic Study - 1997
    This study details the economic benefits provided by commuter rail systems to the local, state and national economy.
  • Rapid Transit (Rail) Fare Collection Survey - 1993
    This survey of 33 rail properties in North America provides details of the types of fare collection systems including fare media, equipment, reliability, and maintenance. The survey was conducted by the APTA Revenue Management Committee. 108 pages.
    Members $30, Nonmembers $60, available in the APTA Bookstore.
  • Roster of North American Rapid Transit Cars - 1993
    This document is a compilation of data on rapid transit cars in service as of July 1993. It includes cars in the United States and Canada. Data includes 345 characteristics such as cost, performance, dimensions, weights, electrical equipment, heating and ventilating systems, traction motors, propulsion equipment, lighting systems, and trucks and suspensions. The Roster is organized in alphabetical order by transit system name.
    Members $45, Nonmembers $90, available in the APTA Bookstore.
  • Continuous Welded Rail on Aerial Structure - Examples of Transit Practice Manual - 1985
    Provides general guidelines for track structures using continuously welded rail, also includes information about inspection and maintenance of continuously welded rail within the APTA Manual of Standards and Recommended Practices for Rail Transit Systems, Volume 5 – Fixed Structures, Section 2, Standard for Rail Transit Track Inspection and Maintenance.
    Members: $30.00, Nonmembers: $60.00, available in the APTA Bookstore.
  • Guidelines for Design of Rapid Transit Facilities - 1981
    Provides safety and technological recommended practices for use in construction of rapid transit facilities. The reader may also wish to refer to the Glossary of Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Terminology for Rail Rapid Transit.
    Members $30, Nonmembers $60, available in the APTA Bookstore.
  • Guidelines for Rail Rapid Transit Equipment Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Specification - 1981
    Provides guidelines for managers to use during rail rapid transit equipment procurement. The reader may also wish to refer to the Glossary of Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Terminology for Rail Rapid Transit.
    Available in the APTA Bookstore.
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