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American Public Transportation Association

 Reports & Publications

This section offers a myriad of publications and documents to assist your organizational needs and for research.  Here you will find the latest  on industry publications, reports, best practices and management documents. These publications have been developed and selected to enhance your day-to-day operations and for future planning.

By clicking on the menu to the left you can peruse the list for your specific area of concern.

Featured Publications


Public Transportation Infrastructure: Critically Needed Investments
​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.

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. 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 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 changing 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.


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 p​ublic transit as the backbone of a multi-t​ransit 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 – 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

​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.
​The Business Case for Infrastructure Investment

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?

2017 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. Tables with the Fact Book data in excel format, and historical data can be found on this page​.

​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.​


​​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, emplo​​yers, 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

Look at your community as a business. 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
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.
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.

The Role of Transit in Support of High Growth Business Clusters in the U.S.

This study addresses issues of business productivity, market access and transit service for America's Innovation Districts. 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 maintain competitiveness.

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.


 Additional Resources


TCRP Logo 

The Transit Cooperative Research Program

Provides additional research information on public transportation.


GMU Library Logo 

APTA's archives at George Mason University


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