Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
American Public Transportation Association

 Policy Development and Research Program at APTA

The Policy Development and Research Program at APTA is the think tank for the public transportation industry. Through polling, surveys, original research, and long-term strategic development the program ensures that the nation is informed on the benefits of public transportation investment. Recent products are shown below.

  • 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 - April 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.​

  • 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.

  • My Economic Impact Tool: How to Use It and My Economic Impact: How to Talk About My Numbers​ – May 2017
    These two complementary advocacy/education tools show public transportation’s positive economic impact on local communities.  The first is a web-based calculator that computes the number of local jobs and amount of income generated in a community from a transit system’s operations and capital investments. The second is a guide for effectively communicating these data to a wide range of decision-makers and stakeholders.

  • ​​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 Business Case for Infrastructure Investment​ - March 2017​
    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?

  • 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.
  • Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit - March 2016
    ​​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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ​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. ​
  • 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.
  • Inaction Will Cost U.S. Economy $227 Billion - April 2015
    Failure to pass a new surface transportation authorization bill could have a devastating impact on public transportation service and the U.S. economy.
  • 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.
  • 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 Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation - March 2014
    Public Transportation is an attractive market for both public and private investment and offers a significant ROI for investors. Demographic shifts and changes in consumer preferences ensures a dynamic market future.
  • 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 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 - 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.
  • Trends in Public Transportation Vehicle Fleets - November 2013
    A roundup of information gleaned from the 2013 Public Transportation Vehicle Database.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Acts of Nature and Public Transportation - November 2012
    This white paper reviews the ways in which acts of nature – particularly extreme weather events – can impact transit’s $77 billion investment backlog, identifies strategies transit agencies can pursue to reduce weather-related risks, and discusses resources and opportunities for the transit community.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Economic Recovery: Promoting Growth - March 2012
  • Rural Communities: Expanding Horizons - March 2012
  • House Proposal Erodes Credit Ratings, Ties Hands of American Communities - February 2012
  • 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.
  • New Appropriations Bill Saves Transit Jobs - December 2011
  • An Analysis of Proposed U.S. House of Representatives Actions and Their Impact on Public Transportation - September 2011
  • Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Businesses -- August 2011
  • Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies: Update -- August 2011
  • Business Member Economic Outlook for 2011 - February 2011
  • Impacts of the Recession on Public Transportation Agencies -- March 2010
  • Challenge of State and Local Funding Constraints on Transit Systems: Effects on Service, Fares, Employment, and Ridership -- June 2009
  • Rising Fuel Costs: Impacts on Transit Ridership and Agency Operations -- September 2008
  • Impact of Rising Fuel Costs on Transit Service -- May 2008
Copyright © 2018 American Public Transportation Association
1300 I Street NW
Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone (202) 496-4800 | Fax (202) 496-4324
Logo Usage | Privacy Policy | Staff Intranet