Technical Assistance

National Transit Summaries and Trends (NTST)

Developing the National Transit Summaries and Trends

By: Jim Caton & Andrew Lofton

Transit service professionals depend on accurate and up-to-date industry knowledge to develop safe and efficient methods of operation. The National Transit Summaries and Trends (NTST) is an annual publication prepared by the National Transit Database (NTD). The report provides an easy-to-understand overview of current transit statistics and data in the United States.

The NTST report gathers a wide range of data to provide statistics and summaries regarding transit service provided and consumed, safety events and trends, cost ratios and operating expenses, passenger statistics, and average travel times for vehicles.

Congress uses the NTST to track the service and financial information of agencies that benefit from Federal Transit Administration grants. The NTST also benefits transit industry agencies: they can use the datato assess potential areas for improvement within their service.

The NTD creates the NTST report by collecting data from a number of sources.

Service Data

Each year the NTD team reviews data from

  • Urbanized Area Formula Grants (Section 5307) program recipients.
  • Formula Grants for Rural Areas (Section 5311) program recipients.
  • VoluntaryNTD reporters.

Transit operators report the amount of transit service they provided, the amount of transit service consumed, and all corresponding financial data (i.e., operating expenses) for that year.

Safety and Security Data

The NTD also collects Safety and Security (S&S) data, typically in the form of a monthly summary reported by Full Reporters (large urban transit providers).

S&S data consists of the number of fatalities, injuries, and safety and security events that occur on a transit system’s property. S&S data allows experts to determine which safety trends need to be addressed.

Industry Benefits

The NTST presents a comprehensive resource of trends and statistics that is an invaluable reference for transit industry professionals.

In-depth data analyses of trends and gaps in areas of transit safety and service lead the way to creating a more informed workforce and a safer and more efficient future for the public transit industry.