The Guide to the American Dream


Why We Defend the American Dream




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Smart-Growth Disasters


Public Health & Safety

Transit Data

2010 Public Transportation Fact Book (766-KB pdf file)
2010 Public Transportation Fact Book, Appendix A (487-KB pdf file)
2010 Public Transportation Fact Book, Appendix B (3.2-MB pdf file) 2010 Public Transportation Fact Book, Appendix B (844-KB Excel file)
Author: American Public Transportation Association
Citation: Washington, DC: American Public Transportation Association, 2010
Summary: The 2010 Fact Book has national data dating back to 1990. Appendix A has historical transit data going back as far as 1907. Appendix B has 2008 data for individual transit agencies and urban areas, taken from the 2006 National Transit Database.
Summary of the 2008 National Transit Database (2.1-MB Excel file)
Citation: Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration, 2009
Summary of the 2007 National Transit Database (2.2-MB Excel file)
Citation: Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration, 2008
Summary: The National Transit Database consists of Excel spreadsheets containing data reported to the federal government by all transit agencies receiving federal money. Unfortunately, the spreadsheets are hard to use. To simplify things, the American Dream Coalition has summarized the most important data in this single spreadsheet, including trips, passenger miles, capital costs, operating costs, fares, vehicle revenue miles, employee hours, BTUs of energy, seats, and standing room for every transit agency and mode of transit (bus, light rail, etc.). Based on these data, the spreadsheet calculates some useful numbers such as cost per passenger mile and average vehicle occupancies (passenger miles per vehicle mile). Rows 2 through 1480 (1438 for the 2007 sheet) provide data by transit agency and mode. Rows 1483 through 1497 (1442 through 1456 for 2007) provide summary data by mode. Rows 1520 through 1900 (1478 through 1889 for 2007) provide data by urbanized area. In the 2008 spreadsheet, rows 1501 through 1516 provide mode totals for systems for which energy data are available. For the 2007 spreadsheet, rows 1459 through 1473 provide mode totals for systems operated by public agencies rather than contracted out.
Summary of the 2006 National Transit Database (2.1-MB Excel file)
Citation: Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration, 2007
Summary: This is similar to the 2007 spreadsheet, but it does not have employee hours, seats, or standing room. It does, however, estimate the pounds of CO2 emitted by each agency and mode (not counting transit that is contracted out to private operators), based on the sources of energy and, in the case of electric transit, mix of sources of electrical power in each state. The layout is similar to 2007, except the mode totals are in roads 1397 through 1412 and the urban area totals are in rows 1414 through 1765.
Summary of the 2005 National Transit Database (1.6-MB Excel file)
Citation: Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration, 2006
Summary: Similar to the 2006 spreadsheet, but does not include energy consumption or CO2 outputs. Mode totals are in rows 1371 through 1380 and urban area totals are in rows 1385 through 1756.
2007 Rail Transit Data (60-KB Excel file)
Citation: Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration, 2008
Summary: Summarizes some data for 84 different light-rail, heavy-rail, commuter-rail, cable car, automated guideways, and vintage trolleys in the U.S. Includes passenger miles directional-route miles and a calculation of daily passenger miles per directional route mile of track. (A 10-mile-long rail line has 20 directional route miles because the railcars go in both directions.) Also includes the freeway daily vehicle miles of travel per lane mile from each urban area, as taken from the 2007 Highway Statistics. This allows a calculation of how many freeway lanes worth of travel are carried by each mile of rail. In most cases, it is about 5 to 40 percent of a freeway lane, only the New York City subways carry more than a single freeway lane's worth of traffic.
Transit Cuts (76-KB Excel file)
Author: Transportation for America
Citation: Washington, DC: Transportation for America, 2009
Summary: A list of 84 transit agencies that have cut or proposed to cut transit service as a result of the recession. Transportation for America uses this list to argue for more subsidies to transit; an alternate view is that transit agencies that are funded mainly out of fares are better insulated from economic cycles than ones that get most of their funding from taxpayers.

The original National Transit Database data for the years 1997 through 2007 are available on line.

The table below shows transit's 2005 share of motorized travel and commuter travel in the nation's largest urban areas. The urban areas that stand out with high rates of transit ridership tend to be ones with high concentrations of downtown jobs, not ones that have invested in rail transit or have particularly high population densities. The Los Angeles, Miami, and San Jose urban areas have higher densities than the New York urban area, for example, but they don't have the job concentrations so they don't have high transit usage.

Transit and Rail Transit's Share of Motorized Passenger Miles
and Transit's Share of Commuter Travel in Major Urban Areas
                             Transit's     Rail's     Transit's
                              Share        Share   Commuter Share
New York                        9.7         7.4         30.6
Los Angeles                     1.8         0.5          5.8
Chicago                         3.7         2.7         11.9
Philadelphia                    2.6         1.6          9.7
Miami                           1.0         0.3          3.6
Dallas-Ft. Worth                0.7         0.2          1.9
Boston                          3.1         2.5         11.6
Washington                      4.1         2.9         15.7
Detroit                         0.4         0.0          1.7
Houston                         1.0         0.0          3.2
Atlanta                         1.1         0.6          4.0
San Francisco-Oakland           4.2         2.9         15.9
Phoenix-Mesa                    0.6         0.0          2.3
Seattle-Everett                 2.5         0.1          7.6
San Diego                       1.3         0.5          3.1
Minneapolis-St. Paul            1.1         0.1          4.8
St. Louis                       0.8         0.3          2.8
Baltimore                       1.5         0.3          7.5
Tampa-St. Petersburg            0.3         0.0          1.4
Denver                          1.4         0.1          4.3
Cleveland                       1.3         0.3          4.9
Pittsburgh                      1.4         0.1          7.3
Portland-Vancouver              2.2         0.9          7.6
San Jose                        0.9         0.3          3.3

The second and third columns are transit's and rail transit's 
share of motorized passenger miles. Transit passenger miles are 
from the 2005 National Transit Data Base; highway passenger
miles are from the 2005 Highway Statistics, table HM-72, with 
vehicle miles multipled by 1.6 to account for average auto 
occupancy. The last column is transit's share of commuters, 
based on the Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey 
journey-to-work data for urbanized areas. Taxis are excluded 
from transit. 
For more information, see the References and Experts page.