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Welcome to the National Transit Database

Today the transit industry consists of over 140,000 vehicles, traveling over 48 billion passenger miles, and collecting over $8.5 billion in passenger fares. In the past 10 years the transit industry has grown by over 20 percent - faster than either highway or air travel. As the industry continues to grow, every indication is that the NTD will continue to expand both in scope and use in the years to come.

What is the NTD Program?

History of the NTD and Transit in the U.S.

Overview of NTD Internet Reporting System Forms


What is the NTD Program?

The NTD was established by Congress to be the Nation’s primary source for information and statistics on the transit systems of the United States. Recipients or beneficiaries of grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the Urbanized Area Formula Program (§5307) or Other than Urbanized Area (Rural) Formula Program (§5311) are required by statute to submit data to the NTD. Over 660 transit providers in urbanized areas currently report to the NTD through the Internet-based reporting system. Each year, NTD performance data are used to apportion over $5 billion of FTA funds to transit agencies in urbanized areas (UZAs). Annual NTD reports are submitted to Congress summarizing transit service and safety data.

The legislative requirement for the NTD is found in Title 49 U.S.C. 5335(a):

SECTION 5335 National transit database

(a) NATIONAL TRANSIT DATABASE — To help meet the needs of individual public transportation systems, the United States Government, State and local governments, and the public for information on which to base public transportation service planning, the Secretary of Transportation shall maintain a reporting system, using uniform categories to accumulate public transportation financial and operating information and using a uniform system of accounts. The reporting and uniform systems shall contain appropriate information to help any level of government make a public sector investment decision. The Secretary may request and receive appropriate information from any source.

(b) REPORTING AND UNIFORM SYSTEMS — the Secretary may award a grant under Section 5307 or 5311 only if the applicant and any person that will receive benefits directly from the grant, are subject to the reporting and uniform systems.

The NTD reporting system evolved from the transit industry-initiated Project FARE (Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Elements). Both the private and public sectors have recognized the importance of timely and accurate data in assessing the continued progress of the nation's public transportation systems.


History of the NTD and Transit in the US

1630

Reputed first publicly operated ferryboat (Boston, MA)

1740

Reputed first use of ox carts for carrying of passengers (New York, NY)

1811

First mechanically operated (steam-powered) ferryboat (New York, NY)

1827

Horse-drawn omnibus begins service along Broadway (New York, NY)

1830

First railroad (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.) (Baltimore, MD)

1832

First streetcar in America; horse-drawn rail cars begin service along the Bowery (New York, NY)

1835

Oldest street railway line still operating (New Orleans & Carrollton line) (New Orleans, LA)

1838

First commuter fares on a railroad (Boston & West Worcester Railroad) (Boston, MA)

1856

First fare-free promotion (Boston, MA)

1863

First subway in the world; trains hauled by steam engines begin service (London, England)

1868

First cable-powered (and first elevated) line (West Side & Yonkers Patent Railway) (New York, NY)

1870

First pneumatic-powered (and first underground) line (Beach Pneumatic Railroad Co.) (New York, NY)

1871

First steam-powered elevated line (New York Elevated Railroad Co.) (New York, NY)

1873

First cable car in the world runs up Clay Street (San Francisco, CA)

1883

First publicly operated cable-powered line (Brooklyn Bridge) (New York, NY)

1884

First electric street railway line (East Cleveland Street Railway) (Cleveland, OH)

1886

First semi-successful citywide street railway transit agency (Capital City Street Railway Co.) (Montgomery, AL)

1888

First successful electric street railway (Richmond, VA)

1893

First interurban rail line (East Side Railway Co.) (Portland, OR)

1895

First electric elevated rail line (Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway) (Chicago, IL)

1897

First American subway (Boston, MA)

1897

First publicly-financed public transportation facility (street railway tunnel) (Boston, MA)

1898

First electric multiple-unit controlled rail line (Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit Railroad Co.) (Chicago, IL)

1904

First state-operated street railway (State of North Dakota Capital Car Line) (Bismarck, ND)

1904

New York's first subway (New York, NY)

1905

First American gasoline-powered buses begin running on Fifth Avenue (New York, NY)

1906

First municipal street railway (Monroe, LA)

1908

First interstate underground heavy rail line (Hudson & Manhattan Railroad to New Jersey) (New York, NY)

1910

First trolleybus line (Laurel Canyon Utilities Co.) (Hollywood, CA)

1912

First publicly operated street railway in a large city (San Francisco Municipal Railway) (San Francisco, CA)

1912

First street railway to operate buses (Cleveland Railway) (Cleveland, OH)

1914

First jitney (Los Angeles, CA)

1916

First public bus-only transit agency (St. Louis Division of Parks and Recreation Municipal Auto Bus Service) (St. Louis, MO)

1921

First successful trolleybus line (New York, NY)

1923

First cities to replace all streetcars with buses - Bay City, MI; Everett, WA; Newburgh, NY

1926

Except for the years of the Second Word War, transit patronage in America reaches its all-time high of 17.3 billion riders

1927

First automobile park and ride lot and first bus-rail transfer facility for a non-commuter rail line (Philadelphia, PA)

1932

First publicly operated heavy rail line (Independent Subway) (New York, NY)

1933

First large city to replace all streetcars with buses (San Antonio, TX)

1936

First industry-developed standardized street railway car (P.C.C. car) (Brooklyn & Queens Transit System) (New York, NY)

1936

Large scale federal assistance for mass transit begins under the aegis of the US Public Works Administration

1938

First use of federal capital funding to build a public transportation rail line (Chicago, IL)

1939

First street with designated bus lane (Chicago, IL)

1940

First time bus ridership exceeded street railway ridership

1940

San Francisco, CA becomes last surviving cable car transit agency

1943

First rail line in expressway median (Pacific Electric Railway) (Los Angeles, CA)

1946

With war-related travel conditions still prevailing, US transit patronage reaches 23.5 billion riders, its absolute all-time high.

1952

Last new PCC car for US transit agency placed in service (San Francisco, CA)

1958

Passage of federal legislation removes any state role in allowing private railroads to discontinue commuter passenger service and vests all such authority with the ICC; enactment of this law widely regarded as single most important development leading to the current program of federal transit assistance

1961

First significant federal public transportation legislation (Housing & Urban Development Act of 1961) (Washington, DC)

1962

First monorail (Seattle World's Fair) (Seattle, WA)

1962

First automated heavy rail line (Grand Central Shuttle) (New York, NY)

1963

Chicago becomes last surviving city with interurban line (Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad)

1964

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (UMTA) that provides $375 million in transit capital assistance over three years

1966

First re-authorization of transit assistance program

1966

First public takeover of commuter railroad (Long Island Rail Road Co.) (New York, NY)

1966

First statewide transit agency (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) (Providence, RI)

1968

First downtown transit mall (Nicollet Mall) (Minneapolis, MN)

1968

First rail station at an airport opened (Cleveland, OH)

1969

First transitway (Shirley Highway) (Washington, DC)

1969

First modern heavy rail transit agency replacing former rail line (Port Authority Transit Corporation) (Philadelphia, PA)

1970

First dial-a-ride demand response transit agency (Fort Walton Beach, FL)

1970

Ten-year re-authorization enacted

1971

First federally subsidized intercity passenger railroad (AMTRAK) (Washington, DC)

1972

First computer-controlled heavy rail transit agency (Bay Area Rapid Transit District) (San Francisco, CA)

1972

Project FARE (Financial Accounting and Reporting Elements)

1973

First "billion dollar year" for federal mass transit assistance program

1973

Interstate Transfer enacted as part of a re-authorization of the federal highway program

1973

Some public transportation service required to be accessible to disabled (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) (Washington, DC)

1973

Boston, MA; Dayton, OH; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA -- Last surviving trolleybus systems

1974

Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) Act amended to add § 15 requirements, or Uniform System of Accounts (USOA) and Reporting System

1974

Last street railway systems - Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; and San Francisco, CA

1975

First automated guideway transit agency (West Virginia University) (Morgantown, WV)

1976

First "two billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1976

First link in Washington Metrorail system opens for service (Washington, DC)

1977

First wheelchair-lift-equipped fixed-route bus (San Diego, CA)

1978

ST Act requires all 5307 recipients to file a § 15 (NTD) report

1978

First "three billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1979

First standardized public transportation data accounting system (§ 15) (Washington, DC)

1980

First completely new light rail transit agency in decades (San Diego Trolley) (San Diego, CA)

1981

First § 15 (NTD) report published, based on 1979 data; Program administered in TRI; FTA (UMTA) analysts prepare § 15 reports internally

1981

First "four billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1982

STA Act, NTD data used in formula to apportion funds

1983

Extensive structural change to simplify reporting

1983

Public transportation trust fund for capital projects created thru dedication of one cent of federal gas tax (Washington, DC)

1987

Federal transit assistance program re-authorized

1989

First completely new commuter rail transit agency in decades (Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority) (Miami, FL)

1989 - 1991

§ 15 restructuring and simplification; TRB/FTA Advisory Committee, data reporting requirements are reduced

1990

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law - July 26

1991

Public transportation buses subject to strict pollution controls (Clean Air Act of 1990) (Washington, DC)

1991

First general authorization of use of highway funds for public transportation under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (Washington, DC)

1992

Federal transit and highway program jointly re-authorized and given its own "penny" from a five-cent increase in the Federal motor fuel tax; initial use of highway trust fund money for mass transit

1993

Final Rule on Restructuring; Diskette reporting replaces paper forms

1993

Major streamlining of program under aegis of "reinventing government," more multiyear grants 1998 awarded to build new rail transit systems than during any comparable period in the history of the Federal transit assistance program

1994

Publication of revised Uniform System of Accounts (USOA)

1995

Security reporting added for systems in UZAs > 200K; § 15 renamed National Transit Database (NTD)

1995

1.5 cents dedicated portion of federal fuel tax increased to 2 cents (Washington, DC)

1998

Major expansion and restructuring of federal public transportation program under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Washington, DC)

1998

National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA)

1999 - 2000

Congress inserts language to enhance NTD Safety and Security reporting

2000

Delivered report to Congress on redesign of NTD

2002Initiated monthly Safety, Security and Ridership data reporting under redesigned NTD

2002

Launched new Annual NTD software with pre-submission validation routines

2005Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorizes funds for all of the surface transportation programs of the Department of Transportation (FYs 2005 through 2009)

2006

Launched new Rural NTD Module

2007

Revised new Rural NTD Module based on SAFETEA-LU requirements and feedback from first year of reporting

2008

Revised Safety & Security Module to reduce reporting burden and introduce an interactive approach to reporting


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Last updated: 01/26/2013

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