Public transportation in the United States

Public transportation in the United States refers to publicly financed mass transit services across the nation. This includes various forms of bus, rail, ferry, and sometimes, airline services. Most established public transit systems are located in central, urban areas where there is enough density and public demand to require public transportation.[1] In more auto-centric suburban localities, public transit is normally, but not always, less frequent and less common. Most public transit services in the United States are either national, regional/commuter, or local, depending on the type of service. Furthermore, sometimes "public transportation" in the United States is an umbrella term used synonymous with "alternative transportation", meaning any form of mobility that excludes driving alone by automobile.[2] This can sometimes include carpooling[3], vanpooling[4], on-demand mobility (i.e. Uber, Lyft, Bird, Lime)[5], infrastructure that is fixated toward bicycles (i.e. bike lanes, sharrows, cycle tracks, and bike trails)[6], and paratransit service.[7]

Most rail service in the United States is publicly funded at all tiers of government.[1] Amtrak, which is the national rail system provides service across the entire continental United States. The frequency of Amtrak service varies depending on the size of the city, and its location along major rail routes. For example, cities such as New York City and Washington, D.C. which are located along the busy Northeast Corridor may see up to 50 Amtrak trains per day come in an out of their stations. This same corridor is the location of the only operating high speed rail network in the Americas: the Acela Express.[8] Other smaller cities, such as Dodge City, Kansas for instance, may only have two trains daily, or in rarer cases, cities in the upper Midwestern states, where there is sparse population, might only have Amtrak service two to three times per week. Regional rail services are primarily fixed on a major city or a state.[9] For example, the Long Island Railroad, services the Long Island suburbs of New York City, while the UTA FrontRunner serves as a regional rail service for the Wasatch Front of Utah.[9] These trains normally run throughout the entire day with service ranging from every 20 minutes during peak hours to every 30-45 minutes during off-peak hours. Other rail services that are regional in nature may only operate during rush hour. For example, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), which services the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. only operates during the morning hours into Washington, D.C., and the evening hours out of Washington, D.C. VRE does not operate at night nor on the weekends, and only has one train during the middle of the day. Finally, several cities have light rail systems which operate generally in the core of the city and their surrounding suburbs. For instance, cities such as Kansas City, Norfolk, Boston, New Orleans, and Seattle have streetcar services that run every 10-15 minutes throughout their respective urban cores.

Presently, there is only one for-profit, private rail service in the United States, which is Virgin Trains USA (formerly known as Brightline).[10] This service provides regular rail service from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, with a long term goal to connect Miami to Orlando, and become a statewide rail service for the state of Florida.

There are three common types of bus service in the United States: conventional bus systems, bus rapid transit (BRT), and intercity buses. Nearly every major city in the United States offers some form of bus service, with some being 24 hours a day. These buses run on flexible routes and make frequent stops, with a focus of provided accessible service to all tracts of a community. Bus rapid transit attempts to mimic the speed of a light rail system. Most BRT systems in the United States are in moderate sized cities or satellite cities, and serve as auxiliary routes for rail service. The primary different between BRT in the United States and regular bus service is BRT often runs more frequent as has fewer stops, in order to make service quicker. Furthermore, BRT service generally has their own dedicated right of way and signal prioritization, which allows BRT vehicles to move faster than regular automobile traffic. Both BRT and conventional buses are usually publicly financed. Well-known examples of cities with popular BRT services in the United States include Cleveland, Miami, and Richmond. Most inter-city bus service is private for-profit ventures, although they normally used publicly subsidized motorways and highways. Examples of intercity bus service in the United States is Megabus and Greyhound, which are the two largest inter-city bus services in the United States.

Several coastal cities offer ferry service linking localities that are across large bodies of water where constructing road and railway bridges is not financially viable. Ferry service sometimes is pedestrian only but sometimes may offer platforms for automobiles and public transit vehicles depending on the vessel used.

Long-distance public transit which may be too far to feasible travel by rail or bus, i.e. cross country travel, or travelling to U.S. territories) is more regularly undertaken through the airplaine.[1] Most airports in major regions are situated on the peripheries of major cities and publicly owned, while airline service itself is typically owned by for-profit corporations. In some cases, larger airports may operate their own rail, bus, and monorail systems that link various terminals together. Examples of this include Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, and Washington, D.C.'s airport.

Amtrak California Zephyr Engines 1 and 56 Eastbound at Grand Junction - img1
An Amtrak train in Grand Junction, Colorado.
HealthLine 1
A HealthLine bus rapid transit vehicle in Cleveland.
R160A E Train entering World Trade Center
The New York City Subway is the largest heavy rail system in the World by the number of stations.
The Cape May–Lewes Ferry connects travelers traversing the Delaware Bay.


Light rail and streetcars


Inter-city bus

Greyhound Lines Prevost X3-45 86004-2009 livery
A Greyhound bus line arriving in New York City.
Coach USA Megabus Van Hool TD925 DD415
A Megabus arriving a Penn Station.

In the mid-1950s more than 2,000 buses operated by Greyhound Lines, Trailways, and other companies connected 15,000 cities and towns. Passenger volume decreased as a result of expanding road and air travel, and urban decay that caused many neighborhoods with bus depots to become more dangerous. In 1960, American intercity buses carried 140 million riders; the rate decreased to 40 million by 1990, and continued to decrease until 2006.[11]

By 1997, intercity bus transportation accounted for only 3.6% of travel in the United States.[12] In the late 1990s, however, Chinatown bus lines that connected New York with Boston and Philadelphia's Chinatowns began operating. They became popular with non-Chinese college students and others who wanted inexpensive transportation, and between 1997 and 2007 Greyhound lost 60% of its market share in the northeast United States to the Chinatown buses. During the following decade, new bus lines such as Megabus and BoltBus emulated the Chinatown buses' practices of low prices and curbside stops on a much larger scale, both in the original Northeast Corridor and elsewhere, while introducing yield management techniques to the industry.[11][13][14]

By 2010 curbside buses' annual passenger volume had risen by 33% and they accounted for more than 20% of all bus trips.[11] One analyst estimated that curbside buses that year carried at least 2.4 billion passenger miles in the Northeast Corridor, compared to 1.7 billion passenger miles for Amtrak trains.[13] Traditional depot-based bus lines also grew, benefiting from what the American Bus Association called "the Megabus effect",[11] and both Greyhound and its subsidiary Yo! Bus, which competed directly with the Chinatown buses, benefited after the federal government shut several Chinatown lines down in June 2012.[14]

Between 2006 and 2014, American intercity buses focused on medium-haul trips between 200 and 300 miles; airplanes performed the bulk of longer trips and automobiles shorter ones. For most medium-haul trips curbside bus fares were less than the cost of automobile gasoline, and one tenth that of Amtrak. Buses are also four times more fuel-efficient than automobiles. Their Wi-Fi service is also popular; one study estimated that 92% of Megabus and BoltBus passengers planned to use an electronic device.[11] New lower fares introduced by Greyhound on traditional medium-distance routes and rising gasoline prices have increased ridership across the network and made bus travel cheaper than all alternatives.

Effective June 25, 2014, Greyhound reintroduced many much longer bus routes, including New York-Los Angeles, Los Angeles-Vancouver, and others, while increasing frequencies on existing long-distance and ultra-long-distance buses routes. This turned back the tide of shortening bus routes and puts Greyhound back in the position of competing with long-distance road trips, airlines, and trains. Long distance buses were to have Wi-Fi, power outlets, and extra legroom, sometimes extra recline, and were to be cleaned, refueled, and driver-changed at major stations along the way, coinciding with Greyhound's eradication of overbooking. It also represented Greyhound's traditional bus expansion over the expansion of curbside bus lines.[15]

Bus rapid transit

GRTC Pulse travelling
The GRTC Pulse bus rapid transit has serviced Richmond, Virginia since June 2018.

Bus rapid transit (BRT), also called a busway, is a bus-based public transport system designed to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus system.[16] Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or purchasing fares. BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a metro with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

In the United States several moderately sized cities have BRT as an alternative to light rail due to perceived costs and political will. Notable examples of moderately sized cities with BRT as their fulcrum of public transportation include the Silver Line in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the GRTC Pulse in Richmond, Virginia, and the BusPlus in Albany, New York. Several satellite and suburban cities to larger cities also have bus rapid transit systems as secondary public transit services to light rail and commuter rail. For example, the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray has the planned Murray Taylorsville MAX BRT route. The Denver suburb of Fort Collins, and the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia contain the Metroway system.

Some major cities have their own BRT routes within city limits that function as their own rapid transit line, or as auxiliary routes to the rail lines in their respective city. In Cleveland, the HealthLine, which is considered a standard for BRT in the United States, serves most of the city. Minneapolis has the Red Line, and Los Angeles has the F Line, which does have plans to upgrade to light rail.

Commuter buses

Commuter bus systems are generally categorized as public transit, especially for large metropolitan transit networks. Usually these routes cover a long distance compared to most transit bus routes, but still short—usually 40 miles in one direction. An urban-suburban bus line generally connects a suburban area to the downtown core.

The vehicle can be something as simple as a merely refitted school bus (which sometimes already contains overhead storage racks) or a minibus. Often a suburban coach may be used, which is a standard transit bus modified to have some of the functionality of an interstate coach. The vehicles provide accommodation for the disabled (through a lift or ramp at the front), and thus has a few high-back seats, usually in the front, that can be folded up for wheelchairs. The rest of the seats are reclining upholstered seats and have individual lights and overhead storage bins. Because it is a commuter bus, it has some (but not much) standing room, stop-request devices, and a farebox. This model also has a bike rack at the front to accommodate two bicycles.

Suburban models in the United States are often used in Park-and-Ride services, and are very common in the New York City area, where New Jersey Transit Bus Operations is a major operator serving widespread bedroom communities.

Conventional buses

A Metro bus in Los Angeles.



Some North American cities arranged by size along the horizontal axis and public transportation use on the vertical axis. U.S. cities have lower public transit use than similarly sized Canadian and Mexican cities.

The number of miles traveled by vehicles in the United States fell by 3.6% in 2008, while the number of trips taken on mass transit increased by 4.0%. At least part of the drop in urban driving can be explained by the 4% increase in the use of public transportation [17]

About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York City and its suburbs.[18][19]


Most medium-sized cities have some form of local public transportation, usually a network of fixed bus routes. Larger cities often have metro rail systems (also known as heavy rail in the U.S.) and/or light rail systems for high-capacity passenger service within the urban area, and commuter rail to serve the surrounding metropolitan area. These include:

Region Name Locale Type
New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
Includes: Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, New York City Subway, MTA Regional Bus Operations, and Staten Island Railway
New York City, Long Island, Lower Hudson Valley, Coastal Connecticut Commuter rail, local and express bus, subway, and bus rapid transit
Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Newark / Hudson County, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York Rapid transit
Los Angeles Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Los Angeles County, California Rapid transit (subway), Light rail, Bus, Bus rapid transit
Metrolink Southern California Commuter rail
Chicago Chicago Transit Authority (cta) Chicago, Illinois Bus and rapid transit, including the Chicago 'L'
Metra Chicago Metropolitan Area Commuter rail
Pace Northeastern Illinois Commuter and paratransit bus
Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) Houston Bus Service, Light Rail, Paratransit Services, Express Lanes
Phoenix Valley Metro Phoenix metropolitan area Light rail, bus, BRT, Vanpool
Philadelphia Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Delaware Valley Commuter rail, interurban, rapid transit, streetcar, transit bus, and trolleybus
Austin Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Greater Austin Commuter Rail, Local, Express, Bus Transit and Van Pool
San Antonio VIA Metropolitan Transit Greater San Antonio Local, Express, Bus Rapid Transit
Atlanta Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Atlanta Metropolitan Area Bus routes, bus rapid transit, rail track, rapid transit, and streetcar
Atlanta Streetcar Atlanta Streetcar
Baltimore Maryland Transit Administration (MTA Maryland) Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area Bus, light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail
Charm City Circulator Baltimore Bus, watertaxi
Greater Boston Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Bus, bus rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail, trolleybus, and ferryboat
Erie and Niagara counties, New York Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Bus, light rail, and rapid transit
New Jersey, Manhattan, Rockland and Orange counties, New York, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania New Jersey Transit Commuter rail, light rail, and bus
Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina Lynx Rapid Transit Services Light rail and streetcar (bus rapid transit planned)
Cuyahoga County, Ohio RTA Rapid Transit Rapid transit, light rail, and bus
Dallas, Texas Dallas Area Rapid Transit Bus, light rail, commuter rail, streetcar
Denver Metro Area, Colorado Regional Transportation District Bus, light rail, and commuter rail
Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles County Metro Rail Rapid transit and light rail
Greater Miami Miami-Dade Transit Rapid transit, people mover, bus rapid transit, and transit bus
Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area METRO Light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit
City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish, Louisiana New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Bus, heritage streetcar
Allegheny County and bordering portions of Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland and Armstrong counties Port Authority of Allegheny County Public transit, light rail, bus rapid transit, and inclined-plane railway (funicular)
Portland metropolitan area, Oregon MAX Light Rail Light rail
Sacramento, California Sacramento Regional Transit District Bus and light rail
Greater St. Louis MetroLink Light rail
Wasatch Front, Utah Utah Transit Authority Bus, light rail (including TRAX), commuter rail, and streetcar
San Diego County, California San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Buses, bus rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail, paratransit, and streetcar
San Francisco Bay Area Bay Area Rapid Transit Rapid transit
San Francisco San Francisco Municipal Railway Bus, trolleybus, light rail, streetcar, and cable cars
San Jose, California Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Bus and light rail
Puget Sound region, Washington Sound Transit Regional express bus, commuter rail, and light rail
The District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and northern Virginia Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Rapid transit (Washington Metro), bus (Metrobus), and paratransit (MetroAccess)
Downtown Las Vegas starting from close to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas Monorail Elevated monorail currently connecting local hotels and the Las Vegas Convention Center


American mass transit is funded by a combination of local, state, and federal agencies. At the federal level, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides financial assistance and technical assistance to state governments and local transit providers. From FY 2005 to FY 2009, the funding scheme for the FTA was regulated by the SAFETEA-LU bill, which appropriated $286.4 billion in guaranteed funding.[20] The FTA awards grants through several programs, such as the New Starts program and Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program.


On June 26, 2008, the House passed the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act (H.R. 6052),[21] which gives grants to mass transit authorities to lower fares for commuters pinched at the pump and expand transit services. The bill also:

  • Requires that all Federal agencies offer their employees transit pass transportation fringe benefits. Federal agencies within the National Capital Region have successful transit pass benefits programs.
  • Increases the Federal cost-share of grants for construction of additional parking facilities at the end of subway lines from 80 to 100 percent to cover an increase in the number of people taking mass transit.
  • Creates a pilot program for vanpool demonstration projects in urban and rural areas.
  • Increases federal help for local governments to purchase alternative fuel buses, locomotives and ferries from 90 to 100 percent.

Advanced public transportation systems

Advanced public transportation systems (or APTS) is an Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, or IVHS, technology that is designed to improve transit services through advanced vehicle operations, communications, customer service, energy efficiency, air pollution reduction and market development.

See also


  1. ^ a b c 1931-, Black, Alan (1995). Urban mass transportation planning. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0070055575. OCLC 31045097.
  2. ^ Haring, Joseph E.; Slobko, Thomas; Chapman, Jeffrey (January 1976). "The impact of alternative transportation systems on urban structure". Journal of Urban Economics. 3: 14–30. doi:10.1016/0094-1190(76)90055-3 – via Elsevier Science Direct.
  3. ^ Correia, Gonçalo; Viegas, José Manuel (2011-02-01). "Carpooling and carpool clubs: Clarifying concepts and assessing value enhancement possibilities through a Stated Preference web survey in Lisbon, Portugal". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 45 (2): 81–90. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2010.11.001. ISSN 0965-8564.
  4. ^ Bush, Leon R. Vanpool Implementation in Los Angeles: Commute-a-van. Aerospace Corporation, 1975.
  5. ^ Pavone, Marco; Morton, Daniel; Frazzoli, Emilio; Zhang, Rick; Treleaven, Kyle; Spieser, Kevin (2014), "Toward a Systematic Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Automated Mobility-on-Demand Systems: A Case Study in Singapore", Road Vehicle Automation, Lecture Notes in Mobility, Springer, Cham, pp. 229–245, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-05990-7_20, ISBN 9783319059891
  6. ^ Hegger, Ruud (May 14, 2007). "Public Transport and Cycling: Living Apart or Together?". Transportation Research Board. 56: 38–41 – via The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  7. ^ Cervero, Robert; Round, Alfred (1996). "Future Ride: Adapting New Technologies to Paratransit in the United States".
  8. ^ "ACELA High-Speed Rail Network System". Railway Technology. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  9. ^ a b "Multi-Scalar Analysis of Transit-Oriented Development for New Start Commuter Rail". Transportation Research Board. January 12, 2016 – via The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  10. ^ "Branson buys into Brightline". Railway Age. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  11. ^ a b c d e Austen, Ben (2011-04-07). "The Megabus Effect". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  12. ^ Transportation Statistics Annual Report (1997) edited by Marsha Fenn, page 7
  13. ^ a b O'Toole, Randal (29 June 2011). "Intercity Buses: The Forgotten Mode". Policy Analysis (680).
  14. ^ a b Schliefer, Theodore (2013-08-08). "Bus travel is picking up, aided by discount operators". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Greyhound System Timetable June 25th, 2014". Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  16. ^ "What is BRT?". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. 2014-07-25.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "The MTA Network: Public Transportation for the New York Region". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2006-05-17.
  19. ^ Pisarski, Alan (October 16, 2006). "Commuting in America III: Commuting Facts" (PDF). Transportation Research Board. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  20. ^ SAFETEA-LU Implementation Archived 2010-08-27 at the Wayback Machine, Federal Transit Administration.
  21. ^ [1] Archived 2008-10-02 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

American Public Transportation Association

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit group of approximately 1,500 public and private sector member organizations that promotes and advocates for the interests of the public transportation industry in the United States.

APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation, including bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride on APTA member systems.

Bicycle-sharing system

A bicycle-sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike-share scheme, is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a short term basis for a price or free. Many bike share systems allow people to borrow a bike from a "dock" and return it at another dock belonging to the same system. Docks are special bike racks that lock the bike, and only release it by computer control. The user enters payment information, and the computer unlocks a bike. The user returns the bike by placing it in the dock, which locks it in place. Other systems are dockless. For many systems, smartphone mapping apps show nearby available bikes and open docks.

Employer transportation benefits in the United States

An employer in the United States may provide transportation benefits to their employees that are tax free up to a certain limit. Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 132(a), the qualified transportation benefits are one of the eight types of statutory employee benefits (also known as fringe benefits) that are excluded from gross income in calculating federal income tax. The qualified transportation benefits are transit passes, vanpooling, bicycling, and parking associated with these things.Commuting expenses in general are not excluded from taxable compensation in US tax law (for example, the cost of fuel to drive to the regular work place cannot be deducted). The goal of making the specific benefits described above nontaxable is to encourage forms of commuting that reduce road congestion and pollution.

Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transportation systems. The FTA is one of ten modal administrations within the DOT. Headed by an Administrator who is appointed by the President of the United States, the FTA functions through a Washington, D.C., headquarters office and ten regional offices which assist transit agencies in all states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. Until 1991, it was known as the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA).

Public transportation includes buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, monorail, passenger ferry boats, trolleys, inclined railways, and people movers. The federal government, through the FTA, provides financial assistance to develop new transit systems and improve, maintain, and operate existing systems. The FTA oversees grants to state and local transit providers, primarily through its ten regional offices. These providers are responsible for managing their programs in accordance with federal requirements, and the FTA is responsible for ensuring that grantees follow federal mandates along with statutory and administrative requirements.

Interstate Highway System

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways that forms part of the National Highway System in the United States. Construction of the system was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The system extends throughout the contiguous United States and has routes in Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

The U.S. federal government first funded roadways through the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, and began an effort to construct a national road grid with the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921. After Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, his administration developed a proposal for an interstate highway system, eventually resulting in the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. Construction of the Interstate Highway System was proclaimed complete in 1992, though some planned routes were canceled and several routes have stretches that do not fully conform with federal standards. The cost of construction of the Interstate Highway System was approximately $114 billion (equivalent to $521 billion after adjusting for inflation). The original system has been expanded numerous times through the creation of new designations and the extension of existing designations.

Though much of their construction was funded by the federal government, interstate highways are owned by the state in which they were built. All interstate highways must meet federal standards such as having controlled access, using a minimal number of traffic lights, and complying with federal traffic sign specifications. Interstate highways use a numbering scheme in which primary interstates are assigned one- or two-digit numbers and shorter routes are assigned three-digit numbers where the last two digits match the parent route. The Interstate Highway System is partially financed through the Highway Trust Fund, which itself is funded by a federal fuel tax. Though federal legislation initially banned the collection of tolls, some Interstate routes are toll roads.

As of 2016, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country used the Interstate Highway System, which had a total length of 48,181 miles (77,540 km). Several future routes are in development.

Let's Move Nashville

Let's Move Nashville was a local referendum in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 1, 2018, that would have funded the construction of a mass transit system under the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority in Davidson County. The $8.9 billion plan would have included several light rail and bus rapid transit lines along major corridors, to be built between 2018 and 2032. The plan was proposed in 2017 by Mayor Megan Barry under the Tennessee IMPROVE Act and supported by some Nashville politicians and businesses.

The plan would have included 26 miles (42 km) of light rail and 25 miles (40 km) of bus rapid transit, as well as additional funding for local buses and the Music City Star rail line. The light rail element of the plan would have been built in phases between 2026 and 2032, while the bus rapid transit lines would open in 2023. The plan was defeated in part due to an opposition campaign organized by Americans for Prosperity.

List of U.S. cities with high transit ridership

The following is a list of United States cities of 100,000+ inhabitants with the 50 highest rates of public transit commuting to work, according to data from the 2015 American Community Survey. The survey measured the percentage of commuters who take public transit, as opposed to walking, driving or riding in an automobile, bicycle, boat, or some other means.

1. New York City, New York – 56.5%

2. Jersey City, New Jersey – 47.6%

3. Washington, D.C. – 37.4%

4. Boston, Massachusetts – 33.7%

5. San Francisco, California – 33.1%

6. Cambridge, Massachusetts – 28.6%

7. Chicago, Illinois – 27.6%

8. Newark, New Jersey – 26.7%

9. Arlington, Virginia – 26.4%

10. Yonkers, New York – 26.4%

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 26.2%

12. Alexandria, Virginia – 21.7%

13. Berkeley, California – 21.6%

14. Oakland, California – 20.3%

15. Seattle, Washington – 20.1%

16. Daly City, California – 19.8%

17. Baltimore, Maryland – 18.6%

18. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 17.0%

19. Hartford, Connecticut – 16.6%

20. Stamford, Connecticut – 14.1%

21. Richmond, California – 14.0%

22. Edison, New Jersey – 13.4%

23. New Haven, Connecticut – 13.3%

24. Minneapolis, Minnesota – 13.1%

25. Portland, Oregon – 12.1%

26. Paterson, New Jersey – 11.9%

27. Bellevue, Washington – 11.8%

28. Buffalo, New York – 11.7%

29. Miami, Florida – 11.4%

30. Elizabeth, New Jersey – 11.3%

31. Ann Arbor, Michigan – 11.2%

32. East Los Angeles, California – 10.9%

33. Bridgeport, Connecticut – 10.8%

34. Cleveland, Ohio – 10.5%

35. Los Angeles, California – 10.6%

36. Concord, California – 10.0%

37. Atlanta, Georgia – 9.8%

38. Naperville, Illinois – 9.7%

39. St. Louis, Missouri – 9.4%

40. Madison, Wisconsin – 9.3%

41. Fremont, California – 9.0%

42. Rochester, New York – 8.8%

43. San Juan, Puerto Rico – 8.7%

44. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 8.6%

45. St. Paul, Minnesota – 8.5%

46. Honolulu, Hawaii – 8.4%

47. Providence, Rhode Island – 8.3%

48. Gresham, Oregon – 8.2%

49. Cincinnati, Ohio – 7.8%

50. New Orleans, Louisiana – 7.8%

List of bicycle-sharing systems

This is a list of bicycle-sharing systems, both docked and dockless. As of December 2016, roughly 1000 cities worldwide have a bike-sharing program.

National City Lines

National City Lines, Inc. (NCL) was a public transportation company. The company grew out of the Fitzgerald brothers' bus operations, founded in Minnesota, United States in 1920 as a modest local transport company operating two buses. Part of the Fitzgerald's operations were reorganized into a holding company in 1936, and later expanded about 1938 with equity funding from General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California and Phillips Petroleum for the express purpose of acquiring local transit systems throughout the United States in what became known as the General Motors streetcar conspiracy. The company formed a subsidiary, Pacific City Lines in 1937 to purchase streetcar systems in the western United States. National City Lines, and Pacific City Lines were indicted in 1947 on charges of conspiring to acquire control of a number of transit companies, and of forming a transportation monopoly for the purpose of "conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines." They were acquitted on the first charge and convicted on the second in 1949.

National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Inc. (NRC) is a trade association in the railroad and rail transit construction industry. The NRC is a non-profit trade association, governed by a Board of Directors and administered by the Washington, DC government relations firm, Chambers, Conlon, and Hartwell, LLC. NRC members include rail construction and maintenance contractors such as Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc., Colo Railroad Builders, Delta Railroad Construction, Inc., Herzog Contracting Corp., Kiewit Western Co., Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., RailWorks Corporation, and Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.; in addition to supplier companies such as A&K Railroad Materials, Inc., Harsco Rail, L. B. Foster Company, Progress Rail Services, Inc., and Western-Cullen-Hayes, Inc..

The NRC holds an annual conference and exhibition each January, usually taking place in South Florida or Southern California and encompassing more than 800 attendees and about 90 exhibitors. Attendees include executives from rail construction contractors, suppliers, and associated professional service firms. Speakers are generally engineering executives from freight railroads, executives and administrators of public rail transit agencies, and a small number of related experts on topics such as railroad financial analysis and rail-related federal legislative developments. The first NRC Conference took place in 1973 and has been held annually without interruption ever since.

The NRC hosts an annual railroad construction and maintenance equipment auction each spring. In the auction, NRC member companies buy and sell rail construction and maintenance equipment from each other and from railroads that participate. The auctions have ranged in size from 150 to 300 pieces of equipment, with a total value of $400,000 to $750,000. The first NRC-organized auction took place in March 2004, and have been held annually without interruption ever since.

The NRC participates in organizing an annual "Railroad Day on Capitol Hill" event, in cooperation with the lead organizations, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Old Pueblo Trolley

Old Pueblo Trolley is a non-profit, educational corporation based in Tucson, in the U.S. state of Arizona, that is dedicated to the preservation of Arizona's mass transit history. The name also commonly refers to the heritage streetcar line which OPT began operating in 1993, on which service is currently indefinitely suspended. OPT consists of three divisions that each fill a specific role in preserving the state's mass transit history. The divisions are the Street Railway Division, Motor Bus Division and the Museum Division (Southern Arizona Transportation Museum).

Old Pueblo Trolley's streetcar line opened in 1993. The trolley last ran on October 31, 2011, when service was suspended for construction of the Sun Link modern-streetcar system.Operating on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Old Pueblo Trolley ran on just over a mile of single-track line recovered from Tucson's original street railway. From its south terminus at 5th Avenue and Broadway Boulevard the trolley ran north on 4th Avenue before heading east on University Boulevard to its terminus at Tyndall Street, just west of the University of Arizona Main Gate.

Passenger Environment Survey

Passenger Environment Survey (PES) is a quality-control type survey used by a number of transit agencies to rate and monitor performance. Generally a PES would include items such as cleanliness, litter, appearance, temperature (heating and air conditioning), graffiti, trash cans, and other quality issues affecting customer perception and quality of the riding experience. There is usually a quality control criteria, and dedicated surveyors are used to gather data that summarize into periodic ratings.

In North America, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), Bay Area Rapid Transit District, and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority are three agencies currently using this type of surveys. However, many other transit agencies have similar surveys or quality assurance processes—but other names might be used to describe them.

Practical Solutions

Practical Solutions is a new methodology by which public transportation systems manage, define, and deliver roadway projects in the United States. The idea seeks cost-effective solutions to meet community-defined outcomes. Practical Solutions incorporates concepts from the field of energy utilities such as least-cost planning, practical design, context-sensitive solutions, smart transportation, performance-based outcomes, and value engineering into one methodology to achieve results at the lowest cost to the public.Current states that have embarked in transitioning their State Departments of Transportation to this methodology in some form include: Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, California, and Hawaii.

From PennDOT's work, "Smart Transportation" or Practical Solutions is centered on these principles:


Planning and designing within the context of the community

Choosing projects with high rate of return

Improving the local transportation system, as well as that of the state

Recognizing there are many other outcomes beyond level of service (delay)

Safety being the most important metric, but for all modes of transportation and not just vehicles

Maintaining and improving existing investments first

Building Complete Communities through transportation investments

Partnerships with local governments on land use is key to success

Public transport in Phoenix

Public transportation in Phoenix, Arizona consists primarily of buses, a 20-mile (32 km) light rail system, and minor additional services. Most transit services run under the name Valley Metro; local cities, counties, and other agencies in the Phoenix area have agreed to use the Valley Metro name.

Public transport in the Greater Valley of the Sun exists in a number of modes: local, express, and RAPID commuter buses; neighborhood circulators; dial-a-ride; vanpool service; an online carpool-matching system, and METRO light rail.

San Juan-Caguas Rail

The San Juan-Caguas Rail project, currently named NOVOTRÉN, will link the Puerto Rican cities of San Juan and Caguas through a "regional rail network". The plan was announced by the Mayor of Caguas, William Miranda Marín, along with former governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá on March 9, 2007 (2007-03-09). The agreement signed creates a public-private society between three parties: the central government, the city council and a regional partnership; it entails an investment of $200 million by the central government through the Government Bank of Development (Banco Gubernamental de Fomento in Spanish). The total cost of the project is estimated at between $375 million and $400 million US dollars.

The execution of the project will be in charged by Mideast Technology Initiative "Tecnológica Centro Oriental" (INTECO), a non-profit organization that groups municipal governments, academic and industrial institutions of the region.

The new line will include two stops in Caguas that will connect the Tren Urbano (Urban Train in English) in San Juan. The mayor of Caguas projected that in first year ridership should be between 10,000 and 15,000 daily, and that it should climb to about 20,000 in a year and a half.

The Puerto Rico Highway & Transportation Authority (PRHTA) has chosen The Innovative Transportation Group (ITG) - formed by French rail and urban transport management and design consultancy Semaly and Ray and locals such as architect Raúl Gayá, a project group which carried out the study, the drafting of enterprise consultation file documents and assistance in the choice of the contract holders.On March 2013, the name of the project was revealed and it will be called the NOVOTREN.

The Ride Solution

The Ride Solution is a non-profit agency that provides public transportation in the city of Palatka, as well as other communities in Putnam County, Florida. The Palatka Union Depot serves as the systems hub, offering access to Greyhound and Amtrak routes. Inter-county routes connect Putnam County to Jacksonville's JTA transit system, and the Gainesville Regional Transit System. Due to the diffused population and rural nature of Putnam County, adequate public transportation is difficult to accomplish. As such, a secondary goal of Ride Solution is to address rural transportation issues.

Transit watchdog

A transit watchdog is an individual or group that provides public comment regarding public transit operations. Transit watchdogs attract a variety of contributors, from transit users to railfans, who offer feedback about service, operations, and funding matters.

Public transportation in the United States
Federal district
Insular areas
Mass transit in North America
Sovereign states
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other territories

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