National Transit Database

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The National Transit Database (NTD) is a Federal reporting structure for transit agencies receiving Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding[1]. It serves as a primary repository on all transit related data and statistics in the United States. The performance data from the NTD is used annually to allocate FTA funds to agencies as well as report on public transit performance to Congress and other interests. The NTD is legislated under Title 49 U.S.C. 5335(a).


Agencies receiving Federal funding under FTA programs 5307 (Urbanized Area Formula) and 5311 (Rural Area Formula) must submit data to the NTD. There are many forms which cover most statistical aspects of operating transit service, such as agency characteristics, inventory of rolling stock, level of service and patronage, and system finances. Data must be submitted through the NTD Program online portal and format requirements are strict to ensure quality of data.


Small transit systems can apply for a Small Systems Waiver. Eligible systems must operate fewer than 30 vehicles including fixed-route and paratransit (either directly or by contract), and can have no fixed-guideway service. Agencies granted this waiver must still report to the NTD but may have reduced requirements. While the waiver does not affect funding eligibility, it may affect funding allocation because passenger miles are not reported [2].

Other waivers are available:

  • Natural Disaster Hold Harmless Adjustment: for decreased service as a result of a natural disaster
  • Data, Report or Passenger Miles Traveled Sampling Waivers: rarely issued specific waivers. Sometimes granted to agencies in their first year or which have suffered a major disaster.
  • Special Request – Strikes: for agencies suffering negative effects of labor strikes


New administrators of public transit systems may be unfamiliar with collecting and managing data appropriately to meet the requirements of the NTD program. The National Transit Institute regularly offers introductory courses on NTD reporting. The training is provided free for employees of public transit agencies receiving Federal funds. The course is available for a fee for transit consultants and others wishing to become familiar with public transit related topics.


  1. National Transit Database. Accessed 16:23 December 7, 2013
  2. National Transit Database. 2013. Accessed 16:43 on December 7, 2013