System Characteristics: Transit
Transit system coverage, capacity, and use in the United States continued to increase between 2000 and 2002. In 2002, there were 610 transit operators serving urbanized areas, of which 538 were public agencies. A public transit provider may be a unit of a regional transportation agency, a State, a county, or a city government or it may be independent. In 2000, the most recent year for which information is available, there were 1,215 operators serving rural areas; and in spring 2004, it was estimated that there were 4,836 providers of special services to older adults and persons with disabilities receiving Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds.
In 2002, transit agencies in urban areas operated 114,564 vehicles, of which 87,295 were in areas of more than 1 million people. Rail systems comprised 10,722 miles of track and 2,862 stations. There were 769 bus and rail maintenance facilities in urban areas, compared with 729 in 2000. The most recent surveys of rural operators in 2000 estimated that 19,185 transit vehicles operated in rural areas. The FTA estimates that in 2002 there were 37,720 special service transit vehicles for older adults and persons with disabilities of which 16,219 were funded by FTA.
In 2002, transit systems operated 235.3 billion directional route miles, of which 225.8 billion were nonrail and 9.5 billion were rail route miles. Total route miles increased by 14.2 percent between 2000 and 2002. Nonrail route miles increased by 14.7 percent and rail route miles increased by 2.8 percent during this period.
Transit system capacity, as measured by available seating and standing capacity, increased by 18.7 percent between 2000 and 2002. Rail capacity increased by 19.7 percent and nonrail capacity by 17.7 percent. The capacities of rail and nonrail modes were similar in 2002, 2.2 and 2.0 billion capacity-equivalent miles, respectively, for a total of 4.2 billion miles.
Transit passenger miles traveled (PMT) increased by 1.9 percent between 2000 and 2002, from 45.1 billion to 45.9 billion. PMT traveled on nonrail modes increased from 20.5 billion in 2000 to 21.3 billion in 2002, or by 4.0 percent. PMT on rail transit modes increased from 45,101 million in 2000 to 45,944 million in 2002. The growth in rail PMT was affected by a decline in heavy rail PMT in New York after the September 11 terrorist attacks destroyed parts of the subway system.
In 2002, vehicle occupancy was 10.9 persons compared with 11.3 persons in 2000. Vehicle occupancy of transit vehicles, adjusted to the capacity of a bus, fluctuated between 10.6 persons and 11.3 persons per vehicle between 1993 and 2002.