Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The National Transit Database (NTD) is the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA's) primary database for statistics on the transit industry. Recipients of FTA's Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5307) and Other Than Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5311) are required by statute to submit data to the NTD. These data are used to “help meet the needs of * * * the public for information on which to base public transportation service planning * * *” (49 U.S.C 5335).
Currently, over 650 transit agencies in urbanized areas report to the NTD through an Internet-based reporting system. Each year, performance data from these submissions are used to apportion over $4 billion of FTA funds under the Urbanized Area Formula Grants Program. These data are also used in the annual National Transit Summaries and Trends report, the biennial Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, and in meeting FTA's obligations under the Government Performance Results Act of 1993.
In an ongoing effort to improve the NTD Internet reporting system and to be responsive to both the needs of NTD data users and the needs of transit agencies reporting to the NTD, FTA annually refines and clarifies reporting requirements to the NTD, as contained in the Annual NTD Module Reporting Manual. This notice announces the availability of the final 2007 Annual Manual.
On September 5, 2007, FTA published a notice in the
(1) To require buyers of purchased transportation service from private providers to include the service in their own NTD report, and to no longer permit private providers of purchased transportation service to report separately to the NTD on behalf of the public provider of transit services;
(2) To require that when one public transit provider purchases transportation services from another public transit agency, that either the buyer or the seller may report the service, but that the service must be reported as being “directly operated;”
(3) To require rail transit agencies to report Average Weekday Unlinked Passenger Trips and Actual Passenger Car Revenue Miles by four time categories: Weekday AM Peak, Weekday Midday, Weekday PM Peak and Weekday Other;
(4) To require those few transit agencies that service one urbanized area over 200,000 in population (large urbanized area) and two or more urbanized areas under 200,000 in population (small urbanized areas) to separately allocate their operations, operational expense, and fixed guideway data among each of the urbanized areas under 200,000 in population that they serve on the federal funding allocation form;
(5) To require transit agencies to separate funds, which were previously reported as “Other FTA Funds,” into different categories for each FTA program in their NTD report;
(6) To create a standard form for submitting the Chief Executive Officer's (CEO) certification; and
(7) To require all transit agencies, beginning with the 2008 report year, to conduct a statistical sample of average trip lengths (used for calculating passenger miles traveled) every three years, unless they are a large transit agency that is already required to sample every year.
FTA received eight comments on the proposed amendments to the 2007 Annual Manual. Four comments were received regarding the proposed peak rail data collection, two comments were received on the proposed sampling requirements for small urbanized area transit agencies, and one comment each was received on the proposed changes to the allocation of funding form, the collection of funding data by specific FTA programs, and the standard form for filing CEO certifications. No comments were received on either of the two proposed changes regarding the reporting of purchased transportation services. Additionally, FTA received comments on two issues that were not addressed in the
FTA received four comments on its proposal to collect peak service data for rail transit systems. Two comments asked that this requirement be made optional for the 2007 and 2008 report years, as 2007 and 2008 data have already been collected without regard to peak data. One of these comments also suggested that FTA institute a size threshold to require peak data only from large rail transit agencies, and asked if the peak service data requirement would apply to atypical rail modes, such as inclined plane. One comment expressed concern about the burden this requirement would impose on small transit agencies that operate only motorbus and demand response service.
One comment was received from a commuter rail transit agency that indicated that it collected tickets by hand on-board the trains, and so could not easily collect and report unlinked passenger trip data by time of day. Two comments suggested that some transit agencies could comply with FTA's proposal only by applying estimation factors to their actual total ridership counts. One comment asked if FTA would define a consistent peak service period across all rail agencies, or if each rail agency could define its own peak period.
FTA received two comments on its proposal to require all transit agencies that are not required to sample every year to do so every third year. Previously, some transit agencies in small urbanized areas were only required to sample every fifth year. One small transit agency and one State public transportation association urged FTA to reconsider this proposal, arguing that the proposal would be too burdensome on small transit agencies.
One comment requested further direction on FTA's proposal to expand its Federal Funding Allocation form to require transit agencies servicing one large urbanized area and two or more small urbanized areas to allocate their service data across the various small urbanized areas. (For NTD purposes, a large urbanized area is one with 200,000 or more in population, and a small urbanized area is one with less than 200,000 in population.) Previously, FTA's Federal Funding Allocation form only accounted for transit agencies serving one small urbanized area, not two or more. This comment expressed concern about the burden of conducting this allocation for the commenter's own agency.
FTA received one comment in support of its proposal to collect funding data separately for each FTA Program, rather than through a catchall category for “Other FTA Funds.”
FTA received one comment on its proposal to create a standard CEO Certification Form. This commenter was concerned that the standard CEO Certification Form would not be able to accommodate its practice of filing its NTD report before receiving the final report from its auditor.
FTA received one comment that the ordinary reporting deadlines for transit agencies with 2007 fiscal years ending on or before June 30, 2007, would not be attainable, given that the 2007 Annual Reporting Manual was pending public notice-and-comment.
FTA does not change the deadlines for transit agencies with 2007 fiscal years ending after June 30, 2007. FTA further reminds transit agencies that pursuant to 49 CFR 630.6 NTD reporters may request a 30-day extension for submitting their reports.
FTA received one comment proposing revised guidance for sampling passenger miles for vanpool service, which are currently covered by the Circular UMTA C 2710.21, issued in 1988.
The final 2007 Reporting Manual, as amended, may be found on the Internet at