Getting Started

The application is simple and easy to use. Here are a few terms that are important to understanding cost allocation.

  • Cost Allocation: the act of taking a sum of operating costs and distributing that sum to individual transit routes, transit services, or jurisdictions.
  • Fully Allocated Cost: a fully allocated cost means a cost that represents the full cost of a transit route or service, including all costs incurred by the transit agency—both variable and fixed.
  • Variable Costs: costs that are mainly a function of the amount of service provided. For example, the cost of fuel, parts, and driver wages are variable costs. They change with the amount of service provided.
  • Fixed Costs: costs that do not change with the amount of service provided (in the short run). For example, the cost of facility maintenance, administration salaries, or management computers do not change with the amount of service provided.

Whether you prefer the Excel or Access version there are four tabs where you will fill in data. The table below describes each tab.

  1. Enter Service Data

  2. Enter Financial Data

Route / Service Name: Given name of the service

NTD Mode: Options include nine fixed-route and demand responsive travel modes

NTD Jurisdiction: Options include Urbanized Area (UZA) or Rural Area (non-UZA). UZAs/geographies can be named by the user, and multiple UZAs are allowed

Service Type: Options include Directly Operated or Purchased Transportation

Sponsored Type: Options include General Public Service or Sponsored

Funding Source: Options include Section 5307 Urbanized, Section 5311 Non-Urbanized, Section 5310 Elderly & Disabled, or other sources named by the user

Choose USOA Object Class: Select the appropriate USOA Object Class for the expense from the available options

Subclass: Select the appropriate subclass for the expenses from the available options, corresponding with the use of the expense for the transit agency. Options include operations, dispatch, fuel, vehicle maintenance, non-vehicle maintenance, and administrative.

Enter Amount ($): Write in the amount of the expense using numeric text only; no commas are necessary

  3. Enter Operational Data

  4. Allocate Costs

Revenue Hours: Number of revenue hours for the route/service

Vehicle Hours: Number of total vehicle hours for the route/service

Revenue Miles: Number of revenue miles for the route/service

Vehicle Miles: Number of total vehicle miles for the route/service

Passenger Trips: Number of passenger trips for the route/service

For Sponsored Services Only:

Sponsor Name: Name of the sponsored service

Passenger Hours: Number of passenger hours for the sponsored service

Passenger Miles: Number of passenger miles for the sponsored service

Sponsored Trips: Number of passenger trips for the sponsored service

Allocate expenses information at the push of a button once data has been entered in the previous steps

Click on the Click to Allocate Costs button at the top of the page

Click on the Generate Summary Report button to navigate to the summary report tab and view the cost allocation tables

Instruction Manual

The instruction manual is a comprehensive guide explaining the methodology behind the Cost Allocation Calculator and offering detailed instructions for both the Excel and Access versions. 

Download Instructional Manual


Instructional Webinar

Excel Version: Webinar | Powerpoint

Access Version: Webinar | Powerpoint


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to collect new data for my service in order to use the calculator?
A: The Cost Allocation Calculator relies on data that should be readily available to every urban, small urban, rural, or tribal transit agency. No new data collection will be necessary to use the calculator.

Q: Can I use the Cost Allocation Calculator for a single route/service?
A: The calculator application is designed allocate expenses to multiple routes/services. Using the application for a single route would have all expenses going to the route, with no allocation taking place. The benefit of the calculator comes from using the application for multiple routes/services.

Q: Can the application be used across multiple years/time periods?
A: The application is designed to store data for a single time period and is designed to be used annually. For each time period you should save a new version of the application before clearing old data.

Q: How do I use the Access version of the calculator if I don’t have Microsoft Access license?

A: If you do not have MS Access 2016 installed on your computer, search for the “Microsoft Access 2016 Runtime” online and download the extension in order to run the Access version of this application.

Federal Transit Administration

National Transit Database Glossary

TRCP Report 144 – Sharing the Cost of Human Services Transportation

Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principals, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, (OMB),

Uniformed System of Accounting

FTA’s Uniform System of Accounts


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