Transit Benefits Statistics

National RTAP has compiled a list of compelling statistics from diverse national sources that your organization can add to presentations, brochures, handouts, and advertisements to help demonstrate the many benefits and lasting value of public transit. By using powerful data in your marketing materials, you can influence stakeholders to foster policies and improve funding mechanisms that invest in and expand the reach of transit. Statistics in this toolkit can also be used in direct consumer marketing materials to attract and retain current and future riders.

The data on this page cover a host of substantial transit benefits and assets, including economic prosperity, expanded job opportunities, enhanced access to vital community resources, and improvements to the environment and public health and individual well-being.  

Research for this page includes many print, online and social media sources.  Sources and links to original research and reports are provided next to the data.



2017 - Social isolation costs $6.7 billion annually. Medicare Spends More on Socially Isolated Older Adults



2018 - Most of the roads in the United States  (2.94M miles) are in rural areas (Source: AASHTO's Twitter feed)


Active Living Research

2012 - Public transit users take 30% more steps each day than people who rely on cars. The Role of Transportation in Promoting Physical Activity
2011 - Walking to and from public transit satisfies the daily physical activity recommendation for 29% of transit users.  Land Use, Transportation, and Community Design  


Alliance to Save Energy

2018 - US motorists spend an average of 41 hours and $1445 in energy costs a year in traffic. Alliance to Save Energy Twitter Feed


2018 - Failure to invest in public transportation infrastructure modernization results in a loss of $340 billion in cumulative business sales from 2017-2023, $180 billion in cumulative gross national product (GNP) and $109 billion in household income. The Economic Cost of Failing to Modernize Public Transportation
2018 - Property values perform 42% better near public transportation. (Source: APTA's Twitter Feed)
2018 - Beneficial impact on the environment - 17% of public transit buses are electric or hybrids (Source: APTA's Twitter Feed)
2018 - Robust funding in public transportation leads to $66 billion in business sales per year.  Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows
2018 - 1.1 million jobs are created or sustained per year by public transportation.  More than 50,731 jobs are created per $1 billion investment in public transportation. (Source: APTA's Twitter Feed)
2018  - Taking transit saves people an annual average of $10,100 per year. (Source: APTA's Twitter Feed)
2018  - Public transit employs nearly 400,000 people.  Twitter #TransitFundingTuesday
2017 - Nearly 90% of Transit Ballot Initiatives passed in 2017 Nearly 90% of Transit Ballot Initiatives passed in 2017
2017 - Public transit ridership increased nearly 8% between 2007-2015 Rural and Small Town Public Transit Ridership Increased Nearly 8% Since 2007
2017 - There are 2.9 million rural veterans living in America, making up 33 percent of the veteran population enrolled in the VA health care system. Public Transportation Supports America's Veterans
2017 - Living with one less car can save you an average of $826 per month  APTA's Twitter Feed
2017 - Public transit saves $21 billion in congestion-related costs per year. Dump the Pump Transit Facts
2016 - Traveling by public transit is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile. Commuters Reduce Their Crash Risk by More Than 90 Percent When Taking Public Transit Instead of Driving



2017 - Rural Americans with disabilities take 50% more trips on public transit. Public Transit's Impact in Rural and Small Towns
2017 - Rural transit's multiplier effect is $3.55 for every $1 invested.  Public Transit's Impact in Rural and Small Towns



2018 - People age 18 to 64 with disabilities use local transit for a higher share of trips than people without disabilities—4.3 versus 2.7 percent for workers and 5.9 versus 3.3 percent for non-workers. Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities


Citizens for Modern Transit

2018 - A $10 million investment in public transportation results in a $30 million gain in sales for local businesses. Benefits of Transit
2018 - 80% of Americans believe that increased investment in public transportation strengthens the economy, creates jobs, reduces traffic congestion and air pollution and saves energy.  Benefits of Transit
2018 - An estimated 14 million Americans ride public transportation each weekday. Benefits of Transit



2014 - Rural transit is the second safest way to travel - rural transit providers can expect a fatality only once every 93 years. Rural Transit's Outstanding Safety Record



2012 - Rural residents make up approximately 27% of the United States population. Rural Transportation Topic Guide
2012 - 11 million people with disabilities live in rural areas. Rural Transportation Topic Guide
2012 - Older adults comprise more than two-thirds of rural area residents. Rural Transportation Topic Guide
2012 - Approximately 38% of rural residents live in areas with no public transportation. Rural Transportation Topic Guide



2017 - In the United States, transit ridership from 2007-2017 has grown by more than 20%, reaching its highest levels since 1957. National Transit Database
2016 - It only costs $3.88 per revenue mile to operate a rural bus. National Transit Database Presentation
2016 - Americans took 10.2 billion trips on public transportation. National Transit Database


National Geographic

2018 - The distance an average bus can travel on one gallon of fuel has risen 33% from 1975-2015. This Graphic Maps the Greenest Modes of Transportation


National Park Service

2016 - 29% of transit systems serving national parks provide visitor access to parks and park sites that are not otherwise accessible by private automobile. Transit Inventory and Performance Report



2015 - Total annual ridership for rural transit systems increased 3% in 2015. Rural Transit Fact Book
2015 - Rural transit agencies provide 490 million miles of service and 28 million vehicle hours of service annually. Rural Transit Fact Book
2015 - Tribal transit agencies provide agencies provide 3.6 million rides annually. Rural Transit Fact Book



2012 - Every $1.00 put into a travel training program creates a return of $1.45 to $3.98. Research Pays Off: Can Travel Training Services Save Public Transportation Agencies Money? 


US Census Bureau

2018 - By 2035, there will be 78 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18. Older People Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time in U.S. History



2017 - 86.3 million Americans and nearly 40% of the nation's-transit dependent individuals live in rural areas - 2.8 million people in rural areas do not own a car.  Importance of Rural Transportation
2017 - Americans take 10 billion trips on public transportation annually. National Transit Database
2016 - Transportation employs over 13 million people. Transportation Statistics Annual Report
2016 - More than 1,500 rural and tribal government transit agencies offer transit service. Passenger Travel Facts and Figures
2015 - Transit ridership has been on an uphill trajectory since 1995, increasing by about 30% in 20 years. Transportation Statistics Annual Report
2015 - The transportation sector accounted for 9% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($1.66 trillion) and 9% of the U.S. labor force. Transportation Statistics Annual Report
2014 - Transporation programs generated over $355 billion in revenue for the United States. Transportation Statistics Annual Report
2014 - 97% of bus stations are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Passenger Travel Facts and Figures


UK Biobank

2018 - In a study of over 350,000 participants, regular non-driving commuters with active patterns of travel (including public transportation) had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (477 vs. 1118) and cancer (1442 vs. 2704) than regular commuters traveling by car. Using Alternatives to the Car and risk of All-Cause, Cardiovascular and Cancer Mortality


Voices for Public Transit

2017 - Public transit employs about 400 thousand people & creates over 100 thousand private-sector jobs. Public Transportation Matters


Updated October 18, 2018