What is the National Transit Database?
The National Transit Database or NTD as itís commonly called, is the mechanism through which the Federal Transit Administration collects uniform data needed by the Secretary of Transportation to administer Department programs. The data collected consists of selected financial and operating data that generally describe mass transportation characteristics. The legislative requirement for the National Transit Database is found in Title 49 U.S.C. 5335(a).
Annually, all recipients of Urbanized Area Formula funding and any organization operating urban transit services that directly receive benefit from Urbanized Area Formula funding are required to submit or coordinate the submission of an NTD report.
Do Vanpools Qualify for Urbanized Area Formula Funds?
In short; yes! The FTA recognizes vanpools as a separate non-rail mode, along with bus, paratransit, jitneys, etc. As a result, vanpool programs are subject to the same requirements identified in the federally required NTD reporting system. Reported revenue miles and passenger miles are used in a formula allocation of FTA Urbanized Area Formula funds dispersed to urbanized areas across the United States.
The operating results of a vanpool program can generate additional federal capital assistance in two ways. First, each vanpool revenue mile (the mileage accumulated when passengers are in a van) generates eligibility for a certain amount of federal aid. Secondly, the passenger miles of vanpool riders are used to calculate another source of capital assistance called the bus incentive tier. The bus incentive tier is calculated by squaring passenger miles and dividing by operating costs. The concept for this allocation factor is to reward transit systems that generate high passenger miles with low operating expenses. Based on the national NTD totals, Congress each year develops unit values to determine what amounts are used in the formula to apportion funds.
Whatís a Designated Recipient?
In each urbanized area there exists a designated recipient of Urbanized Area Formula funds. This is a public body with legal authority to receive and dispense Federal funds. In urbanized areas of 200,000 or more population, the Governor has typically designated a single recipient such as an MPO or a regional transit agency or commission.
A monetary contract between a federal Urbanized Area Formula grant recipient and VPSI, which owns and operates the equipment and services, would permit the public agency to qualify for a greater share of Urbanized Area Formula funds in future years from the FTA.
Additional information on the National Transit Database program can be found at http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/ , or by contacting:
Vice President Ė Government Relations