Handbook of automated data collection methods for the National Transit Database

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, place - urban, planning - methods


Accuracy, Automatic data collection systems, Data collection, Databases, Evaluation, National Transit Database, Operations, Performance, Public transit, Transit operating agencies, Urban transit


In recent years, with the increasing sophistication and capabilities of information processing technologies, there has been a renewed interest on the part of transit systems to tap the rich information potential of the National Transit Database (NTD) for the purpose of improving transit operations. Because the NTD contains the only standardized collection of performance data for urban transit providers in the nation, it has become an important transit evaluation tool. In many cases, however, there have been concerns about the accuracy of the NTD information, even after final Federal Transit Administration (FTA) validation. Many of the errors found in the NTD are often related to data collection problems experienced by transit agencies and many of these agencies have expressed difficulties in collecting some elements of the NTD data. Hence, they are requesting help with collecting data from the correct sources, ease of obtaining the NTD data, determining operational procedure guidelines to collect data more efficiently, and gathering data from their contractors. This document provides examples of the capabilities of automated methods available for collecting and compiling data for the NTD. However, automated methods included in this document have capabilities beyond collecting the data necessary for the NTD, which in fact may be the primary reason for agencies to acquire these tools in the first place.