Benchmark rankings for transit systems in the United States

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - methods


Benchmarks, Measuring methods, Performance, Public transit, Transit operating agencies, United States


Benchmarking is a well-established practice among public and private entities that are interested in improving their performance. Benchmarking allow agencies to measure their own performance against other similar agencies, assuming that similar types of data are maintained to allow for meaningful comparisons. The benchmarking practice also allows agencies to measure their own progress over time. Transit agencies do maintain considerable data that are required by the federal government in order to receive federal funds. These data could provide the foundation for meaningful benchmarks of performance to be established, which would help transit agencies realize "where they stand" in the industry. However, at this time there is no effort to utilize these data on a national basis that is universally regarded as constructive by the transit industry. Part of the problem is that transit agencies do operate in different economic and geographic environments with different policy goals, making broad comparisons of system performance misleading.