Classifying rural and small urban Transit Agencies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - rural, mode - demand responsive transit, operations - performance


rural, agency performance, small urban transit agencies, peer groups


Rural and small urban transit agencies are classified into peer groups by the hierarchical cluster analysis and data from the Rural National Transit Database. The objective is to provide a basis for the comparison of individual agency performance with peer group performance as well as econometric analysis between and within peer groups. Rural and small urban transit agencies are first assigned to three groups by service provided: demand-response, fixed-route, and demand-response and fixed-route service. A fourth group is created to accommodate the many transit agencies providing demand-response service that did not report vehicle hour data. The four groups are then clustered by using vehicle mile, vehicle hour (when available), and fleet size variables. Operating statistics for each cluster by group are presented. The process for comparing individual agency performance with its respective cluster is described. The Rural National Transit Database demonstrates its usefulness as a consistent, uniform national data set. However, additional service area information would accommodate clustering based on exogenous, as opposed to endogenous, variables, as necessary with the current data set.


Permission to publish has been given by TRB, copyright remains with them.