What is NTD Reporting, Why is it Required, What Changed for 2021?

Published on: January 31, 2022

The National Transit Database (NTD) was formed by Congress in 1974 to act as a federal reporting system for transit agencies who receive FTA funding. In particular, those agencies who receive 5307 funds (Urbanized Area Formula) and 5311 funds (Rural Area Formula) are required to submit NTD reports. An agency’s NTD report is due depending on that agency’s fiscal year end date. The agency’s report is due four months after its fiscal year ends.

The NTD is governed by 49 U.S. Code §5335, and reporting consists of four main areas :

  1. Financial data
  2. Service data
  3. Safety data
  4. Asset and resource data

Congress established NTD reporting to track the conditions of the transit systems and to gather statistics. The FTA uses the information and statistics gathered by NTD reporting to apportion funding to urbanized and rural areas. Transit agencies report data on several key metrics including Vehicle Revenue Miles (VRM), Vehicle Revenue Hours (VRH), Passenger Miles Traveled (PMT), Unlinked Passenger Trips (UPT), and Operating Expenses (OE).

Current Information
In November, 2021, NTD released its 2020 Annual Data Publications Guide. This annual publication details how to use the NTD data tables and any important changes to NTD data products. NDT data products include:

  • Transit profiles: Frequently sought data on any transit provider
  • National transit summaries and trends
  • Time series data on transit systems dating back to 1991
  • Up-to-date time series of monthly ridership data
  • Time series of safety data

NTD has released its 2021 Policy Manual detailing the full reporting guidelines.

NTD also issued its NTD Reporting and COVID-19 Guide which details reporting changes as a result of the pandemic. In this Guide, the FTA indicates that they will use an agency’s data from either the 2019 or 2020 NTD Annual Report and that by default, FTA will use all data from whichever Report Year has higher agency total Vehicle Revenue Miles (VRM).

The Guide also instructs agencies on how to report any changes in how their service is supplied and how to report expenses relating to COVID-19. Changes to reporting due to COVID -19 are expansive and range from extraordinary and special items such as service reductions, accommodating social distancing, emergency services, floater vehicles, restructured rideshare services, temporary out of service segments, health and safety expenses, reduced revenues and more.

Webinars and Training

The FTA provides, through the National Training Institute (NTI), webinars and trainings regarding NTD. The following webinars covering Report Year 2021 are listed on the NDT website and available for you to view on YouTube.

Webinars for 2022 will be posted on the RTAP website as they become available. At the time of publishing, fives sessions of the general NTD course were scheduled for the times and dates listed below. This NTD course is for transit professionals to learn the necessary skills for reporting urban data to the NTD reporting website. The course does not cover Reduced Reporting, Rural Reporting or Safety & Security Reporting.

Other resources for additional information about NTD reporting:


This article was published by RLS & Associates and MnRTAP

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