You are here

History of the NTD and Transit in the United States

Year     Milestone

1630 -   Reputed first publicly operated ferryboat (Boston, MA)

1740 -   Reputed first use of ox carts for carrying of passengers (New York, NY)

1811 -   First mechanically operated (steam-powered) ferryboat (New York, NY)

1827 -   Horse-drawn omnibus begins service along Broadway (New York, NY)

1830 -   First railroad (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.) (Baltimore, MD)

1832 -   First streetcar in America; horse-drawn rail cars begin service along the Bowery (New York, NY)

1835 -   Oldest street railway line still operating (New Orleans & Carrollton line) (New Orleans, LA)

1838 -   First commuter fares on a railroad (Boston & West Worcester Railroad) (Boston, MA)

1856 -   First fare-free promotion (Boston, MA)

1863 -   First subway in the world; trains hauled by steam engines begin service (London, England)

1868 -   First cable-powered (and first elevated) line (West Side & Yonkers Patent Railway) (New York, NY)

1870 -   First pneumatic-powered (and first underground) line (Beach Pneumatic Railroad Co.) (New York, NY)

1871 -   First steam-powered elevated line (New York Elevated Railroad Co.) (New York, NY)

1873 -   First cable car in the world runs up Clay Street (San Francisco, CA)

1883 -   First publicly operated cable-powered line (Brooklyn Bridge) (New York, NY)

1884 -   First electric street railway line (East Cleveland Street Railway) (Cleveland, OH)

1886 -   First semi-successful citywide street railway transit agency (Capital City Street Railway Co.) (Montgomery, AL)

1888 -   First successful electric street railway (Richmond, VA)

1893 -   First interurban rail line (East Side Railway Co.) (Portland, OR)

1895 -   First electric elevated rail line (Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway) (Chicago, IL)

1897 -   First American subway (Boston, MA)

1897 -   First publicly-financed public transportation facility (street railway tunnel) (Boston, MA)

1898 -   First electric multiple-unit controlled rail line (Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit Railroad Co.) (Chicago, IL)

1904 -   First state-operated street railway (State of North Dakota Capital Car Line) (Bismarck, ND)

1904 -   New York's first subway (New York, NY)

1905 -   First American gasoline-powered buses begin running on Fifth Avenue (New York, NY)

1906 -   First municipal street railway (Monroe, LA)

1908 -   First interstate underground heavy rail line (Hudson & Manhattan Railroad to New Jersey) (New York, NY)

1910 -   First trolleybus line (Laurel Canyon Utilities Co.) (Hollywood, CA)

1912 -   First publicly operated street railway in a large city (San Francisco Municipal Railway) (San Francisco, CA)

1912 -   First street railway to operate buses (Cleveland Railway) (Cleveland, OH)

1914 -   First jitney (Los Angeles, CA)

1916 -   First public bus-only transit agency (St. Louis Division of Parks and Recreation Municipal Auto Bus Service) (St. Louis, MO)

1921 -   First successful trolleybus line (New York, NY)

1923 -   First cities to replace all streetcars with buses - Bay City, MI; Everett, WA; Newburgh, NY

1926 -   Except for the years of the Second Word War, transit patronage in America reaches its all-time high of 17.3 billion riders

1927 -   First automobile park and ride lot and first bus-rail transfer facility for a non-commuter rail line (Philadelphia, PA)

1932 -   First publicly operated heavy rail line (Independent Subway) (New York, NY)

1933 -   First large city to replace all streetcars with buses (San Antonio, TX)

1936 -   First industry-developed standardized street railway car (P.C.C. car) (Brooklyn & Queens Transit System) (New York, NY)

1936 -   Large scale federal assistance for mass transit begins under the aegis of the US Public Works Administration

1938 -   First use of federal capital funding to build a public transportation rail line (Chicago, IL)

1939 -   First street with designated bus lane (Chicago, IL)

1940 -   First time bus ridership exceeded street railway ridership

1940 -   San Francisco, CA becomes last surviving cable car transit agency

1943 -   First rail line in expressway median (Pacific Electric Railway) (Los Angeles, CA)

1946 -   With war-related travel conditions still prevailing, US transit patronage reaches 23.5 billion riders, its absolute all-time high.

1952 -   Last new PCC car for US transit agency placed in service (San Francisco, CA)

1958 -   Passage of federal legislation removes any state role in allowing private railroads to discontinue commuter passenger service and vests all such authority with the ICC; enactment of this law widely regarded as single most important development leading to the current program of federal transit assistance

1961 -   First significant federal public transportation legislation (Housing & Urban Development Act of 1961) (Washington, DC)

1962 -   First monorail (Seattle World's Fair) (Seattle, WA)

1962 -   First automated heavy rail line (Grand Central Shuttle) (New York, NY)

1963 -   Chicago becomes last surviving city with interurban line (Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad)

1964 -   President Lyndon Johnson signs the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (UMTA) that provides $375 million in transit capital assistance over three years

1966 -   First re-authorization of transit assistance program

1966 -   First public takeover of commuter railroad (Long Island Rail Road Co.) (New York, NY)

1966 -   First statewide transit agency (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) (Providence, RI)

1968 -   First downtown transit mall (Nicollet Mall) (Minneapolis, MN)

1968 -   First rail station at an airport opened (Cleveland, OH)

1969 -   First transitway (Shirley Highway) (Washington, DC)

1969 -   First modern heavy rail transit agency replacing former rail line (Port Authority Transit Corporation) (Philadelphia, PA)

1970 -   First dial-a-ride demand response transit agency (Fort Walton Beach, FL)

1970 -   Ten-year re-authorization enacted

1971 -   First federally subsidized intercity passenger railroad (AMTRAK) (Washington, DC)

1972 -   First computer-controlled heavy rail transit agency (Bay Area Rapid Transit District) (San Francisco, CA)

1972 -   Project FARE (Financial Accounting and Reporting Elements)

1973 -   First "billion dollar year" for federal mass transit assistance program

1973 -   Interstate Transfer enacted as part of a re-authorization of the federal highway program

1973 -   Some public transportation service required to be accessible to disabled (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) (Washington, DC)

1973 -   Boston, MA; Dayton, OH; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA -- Last surviving trolleybus systems

1974 -   Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) Act amended to add § 15 requirements, or Uniform System of Accounts (USOA) and Reporting System

1974 -   Last street railway systems - Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; and San Francisco, CA

1975 -   First automated guideway transit agency (West Virginia University) (Morgantown, WV)

1976 -   First "two billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1976 -   First link in Washington Metrorail system opens for service (Washington, DC)

1977 -   First wheelchair-lift-equipped fixed-route bus (San Diego, CA)

1978 -   ST Act requires all § 5307 recipients to file a § 15 (NTD) report

1978 -   First "three billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1979 -   First standardized public transportation data accounting system (§ 15) (Washington, DC)

1980 -   First completely new light rail transit agency in decades (San Diego Trolley) (San Diego, CA)

1981 -   First § 15 (NTD) report published, based on 1979 data; Program administered in TRI; FTA (UMTA) analysts prepare § 15 reports internally

1981 -   First "four billion dollar year" for transit assistance program

1982 -   STA Act, NTD data used in formula to apportion funds

1983 -   Extensive structural change to simplify reporting

1983 -   Public transportation trust fund for capital projects created thru dedication of one cent of federal gas tax (Washington, DC)

1987 -   Federal transit assistance program re-authorized

1989 -   First completely new commuter rail transit agency in decades (Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority) (Miami, FL)

1989 - 1991  - § 15 restructuring and simplification; TRB/FTA Advisory Committee, data reporting requirements are reduced

1990 -   Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law - July 26

1991 -   Public transportation buses subject to strict pollution controls (Clean Air Act of 1990) (Washington, DC)

1991 -   First general authorization of use of highway funds for public transportation under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (Washington, DC)

1992 -   Federal transit and highway program jointly re-authorized and given its own "penny" from a five-cent increase in the Federal motor fuel tax; initial use of highway trust fund money for mass transit

1993 -   Final Rule on Restructuring; Diskette reporting replaces paper forms

1993 -   Major streamlining of program under aegis of "reinventing government," more multiyear grants 1998 awarded to build new rail transit systems than during any comparable period in the history of the Federal transit assistance program

1994 -   Publication of revised Uniform System of Accounts (USOA)

1995 -   Security reporting added for systems in UZAs > 200K; § 15 renamed National Transit Database (NTD)

1995 -   1.5 cents dedicated portion of federal fuel tax increased to 2 cents (Washington, DC)

1998 -   Major expansion and restructuring of federal public transportation program under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Washington, DC)

1998 -   National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA)

1999 - 2000 -  Congress inserts language to enhance NTD Safety and Security reporting

2000 -   Delivered report to Congress on redesign of NTD

2002 -   Initiated monthly Safety, Security and Ridership data reporting under redesigned NTD

2002 -   Launched new Annual NTD software with pre-submission validation routines

2005 -   Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorizes funds for all of the surface transportation programs of the Department of Transportation (FYs 2005 through 2009)

2006 -   Launched new Rural NTD Module

2007 -   Revised new Rural NTD Module based on SAFETEA-LU requirements and feedback from first year of reporting

2008 -   Revised Safety & Security Module to reduce reporting burden and introduce an interactive approach to reporting

Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Submit Feedback >