Section 5307 Program: Recipients or beneficiaries of FTA's Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5307) must obtain an NTD ID number and file regular reports to the National Transit Database. Transit systems with Thirty or Fewer vehicles are eligible for reduced reporting requirements, but still must obtain an NTD ID number and file an Annual Report.
Section 5311 Program: Recipients or beneficiaries of FTA's Rural Area Formula Program (Section 5311) must report to the Rural Module of the NTD. They do not need to apply for an NTD ID unless they receive or benefit from the Section 5307 Program. FTA assigns NTD IDs for the Rural Module to each of the States and Indian Tribes are direct FTA grantees in the Section 5311 Program. States file reports on behalf of their subrecipients – subrecipients in the Section 5311 Program do not report directly to the Rural NTD Module.
Voluntary Reporters: FTA also accepts NTD reports from other transit systems serving urbanized areas, both public and private, on a voluntary basis. FTA evaluates NTD ID applications from these transit systems to determine that they provide public transportation services. Voluntary reporters must meet all of the same reporting obligations as mandatory reporters.
What to Report?
All reporters must file a complete report for all of their transit-related activities. This includes all transit service using funds from Section 5307, Section 5311, other Federal programs, state, local, or private funding. Additionally, the report must include both directly operated (DO) services and purchased transportation (PT) services contracted to a private provider.
Activities not related to public transportation, however, are generally excluded from NTD reporting. Applicants for an NTD ID that also do intercity, charter, or sight-seeing operations must indicate how they will allocate shared costs (e.g. administrative overhead) between public and non-transit activities in their NTD report.
Who Requests an NTD ID for Urbanized Area Reporting?
FTA assigns NTD IDs either to the Section 5307 grant recipient, or to the record-keeping unit of a transit provider. A record-keeping unit is one that can meet NTD's reporting requirements for financial revenues, operating and capital expenditures, and service operations, and is subject to an annual financial audit. For example, a satellite bus garage would not be assigned its own NTD ID if its financial and operating data are kept by a central administrative office that oversees the transit operations of several bus garages.
A transit provider is an entity that provides directly operated transit service, purchased transportation transit service, or both.
- Directly operated service occurs when the reporter uses its employees to operate the transit vehicles.
- Purchased-transportation occurs when the reporter competitively seeks a private operator to provide some or all of their transit services. Typically, this is done through a request for proposals (RFP). The transit agency normally sets the conditions for service, i.e., service area, routes, schedules or hours of operation, and fares. The selected operator makes direct employment decisions (i.e. hiring and firing) of the service operators.
In many cases, two public entities may have a contractual relationship with each other for the operation of transit service. The arrangement may not be a competitive contract as described for private operators, but rather a funding agreement for service between a "buyer" and a "seller" of service. In these cases, FTA prefers that the public entity that is physically operating the service report the service under its own NTD ID, but in some cases the public entity paying for the service may be approved as the reporter of the service under its own NTD ID. In either case, services operated as the result of a contractual agreement between two public entities are always reported to the NTD as "directly operated" service.
Urbanized Area Reporting
Transit systems serving urbanized areas must report to the Annual Module, as well as more-frequent reports to the Monthly Module and to the Safety & Security Module. For more information on these requirements, please consult the relevant Reporting or Policy Manuals.
There are three major classes of urbanized area reporters:
- Full Reporters: Transit systems filing an individual report to the NTD fall into this category, unless they qualify for and request one of the two types of waivers listed below.
- Small Systems Waiver: A transit system that operates 30 or fewer vehicles in annual maximum service may request a 30 or Fewer Vehicles waiver for significantly reduced reporting requirements in the Annual Module, and exemption from reporting to the Monthly and Safety & Security Module.
- Grants Waiver: Some recipients of 5307 funding do not operate service. These are generally Metropolitan Planning Organizations who are either engaged in transit planning or in purchasing capital items for future services. As these reporters do not operate service, there are significantly reduced reporting requirements.
When Do Reporting Requirements Begin?
Recipients or beneficiaries must begin reporting to the NTD for whichever is earlier of:
- The year after they apply for a Section 5307 Grant in TEAM
- The year in which they first draw down Section 5307 funds
Prospective grantees must apply for an NTD ID sufficiently in advance to meet NTD reporting deadlines.
Once NTD reporting begins, reporting must continue through at least the FTA Minimum Useful Life for any capital assets purchased with Section 5307 Funds. Consult FTA's most recent Grants Circulars for the latest information on FTA Minimum Useful Lives. Additionally, once you begin reporting to the NTD, you may only apply for future Section 5307 Grants if you are continuing to meet NTD reporting requirements.
Requesting an NTD ID number
To begin NTD reporting, you will need to request an ID number for your agency emailing the necessary forms below to NTDhelp@dot.gov: