Fifty-one Percent of Small Urban and Rural Transit Providers Saw Improved Record-Keeping, Reporting, or Data Analysis by Deploying ITS Technologies.

2019 USDOT Survey of Small Urban and Rural Transit Providers Reveals Benefits of Various ITS Technologies.

Date Posted

Intelligent Transportation Systems: Findings from the Small Urban and Rural Transit Provider Survey

Summary Information

This study presents findings from the 2019 Small Urban and Rural Transit Survey exploring the use and usefulness of ITS technologies deployed by small urban and rural transit providers, along with reasons why the technologies are or are not being used. The survey addresses challenges to deployment, the benefits of successful implementation, and sources of funding and technical support, including use of ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) resources. The survey was administered between September 9 –October 28, 2019, and achieved a 74 percent response rate, resulting in a final sample of 244 small urban and rural transit providers (107 small urban and 137 rural). The survey findings provide a more representative picture of ITS technologies deployed nationally by transit agencies, and a better understanding of the factors that affect deployment for smaller providers.


The General Accountability Offices (GAO)’s sampling methodology as well as the questionnaire were replicated to provide data comparable to the 2015 Small Urban and Rural Transit Provider Survey, with a few new questions related to Connected Vehicles (CV), Automated Vehicles (AV), and partnerships with private transportation providers. Small Urban Transit Providers were identified as recipients of Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Urbanized Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. 5307) with populations of 200,000 or fewer. Rural Transit Providers were identified as sub-recipients of the FTA’s Rural Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. 5307). The data was weighted to accurately reflect the distribution of small urban and rural transit providers within the population. The research team used the 2019 National Transit Database to identify the types of service offered by the small urban and rural transit agencies responding to the survey.


  • When rating the usefulness of ITS technologies, a high proportion of respondents saw the ITS technologies they use as "very useful", with ratings ranging from 52 percent to 79 percent. The top three rated technologies were Security Cameras and Systems (79 percent), Electronic Fare Payment Systems (73 percent) and Computer-Aided Dispatch (69 percent). The survey indicated that 82 percent to 91 percent of the respondents gave a rating of either "very useful" or "moderately useful" for all ITS technologies (apart from Automatic Passenger Counters with a relatively lower percent at 69 percent).
  • The proportion of respondents who rated an ITS technology as "very useful" increased significantly for Travel Information Systems, moving from 47 percent in 2015 to 63 percent in 2019, while ratings for Maintenance Management Systems technologies declined significantly in the same period from 72 percent to 54 percent.
  • Comparing the 2019 results with 2015 results, significant increases in technology use were observed for Security Cameras & Systems (+9 percentage points), Automatic Vehicle Location (+24 percentage points) and Traveler Information Systems (+19 percentage points). Traveler Information Systems also shows a 16 percentage point increase in its' "very useful" rating.
  • Security Cameras and Systems and Automatic Vehicle Location were rated as “Higher Use and Usefulness” among the surveyed ITS technologies.
  • In terms of benefits from the use of ITS technologies, the 2019 survey indicated that record-keeping, reporting, or data analysis improved by 51 percent, followed by safety (35 percent), efficient scheduling and routing (35 percent), increased customer satisfaction (32 percent), and improved on time performance (29 percent).


Results Type