U.S. Urban and Commuter Rail
Passenger Traffic Statistics
Compiled by Leroy W. Demery, Jr. • October 25, 2010
Copyright 2005-2010, Publictransit.us
This tabulation includes all heavy rail transit (HRT), light rail transit (LRT) automated guideway transit (AGT), monorail (MO) and commuter rail (CR) systems currently in operation. It was separated from another tabulation, "U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980."
The authors have added commuter rail systems, small-scale heritage tramway ("vintage trolley," VT) systems (e.g. Tampa), and selected intramural transit systems (e.g. Morgantown). The authors have also added annual passenger traffic density statistics and selected historic data.
Data tables are organized by city. We have provided separate files in order to reduce file size and increase user friendliness. Some cities and systems have been grouped together because of geographic proximity (e.g. Baltimore and Washington, DC, commuter rail). The files include all modes serving each city or region. Links below are arranged in two groups: by city and by mode.
The primary data source was the National Transit Database (NTD), which is maintained by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). However, the authors did not intend merely to excerpt or reformat NTD data. Our goal is to provide a broad cross section of current and historic passenger traffic data. Sources consulted include annual reports published by the various transit operators, other documents provided by operator staff, and historic reference materials.
Various sources consulted by the authors do not agree on system lengths. We note that this is a chronic problem with some U.S. rail data, which stems apparently from factors such as rounding of segment lengths, and confusion between "constructed length" and "operated length." "System length" statistics presented below might vary from those implied by NTD statistics.
The US Federal Transit Administration classifies all tramways, light railways and light rail transit systems as "LRT." The authors do not agree, for example, that the New Orleans tramway "should" be classified as "LRT." However, we have retained the FTA classifications in most cases.
The distinction between "LRT" and "VT" can be established with reference to scale of operation. Comparison between the Memphis and Little Rock systems provides a useful example. At 2007, the Memphis system operated more than four times the system length and four times as many vehicles during peak periods as operated by the Little Rock system. Also at 2007, the Memphis MATA Trolley services carried more than eight times the number of passengers than the River Rail Streetcar Line in Little Rock. In addition, the Main Street and Madison Avenue lines were engineered for incorporation into a prospective future LRT system. The authors judged it reasonable to retain the FTA classification of the Memphis system as "LRT," and to use the label "VT" for the Little Rock system.
The term "Modern Streetcar" has come into use to describe urban circulator systems worked by modern (i.e. non-heritage) rolling stock. Examples include Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. The distinction between "Light Rail Transit" and "Modern Streetcar" is significant and useful, and the authors have therefore used the "Modern Streetcar" label as appropriate. It is important to note that some "Modern Streetcar" systems were engineered for incorporation into a future LRT system (e.g. Tacoma), but engineering details of others preclude operation of "LRT" rolling stock (e.g. Portland).
The authors have chosen not to apply contemporary classification labels to systems now closed. Others so inclined might debate whether such systems were, or were not, "LRT" as this term is understood today.
The authors have not presented summary NTD statistics for Philadelphia (SEPTA) "HRT " and "LRT" operations. As noted previously, NTD statistics combine "urban" and "suburban" lines with dissimilar characteristics. We note that the "urban" and "suburban" systems were acquired by SEPTA from two private-sector undertakings, and are operated as separate divisions to this day.
System nomenclature is that current at October 2010.
Systems - by city:
Albuquerque (CR)
Baltimore (HRT, LRT; see Washington, DC, page for CR)
Boston (HRT, LRT, CR)
Buffalo (LRT)
Camden-Trenton (diesel LRT): see Philadelphia page
Chattanooga (F): see Memphis page
Chicago (HRT, CR)
Cleveland (HRT, LRT)
Dallas (LRT, CR)
Denver (LRT)
Detroit (AGT, VT)
Dubuque (F): see St. Louis page
El Paso: see Houston page
Fort Worth (LRT): see Dallas page
Galveston (VT): see Houston page
Houston (LRT)
Jacksonville (AGT): see Miami page
Jersey City (LRT): see Newark page
Johnstown (F): see Pittsburgh page
Kenosha (VT): see Chicago page
Las Vegas (MO): see Albuquerque page
Little Rock (VT): see Memphis page
Los Angeles (HRT, LRT, CR)
Memphis (LRT)
Miami (HRT, AGT, CR)
Minneapolis (LRT)
Morgantown (PRT): see Pittsburgh page
Nashville (CR): see Memphis page
New Orleans (LRT)
New Haven (CR): see New York page
New York (HRT, CR, airport intramural)
Newark (LRT, airport intramural; see also New York-HRT and CR)
Oceanside (diesel LRT): see San Diego page
Philadelphia (HRT, LRT, CR)
Pittsburgh (LRT, F)
Rochester: see Buffalo page
Sacramento (LRT)
St. Louis (LRT)
Salt Lake City (LRT)
San Diego (LRT, CR)
San Francisco (HRT, LRT, cable tramway ("cable car"), airport intramural)
San Jose (LRT, CR)
San Juan (HRT): see Miami page
Seattle (CR, MO, VT)
Tacoma (LRT)
Tampa (VT): see Miami page
Washington, DC (HRT, CR)
Systems - by mode:
Heavy rail transit (HRT):
Camden - see Philadelphia
Jersey City - see New York
Los Angeles
New York
Newark - see New York
San Francisco
San Juan
Washington, DC
Light rail transit (LRT):
Camden-Trenton (diesel LRT)
Jersey City
Los Angeles
New Orleans
Oceanside (diesel LRT)
St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
Automated guideway transit (AGT):
Monorail (MO):
Las Vegas
Commuter rail (CR):
Baltimore - see Washington, DC
Los Angeles
New Haven - see also New York
New York
Newark - see New York
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose (see also San Francisco)
Tacoma - see Seattle
Washington, DC
Other (including closed systems):
Chattanooga (F)
Detroit (VT)
Dubuque (F)
El Paso
Fort Worth (LRT)
Galveston (VT)
Johnstown (F)
Kenosha (VT)
Little Rock (VT)
Morgantown (PRT)
New York (airport intramural)
Newark (airport intramural)
Pittsburgh (F)
San Francisco (cable tramway ("cable car"), airport intramural)
Seattle (VT)
Tampa (VT)
ACE - Altamont Commuter Express. http://www.acerail.com/
American Public Transportation Association. Transit Statistics.
Bi-State Development Agency (Metro). http://www.metrostlouis.org
caltrain.com. http://www.caltrain.com/
DAT.org - Dallas Area Rapid Transit. http://www.dart.org/
Duquesne Incline, historic cable car railway serving commuters and tourists since 1877, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. http://incline.pghfree.net/
GONCTD.com. (North San Diego County Transit District). http://www.gonctd.com
Jane's Urban Transit Systems. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, Ltd. Annual.
Las Vegas Monorail - Home. http://www.lvmonorail.com/
Massachusettts Bay Transportation Authority. http://www.mbta.com
MataTransit | Memphis, TN. http://www.matatransit.com/
McKinney Avenue Transit Authority. http://www.mata.org/
metro.net (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority). http://www.mta.net
Metrolink :: Welcome. http://www.metrolinktrains.com/
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. http://www.itsmarta.com
Morgantown GRT Infopage (Jerry B. Schneider).
National Transit Database (Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation).
New Jersey Transit. http://www.njtransit.com
NFTA - Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. http://www.nfta.com/
Official Site of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. http://www.nmrailrunner.com/
Pushkarev, Boris S.; Jeffrey M. Zupan, and Robert S. Cumella. 1982. Urban Rail in America: An Exploration of Criteria for Fixed-Guideway Transit. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. (Initial issue: Pushkarev and Zupan. 1980. New York: Regional Plan Association. Prepared for Urban Mass Transportation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.)
Port Authority of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA.
Ride The Incline.com. http://www.ridetheincline.com/
RTA | Regional Transpotation Authority. http://www.musiccitystar.org/
Sacramento Regional Transit District. http://www.sacrt.com
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. http://www.bart.gov
San Francisco Municipal Railway. http://www.sfmuni.com
SDCOMMUTE.com (San Diego Metropolitan Transit System). http://www.sdcommute.com
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. http://www.vta.org
Seattle Streetcar: South Lake Union Line. http://www.seattlestreetcar.com/
SEPTA Annual Service Plan Fiscal Year 2007. May 2006. Service Planning Department, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
Sound Transit Online. http://www.soundtransit.org
TECO Line Streetcar System. http://www.tecolinestreetcar.org/
The Transit Coalition. http://thetransitcoalition.us/
Transportation and Parking | Personal Rapid Transit | West Virginia University.
Trinity Railway Express (TRE). http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Welcome to CamTran. http://camtranbus.com/
Welcome to JAFLA. http://www.jtaonthemove.com/
Welcome to the CAT Web Site! http://www.cat.org/
Welcome to the Johnstown Inclined Plane- World's Steepest Vehicular Incline.
Welcome to UTA. http://www.rideuta.com/
Document History
Original Posting (separated from "U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980," with additions), Updated 12/1/2011.