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Equitable Access to Transportation Systems: Funding


The research below examines traditional and less common sources for financing public transportation.

Guidance Sources

Commuter Rail: Information on Benefits and Funding Challenges for Service in Less Urbanized Communities, U.S. Government Accountability Office, April 2021.

Commuter rail service provides a number of economic and quality-of-life benefits, including increased mobility, transportation options, and access to employment and essential services. However, service requires considerable infrastructure and operational costs, making commuter rail more expensive than other transit modes.


“Equity in Regional Public Transit Finance: Trade-Offs Between Social and Geographic Equity,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development, December 2016.

The conflict between social and geographic equity in urban public transit finance is illustrated along with the shrinking role of federal and state governments in public transit assistance.

Enhancing Transit Service in Rural Areas and Native American Tribal Communities: Potential Mechanisms to Improve Funding and Service, Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, August 2014.

Nontraditional funding sources are identified that rural transit providers and planners can pursue to supplement funding from federal and state departments of transportation.



5311(c) Tribal Transit Funding: Assessing Impacts and Determining Future Program Needs, Small Urban and Rural Transit Center, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, 2011.

Existing tribal transit services are reviewed along with an examination of the transportation needs of Native American and Alaska Native communities.

Additional Resources

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit, National Center for Transit Research, July 2014.

Guidebook: Managing Operating Costs for Rural and Small Urban Public Transit Systems, Texas Transportation Institute, March 2014.