Small Urban Transit

Small Urban Transit

Illustration of small urban city

Recent population trends and future predictions suggest more people are moving from rural areas to urban areas of all kinds - both small and large - at the same time as health care and employment destinations are increasingly regionalized within metropolitan areas. It's these confluence of trends that make reliable, responsive and efficient mobility options in communities of all sizes more vital than ever.


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Cartoon illustration of a small urban area

In this special edition of DigitalCT focusing on small urban areas, it's important to define exactly what we mean when discussing these kinds of communities. Our definition of a small area is the one established by the U.S. Census Bureau and applied by the Federal Transit Administration to its funding programs: urban communities ranging in population from 50,000 to 199,000.


Inflation Chart

Some political leaders and advocacy organizations claim that the onus for new transportation investment should be borne more greatly - or even solely - by the states. Quite the opposite is true: federal leadership on surface transportation investment and policy is absolutely essential. While states that have delivered new investment mechanisms to support surface transportation - along with those that were unsuccessful - should be commended for their initiative in confronting this growing crisis, it's simply not enough for a nation that claims to be the leader of the global economy.

Rapid Success: NAIPTA Builds a Regional Transit Triumph


In just 13 years the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA) in Flagstaff has turned a small human service transit agency into one of the nation's most decorated and thriving small-urban transit operations. It's a trip from just over 400 daily riders and six vehicles to 1.8 million passengers and 22 buses. And along the way the system received a vote of confidence from local residents of which few systems can boast.

Four Decades of Distinctiveness on the Jersey Shore

Cape May Fare Free Transit bus

Serving the seasonally-small urban communities of Cape May County - including 16 distinct municipalities - is Cape May Fare-Free Transportation, a county-wide mobility provider since 1973 that has operated without fares since its inception. More than four decades later, Fare-Free - as it's universally known by the county's year-round residents - is as unmistakable to South Jersey's identity as broadwalks and seafood shacks.

Proven Performance: The Small Transit Intensive Cities Program

Transit on campus

A useful model of applying performance measures to a federal transit investment program has emerged in the form of the Section 5307 set aside for the Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC) program. Rather than a set of punitive restrictions, STIC incents transit providers in smaller urban areas to develop more extensive service in exchange for increased investment.

The Director's Corner: Asset Management Strategies for Small Urban Transit

Icon depicting assest management

For many transit professionals, asset management is a nebulous, bureaucratic phrase that is often a checkbox on a list of requirements. Here, we offer an introduction to how mobility providers can utilize asset management strategies, followed by a usable, understandable best practices guide from outside our industry.

The Small Urban Transit Round-Up

People getting on a bus

A collection of breaking small urban transit news from around the country, culled from the @CTMag1 Twitter account. Follow @CTMag1 for all the latest transit news, resources and more.


Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729