All About the Agency Explorer

What is the Agency Explorer?

The Agency Explorer is a dashboard presenting employment data from the National Transit Database. This dashboard provides agency-level employment statistics from 2017 to 2021 for all directly operated services of full reporters to NTD.

Key Terms

Mode: A system for carrying transit passengers described by specific right-of-way (ROW), technology and operational features.

Labor classification: The occupational categories FTA uses to distinguish between different types of transit work.

Operating labor: FTA defines operating labor as the personnel necessary to carry out the day-to-day requirements for providing transit service. Transit agencies report operating labor in four functions: vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance, facility maintenance, and general administration. (For definitions of each labor classification, see the NTD Glossary.)

Capital labor: Capital labor is the personnel involved in the purchase of equipment (e.g., buses, shelters) and construction of facilities (e.g., garages, guideway, stations). The work activities for capital labor are design and engineering, purchase, land acquisition/relocation, construction, rehabilitation, and management of capital grants and projects.

Directly Operated: Transportation service provided directly by a transit agency, using their employees to supply the necessary labor to operate the revenue vehicles. The Agency Explorer shows only directly operated statistics.

Full Reporter: Systems receiving Urbanized Area Formula Grants and operating more than 30 vehicles or either fixed guideway or high intensity busways.

Vehicles Operated in Annual Maximum Service (VOMS): The number of revenue vehicles operated to meet the annual maximum service requirement. This is the revenue vehicle count during the peak season of the year; on the week and day that maximum service is provided.

Unlinked Passenger Trips (UPT): The number of passengers who board public transportation vehicles. Passengers are counted each time they board vehicles no matter how many vehicles they use to travel from their origin to their destination.

Urbanized Area (UZA): An urbanized area is an incorporated area with a population of 50,000 or more that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.

For more information, please see NTD’s Glossary or NTD’s Reporting Policy Manual.

Dropdown filters

The Agency Explorer can be filtered using dropdown menus for state, agency name, mode, labor classification, and full-time/part-time. These filters will adjust all of the data in the four charts, table, and summary statistics, with some exceptions:

There are also dropdowns that use ranges of two statistics, employee count and urbanized area (UZA) population, to filter the data. These dropdowns use ranges to help select a smaller subset of agencies; the ranges are not consistent in size, but rather aim to split the number of agencies between them as evenly as possible. They use data from the most recent year an agency has reported to NTD.


The Agency Explorer features four charts with workforce statistics from 2017 to 2021:

Summary Statistics

The summary statistics (within the light green boxes on the right side of the page) show average and total data from 2021, with the exception of the number of agencies, which shows the number of agencies that have been selected by the filters.

More details about each statistic are described below:


The table beneath the charts lists 2021 operating data for all full reporting transit agencies. Use the column headers to sort the table from largest to smallest or vice versa or select a specific agency to display it on the time series charts.

Please not that the statistics listed in the table, not just hourly wage and salary expenses do not include capital labor. Also note that not all agencies reported data in 2021; there may be agencies that appear in the charts for previous years but not in the table.

General Notes

  • NTD collects workforce data from only directly operated services of full reports (see key terms). This means the Explorer does not include every transit worker in the country; and larger agencies are overrepresented; also, since many agencies contract out rather than directly operate demand response services, the counts, hours, and salary expenses displayed for that mode are incomplete.
  • The charts show a maximum of 10 agencies at a time.
    • The 10 agencies shown are the agencies with the highest employee counts that fit the filter criteria. The charts will all show the same 10 agencies using the same color for each appearance of an agency.
    • The summary statistics on the side show average and total data for, and the table at the bottom shows 2021 data for, all agencies selected by the filters, not just the top 10.
  • Some agencies did not report to NTD for each year shown. There may be gaps in the data for those cases, and the summary statistics on the side only use data agencies that reported to NTD in 2021.