Background Information on FTA Performance Measures and Section 5310 Funds

How are we defining Performance Measures?

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has implemented the use of a consistent performance measurement terminology, as described below.

Performance Goals: Performance goals are meant to define a targeted level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable objective, against which actual achievement can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value, or rate.

Photo Courtesy of TARC, Louisville, KY

Performance Indicators: Performance Indicator is a particular quantitative value or characteristic used to measure output or outcome toward the performance goal. Indicators demonstrate the effectiveness or efficiency of achieving intended outcomes; they help answer the question, “How would we recognize the results in measurable terms if we tripped over them?”

Annual Performance Targets (Activities, Inputs, and Outputs): Annual performance targets provide annual measures of program/sub-program outputs that move us towards our strategic objectives and goals; they are specific statements of fiscal year goals.

For more information on FTA performance measures, please see the following fact sheet: FTA Performance Measurement Policy Statement

The performance measures to be considered in the report require the collection of quantitative and qualitative information. Whereas the MAP-21 Section 5310 program is a blending of the SAFETEA-LU Section 5310 and Section 5317 programs, MAP-21 suggests the blending of the two programs’ performance measures, which are listed below.

  1. Modifications to the geographic coverage of transportation service, the quality of transportation           service, or service times that increase the availability of transportation services for seniors and           individuals with disabilities.
  2. Ridership.
  3. Accessibility improvements.
  4. Other measures, as the Secretary of Transportation determines is appropriate.

FTA established a 60-day public comment period on the proposed performance measures in July 2013. Although FTA received comments regarding the proposed performance measures and how they are to be reported, commenters asked FTA to seek additional input from national nonprofit organizations before the submission of the Congressional report. Easter Seals Project ACTION is conducting this on-line dialogue on behalf of FTA as a way to solicit additional information from a wide variety of national nonprofit organizations, community organizations, and public agencies on two major questions:

    a) Are the current performance measures for 5310 in MAP-21 adequate and appropriate and, if           not, what other measures are recommended?

    b) How should these or other suggested performance measures be gathered and reported to             FTA?

The discussion will assist FTA in developing useful performance measures and in developing the Congressional report.

FTA is considering combining the reporting requirements of Section 5335(c) into a single requirement for recipients of Section 5310. The method will use the National Transit Database (NTD) system for recipients of Section 5310, Section 5311, and Section 5307 to report on behalf of their sub-recipients. The National Transit Database (NTD) is the FTA's primary database for statistics on the transit industry. Congress established the NTD to “help meet the needs of… the public for information on which to base public transportation service planning...” (49 U.S.C 5335).

Currently, nearly 800 transit providers in urbanized areas report to the NTD through its online reporting system. In addition, approximately 1,300 transit providers in rural areas report to the NTD through their state department of transportation, and 100 rural transit providers operated by American Indian tribes report directly to the NTD. Rural area providers and urbanized area providers with fewer than 30 vehicles in peak operation are eligible for reduced reporting requirements, as compared to the full, urbanized-area reporting requirements. Each year, performance data from these submissions are used to apportion over $6 billion of FTA funds under the Urbanized Area Formula Grants (Section 5307), Rural Area Formula Grants (Section 5311), Tribal Transit Formula Grants, Bus and Bus Facilities Formula Grants (Section 5339), and State of Good Repair Grants (Section 5337).

These data are made available on the NTD website at for the benefit of the public, transit systems, and all levels of government. These data are also used in the annual National Transit Summaries and Trends report, the biennial Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, and in meeting FTA’s obligations under the Government Performance and Results Act. Reporting requirements are governed by a Uniform System of Accounts (USOA) and an Annual Reporting Manual that is issued each year. Both the USOA and the Annual Manual are available for review on the NTD Website at

In order to implement an option of FTA combining the reporting requirements of Section 5335(c) into a single requirement for recipients of Section 5310, FTA would have to expand the current Rural Land Urbanized Area Annual data collections. This is why FTA is seeking comments on implementing a unified and combined NTD Reporting Requirement for the Sections 5310, 5311, and 5307 programs.

Other Resources:

FTA - Implementing the “New” Section 5310 (Program Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities)
FTA Fact Sheet
FTA Power Point (PDF) – Implementing the “New” Section 5310 Program
United We Ride
National Center for Mobility Management
American Public Transportation Association
Community Transportation Association of America
Easter Seals Project ACTION

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