Intercity Bus: The State Role Updated

Requests to the states by intercity bus carriers for financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic have raised questions about the role of the intercity bus service. States are obliged to follow the requirements of the Section 5311(f) program concerning the 15% set-aside requirement, including the need for a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) compliant consultation process.  Many key reference documents regarding the state role and intercity bus service, including TCRP Report 79: Effective Approaches to Meeting Rural Intercity Bus Transportation Needs (2002), were completed decades ago and need to be updated. Since publication of these documents, additional models for intercity bus programs have been developed, such as using the value of connecting unsubsidized intercity bus service as the in-kind required match. Some states are expanding their roles with branding and marketing for state-funded or state-operated services and developing models that contract services and provide grants to rural operators for feeder routes. Other major developments include the restructuring of intercity bus routes in 2005-06; the growth of curbside bus transportation; the loss of privately owned terminal locations; and the major impact on ridership and revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The intercity bus network is increasingly fragmented and is being reinvented. There is a need to update strategies and determine best practices on the state’s role in administering the FTA intercity bus program mandated by 49 U.S.C. § 5311(f). State program managers and interested stakeholders need to fully understand the options available to them and have tangible examples of successful scenarios and best practices. The objective of this research is to update TCRP Report 79 and provide strategies and tools necessary to plan, fund, build, deploy, operate, and expand sustainable intercity bus services and facilities. 


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  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $450000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project B-52

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20240416
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01866949
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project B-52
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2022 9:59AM