Transit Report Card

In partnership with the National Campaign for Transit Justice, we assessed the quality of transit support and availability across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To understand how states compare, we used four criteria: transit spending, restrictions on transit funding, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and transit access. Each state was assigned scores on each of these criteria, ranging from 1 (low) up to 6 (high).

Learn more about how we evaluated each of these criteria and see our results in the table below.

To understand transit spending, we looked at each state’s total spending on public transportation in 2021, adjusted to per person rates to fairly compare states of varying sizes. We identified six bands of state transit spending, assigned a score from 1-6.

  1. Less than $12
  2. $12.50 – $25
  3. $25 – $50
  4. $50 – $100
  5. $100 – $200
  6. More than $200

Learn more about our transit spending analysis and why it matters here >>

Gas tax revenue is the bedrock revenue stream for most states’ transportation systems. However, many states have laws that restrict their ability to use gas tax revenue to fund transit. These restrictions range in severity and type. For the sake of this analysis, we focused on whether these restrictions are located in the state constitution (making them very difficult to repeal) or in state statutes (making them slightly easier to change or remove).

Constitutional restrictions received a 1 as their score. Statutory restrictions scored a 2, and no restrictions received our highest score (a 3).

Learn more about state restrictions on gas tax revenue here >>

VMT is the measure of the total miles driven by all vehicles on a given state’s roadway in a given year. If we’re talking about transit, why did one of our criteria hone in on how much people drive? We used VMT to understand transit ridership, assuming that the less people who ride transit, the more people will be driving.

In 2020 and 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, people drove less often on average and transit ridership also dipped dramatically. For that reason, we looked at travel data from 2019 and determined five different bands of average VMT per person. These were assigned a score from 1-5, with a 1 reflecting more driving—and likely less transit usage—and a 5 reflecting less driving and more transit usage.

  1. Greater than 14,000 VMT per person
  2. 11,500 – 14,000 VMT per person
  3. 10,000 – 11,500 VMT per person
  4. 8,500 – 10,000 VMT per person
  5. Less than 8,500 VMT per person

More information available here >>

Our final criteria focuses on how well transit connects people to essential destinations. To measure this, we first looked at the number of jobs you could reach with a 45-minute transit ride, and compared those to the number of jobs you can reach with a 45-minute drive. From this data, we assigned each state a score from 1-5. But we didn’t want to stop there.

Some states, like New York, have dense, transit-rich cities where more jobs are accessible by a 45-minute transit ride than by spending 45 minutes in a car. But one city doesn’t make a state. We considered how well transit access is distributed across the entire state, and we found that New York and Hawaii, which initially scored near the top for transit access, did not have consistently strong transit networks throughout the state. So we assigned each state an additional score, from 1-5, which reflected how well transit access was distributed across the state.

Our final transit access scores, shown in the table below, are an average of these two scores.

Learn more about how we measured transit access here >>

How does your state stack up on transit?

StatesTransit spending per capitaTransit spending scoreLegal restrictions on transit fundingLegal restrictions scoreVMT per capita (2019)VMT scoreTransit access scoreOverall score
Alabama$0 - $12.501Constitutional114,630114
Arizona$0 - $12.501Constitutional19,65641.57.5
Colorado$0 - $12.501Constitutional19,48742.58.5
Georgia$0 - $12.501Constitutional112,539215
Idaho$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,10531.56.5
Illinois$25 - $503Constitutional18,48551.510.5
Iowa$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,63031.56.5
Kansas$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,930316
Kentucky$0 - $12.501Constitutional111,060316
Louisiana$0 - $12.501Constitutional111,048316
Maine$0 - $12.501Constitutional111,063316
MassachusettsOver $2006Constitutional19,4154213
Michigan$12.50 - $252Constitutional110,231317
Minnesota$50 - $1004Constitutional110,7693210
Missouri$0 - $12.501Constitutional112,899215
Montana$0 - $12.501Constitutional112,062226
Nevada$0 - $12.501Constitutional19,348428
New Hampshire$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,17031.56.5
North Dakota$0 - $12.501Constitutional112,89421.55.5
Ohio$0 - $12.501Constitutional19,812417
Oklahoma$0 - $12.501Constitutional111,283316
Oregon$12.50 - $252Constitutional18,4905412
Pennsylvania$100 - $2005Constitutional18,03551.512.5
South Dakota$0 - $12.501Constitutional111,216316
Texas$0 - $12.501Constitutional19,940417
Utah$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,26531.56.5
Washington$25 - $503Constitutional18,2115312
West Virginia$0 - $12.501Constitutional110,645316
Wisconsin$12.50 - $252Constitutional111,395317
Wyoming$0 - $12.501Constitutional117,63711.54.5
Alaska$0 - $12.501Statutory28,0405311
Arkansas$0 - $12.501Statutory212,293216
Florida$12.50 - $252Statutory210,54631.58.5
Indiana$0 - $12.501Statutory212,287216
Mississippi$0 - $12.501Statutory213,807216
Nebraska$0 - $12.501Statutory210,981328
New Mexico$0 - $12.501Statutory213,245227
Tennessee$0 - $12.501Statutory212,138216
California$50 - $1004No restrictions38,6264213
Connecticut$50 - $1004No restrictions38,8634112
Delaware$100 - $2005No restrictions310,52132.513.5
District of ColumbiaOver $2006No restrictions35,3225418
HawaiiOver $2006No restrictions37,7865317
Maryland$100 - $2005No restrictions39,9604214
New Jersey$100 - $2005No restrictions38,80541.513.5
New YorkOver $2006No restrictions36,3735317
North Carolina$0 - $12.501No restrictions311,678217
Puerto Rico$25 - $503No restrictions318066118
Rhode Island$12.50 - $252No restrictions37,15651.511.5
South Carolina$0 - $12.501No restrictions311,253318
Vermont$12.50 - $252No restrictions311,7722310
Virginia$12.50 - $252No restrictions310,00931.59.5