Millions of rural and tribal citizens are unable to drive for health, economic or lifestyle reasons. Transit is a real solution to maintaining a high quality of life—providing access to jobs, healthcare, education, shopping and numerous other activities. Since 1979, FTA has provided block grants to states, under the Section 5311 Non-urbanized Transit Program, to establish and maintain transit systems in communities with populations under 50,000.
Soon after, program founders recognized that community transit drivers, dispatchers, maintenance workers, managers and board members needed special skills and knowledge to provide quality service to their diverse customers across large service areas. So, in 1987 the Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) was created.
Since its inception, National RTAP has developed and distributed training materials, provided technical assistance, generated reports, published best practices, scholarships, conducted research, and offered Peer Assistance with the goal of improved mobility for the millions of Americans living in communities with populations under 50,000.
At our core, we are the national arm to the Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP). The program operates today under a cooperative agreement between the Federal Transit Administration and the Neponset Valley Transportation Management Association. Our overarching mission is to address the needs of rural, small urban and tribal transit operators across the nation. Much of the work of National RTAP is overseen by the National RTAP Review Board. Their expertise in the field of rural transit helps guide and inform the development of National RTAP products and services. The Review Board is made up of both local transit operators and state departments of transportation personnel.