About National RTAP

History and Services

The National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) was created in 1987 by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) in response to a need for drivers, dispatchers, managers, and other transit professionals to have specialized skills and knowledge to serve their customers in rural and tribal areas. The National RTAP program fills that need in several ways. 

The goals of the National RTAP program include promoting the safe and effective delivery of public transportation services in rural areas and facilitating more efficient use of public transportation resources.  To meet those goals, the program focuses on the following objectives:

  • Improving the quality of training and technical assistance resources available to the rural transit industry
  • Encouraging and assisting state, local, and peer networks to address training and technical assistance needs
  • Promoting the coordination of transportation services
  • Building a national database of information about the rural transit industry    

Since its inception, National RTAP has contributed to the achievement of these objectives at the national level by developing and distributing training materials, providing technical assistance, creating web applications, producing reports, publishing best practices, conducting research, and offering peer assistance for rural and tribal transit providers and State RTAP programs.
Technical assistance is provided through the Resource Center, which is staffed Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET. The Resource Center can be accessed via phone at 888-589-6821, email at info@nationalrtap.org, or chat through the nationalrtap.org website.

The Resource Library, which is part of the Resource Center, contains approximately 700 resources from National RTAP and other organizations, all of interest to rural and tribal transit providers and state program managers. National RTAP has training modules and technical briefs available for download or order. We produce a bi-weekly newsletter (eNews), which highlights news, reports, and events pertaining to rural and tribal transit. Special announcements are also sent via email to specific groups, such as State RTAP Managers. After it is sent out every other week, eNews is also placed on our website for easy viewing.

National RTAP’s training modules, which are shipped at no cost to states and transit agencies, include handbooks, discs, and thumb drives on a variety of transit topics such as safety, maintenance, and customer service. To view all of the training modules, as well as technical briefs and other products, view our Resource Catalog. Several web applications are also available for use by the rural and tribal transit community, including our Cost Allocation Calculator, GTFS Builder, ProcurementPRO, and Website Builder. These products can be accessed from the National RTAP website

Finally, National RTAP hosts the Peer-to-Peer network for rural and tribal transit professionals, including state program managers. This is an informal system whereby National RTAP receives requests for peer assistance and matches the requestor to an appropriate peer mentor.


Services of Interest to State RTAP Managers

Many National RTAP services are of particular interest to state program managers. All State RTAP Managers are sent a Welcome Kit which introduces our resources and services, receive an introductory Welcome Call, and are automatically added to the eNews list. RTAP Managers not receiving biweekly eNews can request to be added to the distribution list by contacting info@nationalrtap.org. The Peer-to-Peer network is also helpful for new RTAP managers seeking guidance, or those looking to make changes to their programs. Although RTAP managers should feel free to connect with each other outside of the formal peer program, specific requests for help can be targeted by National RTAP staff to the appropriate State RTAP Manager, based on expertise.

National RTAP is available to provide research help and technical assistance to state program managers. Subrecipients can be referred directly to us for technical assistance or information (we often refer subrecipients to their state programs if they have not contacted them already). State-developed products, if applicable to a wider audience, can also be promoted nationally and included in the Resource Library. States can request to have their nationally-relevant materials in our Resource Library, if we have not already put them there. 

National RTAP provides networking opportunities for State RTAP managers, including the State RTAP Managers' Forum, virtual peer roundtables, and events at national conferences, such as breakfasts and roundtables. In the past, National RTAP has hosted a webinar series for RTAP managers; this has been replaced by the forum and peer roundtables.


Updated April 22, 2021