|Founded||1882(as the American Street Railway Association)|
|Focus||Public Transportation in North America|
|Paul P. Skoutelas, President and CEO|
|Subsidiaries||American Public Transportation Foundation|
|American Street Railway Association (1882 - 1905)|
American Street and Interurban Railway Association (1905 - 1910)
American Electric Railway Association (1910 - 1932)
American Transit Association (1932 - 1974)
American Public Transit Association (1974 - 2000) due to the merger of American Transit Association and Institute for Rapid Transit in 1974
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit group of approximately 1,500 public and private sector member organizations that promotes and advocates for the interests of the public transportation industry in the United States.
APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation, including bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride on APTA member systems.
APTA's mission is to strengthen and improve public transportation by serving and leading its diverse membership through advocacy, innovation and information sharing.
APTA's membership comprises more than 320 public transit agencies, including New York MTA, the nation's largest transit system, as well as transportation-related businesses and organizations. Members are engaged in every aspect of the industry – from planning, designing, financing, constructing and operating transit systems to the research, development, manufacturing and maintenance of vehicles, equipment and transit-related products and services. Additionally, academic institutions, transportation network companies, transit associations and state departments of transportation are APTA members.
Paul P. Skoutelas was elected by the APTA Board of Directors in November 2017 and became president and chief executive officer in January 2018. He has spent more than 40 years in public and private sector positions related to public transportation. He served as CEO of public transit systems in Pittsburgh and Orlando and as senior vice president for WSP USA, one of the world's largest architectural and engineering firms. Skoutelas has also held leadership positions on numerous boards and committees for transportation organizations, including on APTA's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the Transportation Research Board, National Transit Institute, Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and the Transit Cooperative Research Program.
APTA's Board of Directors is the 112-member governing body of the association. The individuals that preside on the APTA Board of Directors are elected and appointed by APTA members to oversee the management of the association. Elections are held each fall during APTA's annual business meeting, and nominations typically open in June of each year.
APTA's Executive Committee is composed of 25 individuals who are elected by APTA members to make recommendations to the Board of Directors and to make decisions on behalf of the Board on specific matters.
The organization that would eventually become known as APTA was first established as the American Street Railway Association on December 12, 1882, in Boston, Massachusetts. The initial meetings focused on the price of oats for the horses that pulled transit vehicles, but that focus evolved as more transit companies built electric systems.
In 1905, the group met in New York and reorganized as the American Street and Interurban Railway Transportation and Traffic Association. To encompass even more modes of electric transit, the group changed its name to the American Electric Railway Transportation and Traffic Association in 1910. By 1932, many of the transit systems relied on motor coaches and trolleys in addition to electric streetcars, so the organization became known as the American Transit Association (ATA).
In 1966, ATA relocated from New York City to Washington, DC because of increasing reliance on federal funding, especially with the passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Act in 1964 and the creation of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now the Federal Transit Administration). In the 1970s, the organization developed a closer working relationship with the federal government as more and more transit systems became publicly financed. The American Public Transit Association (APTA) was created in 1974 when the American Transit Association and the Institute for Rapid Transit (IRT) merged. The IRT dated back to 1929 and formally organized on June 7, 1961. In 1976, the Transit Development Corporation also merged with APTA.
In January 2000. the name of the organization was changed to the American Public Transportation Association. Despite the various name changes, the mission of the organization has remained generally the same.
APTA has more than 135 subject-matter committees and subcommittee that address issues of interest to the public transportation industry and develop strategies, solutions, policies and programs. The committee structure encourages interaction and information-sharing among APTA members in a wide range of disciplines.
APTA's Legislative Committee is the primary body that develops consensus recommendations about federal legislative activity, including transit authorizations, annual appropriations, Administration initiatives and regulatory matters. Working with its seven subcommittees that specialize in related areas, the Legislative Committee formulates recommendations that are considered by the APTA Executive Committee and the APTA Board of Directors.
APTA's advocacy, outreach and education campaign titled "Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows" was designed to promote benefits of public transportation by highlighting the industry's impact on economic development, sustainability and improving a higher quality of life in communities.