The National Academies

TCRP J-03 [Active]

International Transit Studies Program

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000 (FY 09)
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith
Research Agency: Harrington Hughes & Associates
Principal Investigator: Kathryn Harrington Hughes
Effective Date: 2/1/1994
Completion Date: 12/31/2012
Comments: Continuing


Since 1994, the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) has sponsored an International Transit Studies Program (ITSP). The primary purpose of this program has been to broaden the professional development of U.S. transit managers by providing them with opportunities to visit transit systems abroad, returning with insights and knowledge useful to their organizations, the transit industry, and their own personal transit career advancement.

The primary element of the program is the conduct of two international study missions per year in which teams of public transportation professionals visit exemplary transit operations in other countries. Each study mission focuses on a theme that encompasses issues of concern in public transportation. Cities to be visited are selected on the basis of their ability to demonstrate new ideas or unique approaches to handling public transportation challenges reflected in the study mission's theme. Each study mission begins with a briefing before departing on an intensive, 2-week mission. After this professional interaction, mission participants return home with ideas for possible application in their own communities. Participants are encouraged to share their international experience and findings with peers in the public transit community throughout the United States. To assist in this effort, each participant is required to prepare a trip report on an element of the mission agreed to in advance by the group. These trip reports are then consolidated into a mission report for TCRP publication and dissemination to the transit industry. Study missions normally are conducted in the Spring and Fall of each year. Study teams typically consist of 14 individuals—a senior transit general manager designated as team leader, 12 participants, and a representative of the ITSP contractor team responsible for the smooth operation of the mission. The team leader and participants for each mission are selected on the basis of open nomination processes for each. All travel expenses associated with the study mission are covered by the program. Past missions have visited Africa, Europe, Asia, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Hungary, Iceland, India, and the People's Republic of China.

Status: The Spring 2012 Mission 

Protecting Passengers, Employees, and Property: Building a Safety Culture.

More than 10 billion trips were provided on U.S. public transportation systems in 2009, and that number is expected to increase steadily over the next  5 years as the economy improves, fuel prices remain high, and the population grows. Public transportation is one of the safest ways to travel, according to data compiled by the Federal Transit Administration. Yet keeping the system safe and secure—protecting passengers, employees, and property—is a growing challenge for public transport agencies: their vehicles and infrastructure are wearing out, increasing numbers of their most highly experienced staff members are retiring from the workforce, ever-more sophisticated electronics and technologies call for frequent training and retraining of staff, and the open access that is fundamental to publictransport systems leaves them vulnerable to attacks by vandals, terrorists, and other criminals. This mission will examine the organizational, operational, and regulatory practices that underpin a pervasive and effective safety culture and yield a high level of safety and security on public transport systems in several cities in Europe. Cancelled.

Status: Due to the current sensitivity associated with international travel and the decrease in TCRP funding, this project is on hold.

Product Availability:

TCRP Research Results Digest 20 summarizes the first three missions of the program (two European missions and an Asian mission).

TCRP Research Results Digest 22 summarizes the two missions conducted in 1996 (a European mission and a Canadian mission).

TCRP Research Results Digest 27 summarizes the Spring 1997 mission to Scandinavia.

TCRP Research Results Digest 31 summarizes the Fall 1997 mission to Europe.

TCRP Research Results Digest 33 summarizes the Spring 1998 mission to South America.

TCRP Research Results Digest 36 summarizes the Fall 1998 mission to Australia and New Zealand.

TCRP Research Results Digest 42 summarizes the Spring 1999 mission to the Asia Pacific region.

TCRP Research Results Digest 47 summarizes the Spring 2000 mission to Germany, France, and Luxembourg.

TCRP Research Results Digest 49 summarizes the Fall 2000 mission to the Netherlands and Germany.

TCRP Research Results Digest 53 summarizes the Spring 2001 mission to Asia and Australia.

TCRP Research Results Digest 54 summarizes the Fall 2001 mission to Sweden, Switzerland, and England.

TCRP Research Results Digest 58 summarizes the Spring 2002 mission to the United Kingdom and France.

TCRP Research Results Digest 62 summarizes the Fall 2002 mission to Central and Eastern Europe.

TCRP Research Results Digest 64 summarizes the Spring 2003 mission to Western Europe.

TCRP Research Results Digest 66 summarizes the Fall 2003 mission to the Mediterranean region.

TCRP Research Results Digest 68 summarizes the Spring 2004 mission to Europe.

TCRP Research Results Digest 70 summarizes the Fall 2004 mission to Latin America.

TCRP Research Results Digest 71 summarizes the Spring 2005 mission to Europe.

TCRP Research Results Digest 77 summarizes the Fall 2005 mission to Spain, Denmark, the People's Republic of China, and Japan.
TCRP Research Results Digest 81 summarizes the Spring 2006 mission to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, and France.
TCRP Research Results Digest 85  summarizes the Fall 2006 mission to the Germany, the United Kingdom, and France
TCRP Research Results Digest 87  summarizes the Spring 2007 mission to China, Korea, and Japan.
TCRP Research Results Digest 88  summarizes the Fall 2007 mission to Canada and France.

TCRP Research Results Digest 89  summarizes the Spring 2008 mission to Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Spain


TCRP Research Results Digest 92 summarizes the Fall 2008 mission to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and Brisbane, Australia.   

TCRP Research Results Digest 95 summarizes the Spring 2009 mission to China, Malaysia, and Taiwan

TCRP Research Results Digest 96 summarizes the Fall 2009 mission to Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil.

TCRP Research Results Digest 101 summarizes the Spring 2010 mission toUnited Kingdom; France; Germany; and Norway.

TCRP Research Results Digest 102 summarizes the Fall 2010 mission to Turkey, Egypt, and South Africa.
TCRP Research Results Digest 103 summarizes the Spring 2011 mission to India and China.

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