Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



For years, multiple indicators have been used by transit operators and their funding agencies to assess transit performance. Ranking transit operators with a single composite index provides another way to compare transit performance that has gained recent attention. This method is similar to other single composite rankings (e.g., "most liveable cities") and has a certain appeal for the public. This paper examines six approaches to ranking transit operators with a single composite index and analyzes the sensitivity of rankings to how the approaches are applied. These approaches differ in: 1) whether they rank operators by how well operators rank on their achievements for each of their objectives or by some form of their average achievements for all objectives; 2) whether they account for differences in objectives that operators pursue; and 3) whether they account for differences in operators' priorities among a set of objectives or in operators' top objectives. An application using 18 Florida operators in 1994 shows that for a given sample of operators, rankings can be sensitive to what objectives are included, how objective achievements are measured, and what approach is chosen. Testing six approaches, four of them show similar rankings for the 18 Floridaoperators, while the other two approaches show no similarity between themselves and any other approaches.


transit performance, composite index, performance ranking

Citation / Publisher Attribution

On Ranking Transit Operators, Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida, 31 p.