Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation



DRPT is the designated state agency for the pass-through of federal and state funding aimed at increasing the provision of public transportation services throughout the Commonwealth. 

If everyone who normally rides the Metrorail to work in Northern Virginia chose to drive a car instead, the resulting traffic jam would stretch from Washington, D.C. to North Carolina. If carpooling did not exist and each passenger drove by private vehicle, the additional cars on Virginia roads would create two lanes of parked traffic from Richmond to Orlando.

Make no mistake about it – public transportation in Virginia is important. Three of the 75 largest transit agencies in the country operate in Virginia. The Metrorail is our nation’s second most heavily-used rail transit system, with more than 900,000 average weekday passenger trips. The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail system is one of the fastest-growing commuter rail services in America.

In Virginia there are many public transit operators, human service operators and commuter service programs that provide a choice of alternatives to driving private vehicles. Carpools, vanpools, transit, passenger ferry, commuter rail, biking, walking and teleworking are smart ways for Virginians to get to work.

Public transportation saves money. The average household spends 16 cents out of every dollar on transportation, and 94% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars. Traffic congestion costs an average of $818 per individual per year – from wasted gasoline and lost productivity, to increased automobile maintenance. Households that use public transportation and live with one less car can save more than $9,700 each year.

Public transportation saves time and reduces congestion. In the Washington, D.C. area, drivers spend an average of 67 hours per year stuck in traffic jams. Public transportation has a proven record of reducing congestion and studies show that in the U.S. it has saved 865 million hours per year in travel. Every commuter railcar reduces 125 vehicles from our roads. A single bus can eliminate 40 vehicles, and vanpools remove over 6,000 cars a year from Virginia roads. Drivers using public transportation can spend this precious time with their family, or doing activities they enjoy instead.

For thousands of people, public transportation is their only choice. Public transportation is a lifeline for the disabled, the elderly, and for those who cannot or choose not to drive. It provides access to jobs, to schools, to visit friends, or go to a doctor’s office. Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life.

Public transportation riders aren’t the only beneficiaries.

  • When cars stay off the road, their pollutants stay out of the air. Our nation’s carbon emissions are reduced by 37 million metric tons annually, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of every household in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Denver.
  • Public transportation reduces gasoline consumption. Due to its use, our country saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
  • Public transportation provides economic opportunities, growth, and revitalization. Every dollar invested in public transportation generates approximately four dollars in economic returns. Residential property values perform an average of 42% better when located near high-frequency public transportation services.
  • Public transportation is a $57 billion industry with over 7,200 organizations providing public transportation services and employing over 400,000 people in the U.S.

To find out more about Public Transportation Grants, see the Transit Grants page.

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