Round Up: Transit Property NamesAugust 18, 2010 by: Samuel Scheib
Transit property names make for a lean alphabet soup. Especially among older agencies, acronyms condense the lengthy and the specific (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District) into the pat and the convenient (SEPTA, NICTD), monikers small enough to fit on tokens and double as logos. But there are only so many words available for describing a system and the gods of naming things have further complicated the matter by making the words of this limited lexicon begin with only a few letters: T (transit, transportation, trans, train), R (rapid, regional, rail), A (authority, area, agency, administration), and M (mass, metropolitan, metro) are the most common with C thrown in for good measure (capital, corporation, commission, county, connector, centre, city, central, commuter, campus). Just A, R, and T alone make up most of BART, DART, HART, SMART, MARTA, CARTA, TARTA, BARTA, NORTA, and SORTA and no fewer than 24 states have at least one RTA. So what’s in a name? Letters mostly, but also community identity, a bit of legend, and some fun. Here then is a breakdown of the larger transit agency names in the U.S.* Click the image to see the full size. Use Ctrl and the mouse wheel to zoom.*The list is compiled mostly from APTA’s transit links and consists of agencies with more than 1 million boardings per year.