All Aboard! Modeling Public Transit


Public transit in the form of buses and rail lines are essential to functioning cities. Governments make huge investments in infrastructure ensuring access for all residents. This article looks at how these investments look in IMPLAN.


Public transit comes in the form of two Industries in IMPLAN: 529 - State government passenger transit and 532 - Local government passenger transit. Both of these Industries are government-based and operate by selling goods and services to the public. Generally, they operate like private sector firms; they hire employees and purchase Intermediate Inputs. Other government transportation related spending and investments are captured in IMPLAN within two Institution categories: 12001 - State/Local Government Other Services and 12004  State/Local Government Investment. 

Below shows the two public transit Industries for New York in 2018. Note not all areas will have both local and state run transit.

Region Details

     > Study Area Data

          > Industry DetailPublic_Transit_-_NY_2018_Industry_Detail.jpg

The first thing to notice is that both of these Industries have no Proprietor Income. They also both have negative OPI and TOPI. Negative OPI indicates that the Industry spent more than it brought in as revenue - it ran a deficit. Negative TOPI is due to the given Industry receiving subsidies from the government.

To model an expansion of spending on transit, an Industry Event with the appropriate values is best. To examine how transit contributes to the regional economy as it is funded currently, an Industry Contribution Analysis is best. Note that when any type of analysis is run on one of these Industries (in the New York 2018 Region and many others), the Results will show no Direct Proprietor Income, negative TOPI, and negative OPI. In fact, in the case of this Region, the Negative TOPI and OPI are so significant, the net Value Added for these Industries are negative. This will result in a negative Direct Value Added when these Industries are analyzed. Shown below for the Region of NY 2018, the Value Added Coefficient for the State government passenger transit Industry is about -141%, and -801% for the Local government passenger transit Industry.

Region Details

     > Social Accounts

          > Balance Sheets

               > Industry Balance Sheet

                    > Value Added

                         > Filter for Industry 539 or 532

Industry 529 - State government passenger transit


Industry 532 - Local government passenger transit




The construction of new transit lines falls under IMPLAN Industry 56 - Construction of other new nonresidential structures. When analyzing any construction, the value entered in Industry Output should be the full cost of the structure, and only the structure, including hard costs and soft costs. For further details, visit the article Construction: Building the Analysis.

Capital purchases can be a bit tricky and need to be analyzed separately from construction costs. Perhaps your local authority is purchasing light rail cars or hydrogen fuel cell buses. In today’s global economy, it is unlikely that these are produced within your Region, so the entirety of the cost would be considered a leakage. If the capital purchases are made in your Region, it is typically appropriate to choose the manufacturing Industry that produced the item when analyzing the purchase via an Industry Output Event. For example, if a locally made bus is purchased, choose Industry 343 - Motor vehicle body manufacturing, and enter the cost of the bus. For more information on capital purchases, check out the article Analyzing Capital Investments.


Analyzing Capital Investments

Construction: Building the Analysis

The Curious Case of the Negative Tax

Written June 25, 2020

Updated March 29, 2021