Member News

COTA Named Outstanding Midsize Public Transit System in North America

August 31st, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the second time in three years, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has earned the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award, recognizing the organization as the best transit organization of its size in North America.

The award was announced by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and recognizes COTA for demonstrating excellence in providing mobility options for the Central Ohio region. COTA received the international award in the midsize category for systems with an annual ridership of more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million passenger trips. In 2019, COTA’s ridership was 19,141,454, the highest since 1988.

“We are incredibly humbled and thrilled that APTA has once again honored us with this national recognition,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “This award speaks to the bold changes COTA is making as the region’s mobility solutions provider, with options that are equitable and inclusive for our diverse customers. This award also recognizes the incredible work of our nearly 1,150 employees, the majority of who work on the frontlines every day, providing essential service to our community and helping connect our customers to opportunities for social and economic prosperity.”

APTA evaluated COTA on successes it achieved from 2017 to 2019, which include:  Highest ridership in 31 years.

• COTA’s development of on-demand service such as COTA//Plus and Mainstream On-Demand.
• Adoption of a five-year strategic plan with a core focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.
• Commitment to low and no-emission transit vehicles.
• Development of the C-pass program for downtown employees.
• Launch of CMAX, the region’s first bus rapid transit.
• Commitment to corridor studies, to improve mobility and foster economic development.

“Congratulations to COTA for earning the 2020 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Over the past three years, COTA has amplified its role and its voice in our community, serving as a leader in innovation, mobility, economic development and community partnership. I believe this transit authority is emerging as the best in the nation, and this honor is well deserved.”
COTA will be formally honored at a ceremony during APTA’s 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO in Anaheim, CA, in March 2021. More information on APTA, click here.


COTA is the recipient of the 2018 and 2020 American Public Transportation Association’s Outstanding Public Transportation Award and provides 19 million passenger trips in Central Ohio each year. As the region’s mobility solutions provider, COTA is driven each day to solve the mobility needs of the community by utilizing technology and data, establishing community partnerships and applying sustainability principles that provide equitable access to jobs, healthcare and education.