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September 22, 2008

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Framework for the Future Task Force Releases Draft Report

The Framework for the Future Task Force has released a draft report addressing organizational issues related to implementing TransitVision 2050. The task force is now seeking input and comments from APTA members.

Led by co-chairs John B. Bartosiewicz of McDonald Transit Associates, George F. Dixon III of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and Leslie R. White of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, the task force was charged with defining what APTA’s purpose should be, who APTA should represent in the future, and how APTA’s committee and reporting structure could be more efficiently configured.

The draft report will be discussed at the Oct. 5 APTA Board of Directors meeting in San Diegom during the APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO, and all interested APTA members are encouraged to submit their comments through the APTA web site by Oct. 13. A copy of the report is available online at www.apta.com.

  • APTA’s Purpose and Membership
    With regard to APTA’s purpose and who should be members of the association, the report notes that, to be a player in the broader public transportation policy formulation role envisioned in TransitVision 2050, a major shift will be needed in who is involved in APTA and that APTA should seek out non-traditional partners to advance its agenda. The task force recommends that APTA membership be extended to organizations that are committed to public transportation as their core mission as it evolves over time.

    The task force was unanimous in its belief that it is essential to maintain APTA’s core strength in providing technical service related to the delivery of transit service, and that the association must continue to meet the technical support needs of public transit agencies and business members. On the policy side, the task force noted the need to be flexible and inclusive to proactively influence the formulation of public transportation policy, and to be open and encouraging to new members that focus on the policy, planning and funding of public transportation.

    APTA Committees
    The report identifies the core activities of APTA’s committees as developing its people, conducting APTA business, and advancing technical practice. It notes that inclusion and encouraging participation by individual members have been hallmarks of APTA’s committee structure.

    It states that APTA’s committees serve two purposes: working to advance APTA’s policy objectives and supporting the industry’s needs on technical issues. While these roles are significantly different from each other, the task force views them both as appropriate and critical if the organization is to achieve its goals and meet the needs of its members.

    The report contains a number of recommendations regarding APTA’s committee structure, including: 

    APTA’s standing committees should be aligned with the strategic goals of the organization, a framework that will be flexible and responsive to changes that take place in the industry in the future, and 

    APTA’s policy committees should be aligned around the organization’s strategic goals and the non-modal issues that will shape the future of the industry. The committees need to focus more on cross-cutting issues and to be less modal in nature.

    The task force noted that APTA committees are already considering a number of key issues identified in TransitVision 2050 that can be given a higher profile.

    Drawing upon suggestions from APTA’s business members, the report recommends the establishment of four new standing committees that focus on cross-cutting issues that currently have no “home” in APTA. These committees covering these issues—conversion and integration of separate transportation entities into intermodal transportation systems, sustainability, public-private partnerships, and mobility management—would report directly to the APTA Executive Committee.

    The report notes that APTA’s committee structure dates back to the 1974 merger of the American Transit Association and the Institute for Rapid Transit into the American Public Transit Association, and that over the years APTA simply added on to the existing structure rather than considering whether changes were needed. Currently, 49 APTA standing committees report to 13 vice chair members of the Executive Committee, and the number of committees expands to more than 100 with the addition of subcommittees, technical forums, and task forces.

    The report recommends undertaking a review of the number and structure of APTA’s committees, with the goal of reducing the number of committees, increasing the consistency in the way committees are organized, minimizing overlapping responsibilities, and enhancing the strategic focus in the organization of committees.


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