October 20, 2008
The 2008 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in San Diego was a huge success!
Read all about it.
General Forum Covers International Developments in Public Transit
International developments in public transportation were the focus of an Oct. 7 General Forum at the APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO, ranging from policy developments, financing, and expansion to innovative projects.
Laurence Jackson, International Association of Public Transport (UITP) vice president-North America and president and chief executive officer of Long Beach Transit in Long Beach, CA, moderated the session.
Claudio De Senna Frederico, former secretary of transport in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and vice president of the Brazilian National Association of Public Transit (ANTP), said transit provides 22.6 billion annual trips in the country and employs 700,000 people. However, he said, public transit suffers from an image problem despite its success.
Brazil’s greatest challenge is to keep those that are still taking transit taking transit. The “newly emerging middle class expect affordable transit, but they also want beauty,” he added.
Integration is key, he added. It’s very important to include planning, operations, promotion and pricing. He cautioned: “Do not wait for Godot, immediately organize what you have. Put to good use all types of transit with no hierarchy.”
Michael Roschlau, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, spoke about the goals of a national transit strategy: to increase transit ridership and reduce automobile dependency; improve the economic competitiveness of Canadian cities; enhance the quality of urban life; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. He said there is a need to bring together all stakeholders, create a common vision, and unite different orders of government and the private sector.
Roschlau quoted a recent public opinion poll that found that gas prices are hitting Canadians hard and are the number one household expense concern. In fact, Canadians are more concerned about the rising price of gas than they are by rent or mortgage payments. Most (60 percent) are rethinking transportation options and transit is the number one alternative, ahead of purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
The survey also shows more Canadians supporting a national plan that invests in public transit than a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, or carbon capture and storage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Heather Webster, president, UITP-ANZ, and executive director, Department for Transport, energy and Infrastructure-Public Transport Division, Adelaide, Australia, spoke on the rapid growth and increase in travel demand in Melbourne. She described the challenges associated with rapid growth, including “people congestion on trains and platforms and train congestion on tracks.”
She cited a detailed study of 100 cities worldwide that showed Australian cities spending 12 to 13 percent of local Gross Domestic Product on passenger transport.
Webster noted the role of the “go card” in public transit in Brisbane, the “Bus Way City.” The long-life card, part of a new automatic fare collection system, is about the size of a credit card and can be topped up like a prepaid mobile phone.
Dr. Peter Hoeflinger, Dipl.-Kaufmann, director of finance, Stuttgarter Strassenbahnen AG (SSB), Stuttgart, Germany, spoke on the main trends in policy, financing, marketing, and technology. He said Germany, with about 65 public transport associations, has seen a ridership increase by 5 percent in the past decade, from just over than 7.2 billion passengers in 2000 to nearly 7.6 billion in 2006.