April 13, 2009
2009 APTA - TRB Light Rail Conference Issue
Innovations at APTA’s 2009 Rail Rodeo: Customer Service Challenge, Awards Banquet
For the first time at an APTA rail conference, the competitors in the International Rail Rodeo will be honored at an awards dinner Sunday evening, June 14, at the Hilton Chicago. The winners in the June 13 operators’ and maintainers’ contests—along with the newest event, the Customer Service Challenge—will receive recognition at the banquet.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), host system for the 2009 APTA Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo, will open the Skokie Yard to spectators during the rodeo. In addition to the competitive activities, CTA will present several special events showcasing specific technical topics.
APTA expects more than 1,000 rail industry professionals to participate in the conference, June 14-17 at the Hilton Chicago. Within the conference theme, “Quality Transit—Now,” the program will offer technical and policy sessions, tours, training, and events focusing on growth and innovation in all rail modes.
In addition to the rail rodeo, pre-conference events on Saturday, June 13, include APTA’s System Safety Seminar and a tour hosted by APTA’s Streetcar & Heritage Trolley Subcommittee and Operations Planning Technical Forum, highlighting the Kenosha, WI, streetcar system, downtown Milwaukee, and southern Wisconsin multimodal centers.
CTA’s afternoon Host Forum on June 14 will show how public transportation has succeeded in the “City That Works” for the past 100 years and continues moving forward. The Welcome to Chicago reception follows the forum.
The Opening General Session will kick off events on Monday, June 15, featuring APTA leaders and speakers from CTA, the Regional Transportation Authority, and Metra. The luncheon program that day will bring together executives from the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, National Safety Council, and United Airlines, who will recognize chief executive officers for their leadership in creating a safety culture within their organizations.
The conference also will include educational sessions on topics such as the state of good repair, project financing and delivery, customer service, workforce development, rail car procurement, positive/automated train control, and high-speed rail; tours of CTA and Metra facilities and rail lines; the “All That Jazz” reception at the Garfield Park Conservatory; and the Rail Products & Services Showcase on Tuesday, June 16.
Activities on Wednesday, June 17, will include a CTA contractors’ forum showcasing the relationships of project designers, managers, contractors, and the rail agency and a presentation on CTA’s partnership with the Chicago Civic Alliance of corporations such as Boeing, McDonald’s, Motorola, and United Airlines. Sadhu Johnson, chief environmental officer for the Chicago mayor’s office, will address the Closing General Session, describing the city’s cap-and-trade system for all six greenhouse gases and the transportation components of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. A multi-modal tour that day, “Looping the Loop,” will incorporate rides on CTA, Metra, and Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District rail services.
APTA’s Procurement and Materials Management Workshop and the National Transit Institute’s four-day course, Management of Transit Construction Projects, will run concurrently with the rail conference. Post-conference training offered later in the week will include an FTA/FHWA roundtable discussion on capacity building; the Transportation Safety Institute’s rail safety session; APTA’s Positive Train Control and shared track workshops; an FTA New Starts/Small Starts seminar; and the Mineta Transportation Institute’s summit on rail passenger screening.
The preliminary program, and registration, travel discount, and hotel information for the 2009 APTA Rail Conference are posted online.