APTA | Passenger Transport
July 20, 2009

In This Issue


Nine major public transit positions available in this week's classified ads!


What’s New at the 2009 Annual Meeting? Highlights of What to Expect in Orlando

The public transportation industry's premier event—APTA’s 2009 Annual Meeting—officially begins in Orlando on Oct. 5 with the Opening General Session, “Quality Transit—NOW!”, where speakers will highlight transit’s accomplishments of the past year and present both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. And of course, there will be the traditional “passing of the gavel” from the outgoing to the incoming APTA chair.

In these difficult economic times compounded by the uncertainties of the cost and availability of fuel, the value of public transportation has become increasingly evident. The Annual Meeting offers APTA members the opportunity to stay up-to-date and current on all the key public transportation issues—and to take back ideas and best practices to implement at home.

This conference (with its first-ever Product Showcase) will provide participants with an array of educational sessions and workshops, all designed to cover major policy issues, including:

* Authorization. Hear the latest on the next federal surface transportation authorizing law from invited Congressional representatives and staff as well as industry leaders.
* Economic Stimulus. Learn the latest updates on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding opportunities, reporting requirements, and more, directly from Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials.
* High-Speed Rail. After FRA staff analyze comments received in response to their June 17 announcement at the APTA Rail Conference (see related story on page 3), they will soon begin sorting through grant applications for project and planning awards for high-speed and intercity rail programs across the country. Make plans to attend this workshop to hear FRA’s latest report.
* Federal Sustainability Partnerships. Representatives from U.S. DOT, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been invited to discuss how their combined efforts and underlying policy principles will foster livability and sustainability in rural, suburban, and urban communities nationwide. Their approaches are designed to expand public transportation options while lowering transportation costs, increasing the availability of affordable housing, and better protecting the environment.
* Public Transit in a Green Economy. While no one can predict when the economy will turn around, most everyone agrees that the resulting economy will be a greener one. What does this mean for the future of transit and doing business in the industry? What new business models and partnerships are already established and what is innovative about them? “Green” leaders from both the public and private sectors will participate in forums and workshops throughout the conference.
* Transit Mega Projects. A special forum will highlight the largest transit public works projects in North America. Find out more about the planning associated with advancing these projects to this point and the transportation benefit to communities, including job creation, mobility options improvement, and the provision of enormous environmental benefits.

Program Redesign
The entire agenda of the Annual Meeting has been redesigned to be responsive to participants’ feedback. One major change will be a decrease in the number of concurrent educational sessions—to enable members to attend more topics of importance to them. Scheduled “against” the sessions will be a forum (which will largely provide a general overview on a subject) on a non-conflicting topic. The program also provides an increase in the number of smaller, interactive workshops, which will allow for significantly more networking.

The agenda will include sessions on leading and managing in a volatile economic climate, such as:
* CEOs’ Panel on Managing in Turbulent Times. This interactive session with transit industry leaders and CEOs of major employers in the Orlando area will examine how top executives in the transit industry and other sectors are coping with the impact of the depressed economy on decision-making on major infrastructure investments.
* Doing Business in the New Economy. The fundamentals of doing business have changed significantly in the last year: surety markets have evaporated in many business sectors, cash is much harder to access, the leasing market has been turned upside down, public agency bond ratings have suffered, and many transit suppliers are in poor shape, restructuring, or even going away. This interactive session will feature a panel of business members—transit CEOs and purchasing managers—and FTA representatives who will review and discuss the new realities and rules of doing business today and in the future.

A Wide Variety of Educational Sessions and Workshops
Among the many sessions and workshops scheduled will be those that focus on topics of the moment, including:
* Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Transit agencies and Metropolitan Planning Organizations can become partners in many creative and innovative ways to facilitate livable and sustainable communities. Together, they can support the planning and implementation of successful TOD with station area plans, capital improvements that support station access, infrastructure funding, and parking strategies. The presentation will provide a toolkit of current best practices and will also allow for a peer exchange to help attendees learn how they can support successful TOD in their regions.
* Doing Business with DBEs. In this time of limited funds but increased competition, learn how transit agencies can identify and develop business relationships with disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) that are qualified to meet contracting goals. Participants will hear perspectives and thoughts from a DBE owner, transit agency official, and supplier, all of whom will discuss the relationship-building that leads to success for DBEs and their partners.
* Best Practices for Small Operators. Showcasing examples of best practices and innovations from small transit systems across the country, this interactive session will cover topics geared toward small operators but will also apply to larger systems.
* Workforce Development. Today’s executive leaders and managers need plans, blueprints, and innovative approaches to hire and develop a world-class workforce for 2010 and beyond. This leadership roundtable will discuss the key recommendations of APTA’s Workforce Development Blue Ribbon Panel, including legislative proposals, strategies for higher education, youth outreach and awareness, partnerships and collaborations, image/branding of public transportation as a “green” jobs industry, and performance metrics. Also in this session, participants will have the opportunity to discuss the results of recent surveys on industry training needs and best practices on preparing the next generation of leaders.
* Becoming Technology Savvy. Technology evolves at lightning speeds and, increasingly, tech-savvy customers are demanding tech-friendly services—and the transit industry cannot afford to fall behind. How are some agencies keeping up with changing technologies without incurring major expenses? What truly sets the benchmark for today and tomorrow?  In this session, attendees will he learn how to use technology and when to update what they have, without “breaking the bank.”
* Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). America will celebrate the 20th anniversary of ADA in July 2010. In this session, participants will hear from service providers, riders, advocates, and business members on the past—and the next 20 years. Together they will explore the history of public policy regarding access for all, and will examine today’s disability rights environment.

Business Strategies—Disney Style
The Disney Institute’s professional development and leadership team will offer two 90-minute sessions providing information on proven business philosophies that will suggest creative ways to weather the economic storm of late and effectively meet the challenges of today’s business environment.

Session I, Disney’s Approach to Quality Service, will focus on some of the rewards of improving customer service, including increasing market share, solidifying one’s reputation, and finding the ability to exceed customer expectations.  Session II, Leading Through Turbulent Times, will explore best practices that underlie the Disney approach to sustained excellence even during times of economic difficulties.  Participants in this session will learn how they can adapt Disney’s strategies to the transit industry to help retain customers, engage employees, and position the industry for future success.

For more information on these sessions, contact Pam Boswell.

FTA New Starts/Small Starts
On Thursday, Oct. 8, following the conclusion of the meeting, FTA, in conjunction with APTA, will offer a half-day workshop on its New Starts/Small Starts program. It will provide the technical requirements of the major capital investment planning and project development process and will cover the latest issues affecting new starts.

Information on this workshop is available online or from Rich Weaver.

Professional Development and Training Opportunities
The Eno Transportation Foundation will provide two sessions for transit board members. The first, New Board Member Orientation, will help acclimate new members to their positions, prepare them to work with more seasoned board members, and familiarize them with the resources within APTA and throughout the industry. There is no cost for this course.

The second session, the Eno Transit Board Summit, developed in partnership with APTA and the National Transit Institute, will run a day and a half and is intended to build the leadership capacity of board members to enable them to consider the complexities of the transit industry and discuss the critical issues of today. This course is $250.

Focusing on APTA’s Future
Two scheduled sessions that address APTA’s priorities as an association are:
* APTA Governance Roundtable. A task force of APTA members has proposed a major restructuring of the association’s governance design to prepare APTA to lead the industry into the future, and to deliver on the potential envisioned by TransitVision 2050. This effort will realign APTA in a changing world and improve its ability to address current issues, engage all sectors of the industry in how APTA is governed, strengthen and empower committees, and cultivate new industry leadership.
* Strategic Plan Listening Session. In the first half of 2009, APTA members held many broad and comprehensive conversations about what will shape the public transit industry in the next five years, what would be ideal achievements, and what APTA could do to facilitate those outcomes. All this input and feedback has set the context for the new strategic plan that will guide the association from 2010 to 2014.

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