March 4, 2016
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Industry Briefs

ARTBA Highlights Deficient Bridges — The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has created an interactive map that provides state-by-state information about the more than 58,000 structurally deficient bridges throughout the U.S., which account for almost 204 million daily crossings. Clicking on a state brings up the number and percentage of its bridges classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, as well as federal investment figures and information about new bridge construction and major reconstruction. To access the map, visit www.artba.org.

Las Vegas RTC Partners on Bikes — The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada awarded a contract to BCycle, based in Waterloo, WI, to install the first bike share system in Las Vegas. The system is scheduled to open later this year with 18 stations and 180 bikes in the downtown area.

Houston METRO’s New ‘Connect’ App — Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) recently launched “MPD Connect,” a free app that allows individuals to contact the agency’s police department. (The app is also formatted for desktop computers.) Users can submit a report directly to police by filling out a short form or send texts during staffed hours.

Tech Students, Staff Ride PSTA Free — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg, FL, has entered into a partnership with Pinellas Technical College (PTC) that allows PTC students and staff members to ride PSTA free simply by showing their school ID. This program could benefit more than 3,000 PTC students attending classes in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Cameras on All BART Railcars — The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) has begun installing additional security cameras to the interiors in all 669 railcars in its current fleet. The useful life of the new digital cameras is between six and seven years, which coincides with the final decommissioning of the old fleet. BART’s new train cars, being constructed by Bombardier, will arrive next year with built-in cameras.

Metra Cuts Police Overtime Costs — Metra commuter rail in ­Chicago has reduced its police overtime costs by 33 percent over the past two years and overtime hours by 23 percent through staff reorganization and realignments. These changes, according to Metra police, allocated resources to areas where the need for police response is greatest while maintaining the total budgeted headcount of officers.

LA Metro’s ‘Harriet’ — Los Angeles Metro lowered a segment of “Harriet,” the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will excavate twin one-mile tunnels to connect three underground stations for the Crenshaw/LAX project, during a recent event. High school junior Calvin Mosley proposed the name in honor of Harriet Tubman’s use of the Underground Railroad to transport slaves to freedom. The TBM will be assembled underground after being lowered by segments.

Bendix Reaches Out — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and its employees completed 60 projects in their communities last year as part of a program funded through Knorr-Bremse Global Care, a nonprofit organization founded by Bendix’s parent company in Munich, Germany. Projects included building a school library in Mexico, funding free surgeries for children with cleft palates, purchasing athletic uniforms and flag football equipment to allow children with physical and mental challenges to participate in a YMCA athletic program, providing financial support for children with disabilities to attend camp and supporting English as a second language training for refugees.

San Diego Fines Riders — The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has introduced fines for riders who refuse to vacate priority seating designated for riders over 65 and persons with disabilities, based on a new state law and an MTS ordinance amendment. A first offense would result in a $25 fine, a second offense is $50 and third (and subsequent) offenses are $100. Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski said, “Previously we were only allowed to request that passengers vacate their seat. We could not enforce or compel a person to move. Now we have that authority.”

Free Rides in Reno — Access to Healthcare Network (AHN) is now providing free transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities for healthcare-related trips through a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno, NV, and the county. The service can be used for doctor appointments, picking up medications, getting home from a local hospital, getting to and from outpatient procedures and stopping by designated stores to buy groceries. FTA provided almost $270,000 for the program through MAP-21 Section 5310, which went toward purchasing minivans and establishing a dedicated phone line.

Riverside Offers Riders a Lift — The Riverside (CA) Transit Agency (RTA) has partnered with an area ski resort to provide a limited number of free lift tickets for use on Wednesday nights through the end of the ski season. “This is a great opportunity for RTA to thank its customers for riding the bus,” said Chairman of the Board Frank Johnston. “We are thrilled to give our customers another big reason to ride.”

Bombardier to Overhaul MARC Coaches — The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded a $36.8 million contract to Bombardier Transportation to overhaul 63 MARC III bi-level commuter rail cars. The railcars, which have been in service almost 17 years, provide service along three commuter rail lines that terminate at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Tri Delta Helps Riders Stay Dry — The Eastern Contra Costa County Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit), Antioch, CA, is distributing more than 1,000 umbrellas to area residents in anticipation of El Niño rains. System employees and bus drivers are handing out the umbrellas—which they call “mobile bus shelters”—on board buses, at bus stops and park-and-ride lots and at Tri Delta Transit’s administrative offices.

VIA Displays Art by Seniors — VIA Metropolitan Transit partnered with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department to display artworks by older residents during February. This year’s “Bravo for ArtAbility, Never Too Old to Create” exhibit included paintings, drawings, photographs, jewelry, pottery, ceramics, sculpture and crafts.

LA Metro Produces ADA ­Videos — Los Angeles Metro has created a video series that provides customers with disabilities with information about public transit service and features.. Find the videos, in English and Spanish with open captioning, here.
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