Passenger Transport - August 30, 2010
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Biden: High-Speed Rail Among ARRA Tech Successes

High-speed rail is just one of the successes resulting from the investment of $100 billion in science, technology, and innovation projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), according to Vice President Joe Biden. On Aug. 24, Biden released a new report, The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation, which demonstrated how ARRA is helping accelerate significant advances that will cut costs for consumers, save lives, and help keep America competitive in the 21st-century economy.

The report notes that, prior to ARRA, the U.S. had less than 500 miles of high-speed rail operating at speeds far slower than other countries such as China, Japan, and France. It points to “major metropolitan corridors stretching from 100 to 600 miles that are comparable to corridors around the world where high-speed rail has proven to be a successful addition to transportation networks.”

The $8 billion in high-speed rail funding included in ARRA supports strategic investments that will ultimately result in new high-speed rail corridors and will upgrade thousands of miles of existing track and services, laying the groundwork for future high-speed rail services. The report cites examples such as the Aug. 11, 2010, ground breaking for the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, the northern terminus for California’s high-speed rail project; 808 route miles of track improvements or new high-speed rail track, with 364 route miles operating at speeds of up to 110 mph and 84 route miles operating at speeds of up to 168 mph; and 18 percent better trip times, saving an estimated 3.8 million hours for travelers annually.

“From the beginning, we have been a nation of discovery and innovation—and today we continue in that tradition as Recovery Act investments pave the way for game-changing breakthroughs in transportation, energy, and medical research,” Biden said.

“We’re planting the seeds of innovation, but private companies and the nation’s top researchers are helping them grow: launching entire new industries, transforming our economy, and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process,” he said, adding: “The future of transportation in the U.S. will also benefit from better rail travel.”

The report is available online at the White House web site.

DOT Awards $13.8 Million for University Programs

DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) has awarded more than $13.8 million in grants to eight University Transportation Centers (UTC) located throughout the nation to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges.

“Sound science and rigorous analysis provide a solid foundation for the development of transportation policy,” said RITA Administrator Peter H. Appel. “The UTC program plays a key role in supporting collaborative research and transportation workforce development that will help us create a truly 21st century transportation system.”

The grants included:

* University of California Transportation Center, headquartered at the University of California at Berkeley, $2.1 million to fund research on a range of issues including goods movement, air quality impact assessment, eco-friendly driving, and transit-oriented development, as well as support for graduate student fellowships and technology transfer.

* Michigan Center for Advancing Safe Transportation throughout the Lifespan, based at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, $925,700 to support research, education, and technology transfer activities that address the changing perceptual, cognitive, and movement abilities of older drivers. It will also address the transportation needs of young people and older adults, when they are unable or choose not to drive themselves, and the elevated crash risk of young drivers.

* NEXTRANS Center, headquartered at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, $2.1 million to develop integrated and innovative solutions to transportation challenges by explicitly capturing the interactions between vehicle, traveler, and infrastructure.

* University of Maryland’s Center for Integrated Transportation Systems Management, $926,700 to continue developing advanced technology, improving processes, and enhancing organizational structures for the integrated management and operation of transportation facilities and corridors.

* A consortium of nine universities from five states, the Southeastern Transportation Center (STC), $2.1 million for educational assistance to undergraduate and graduate students throughout the southeastern region, and basic and applied research into comprehensive transportation safety. STC is based at the University of Tennessee.

* University of Vermont Transportation Research Center, $3.2 million for innovative and interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach on sustainable transportation system solutions.

“By investing in research at our nation’s universities, we are helping to address today’s transportation needs while we train tomorrow’s transportation professionals,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

More information about the UTC Program can be found here.

 

‘Transit Score’ Just Launched; Explores Transportation Options

When people think about where they want to live, they usually look at schools, amenities (such as grocery stores), and services. Many also examine their transportation options. Can they take a bus or subway to work? Bike? Walk to public transportation? How long would that take, and what will it cost?

Walk Score, the flagship product of Front Seat, a civic software company based in Seattle, has just launched “Transit Score,” a service that will help people across the country determine how transit-accessible a home or neighborhood might be. It will also aid them in figuring out the true cost of buying a home, which is the cost of housing plus transportation. In addition, with custom commute reports and a home and transportation costs calculator, this product will allow third parties to add public transit information to their websites.

Transit Score measures how well a location is served by public transportation. For instance, if a person’s transit score is 90-100, that individual is likely living in a “Rider’s Paradise,” defined as having “world-class public transportation.”

“The costs of driving to and from work and daily activities are only growing, and the time spent in traffic is lost forever,” said John Herst, Walk Score chief executive officer. “Walk Score’s new Transit Score and commute reports make it easy for consumers to quickly understand how much the location of their home and workplace impacts their daily lives.”

People living in one of the 40 cities with open transit data can receive custom commute reports that show all hills on a biking or walking route, nearby transit lines, and travel times and directions based on the mode selected. Walk Score has also joined with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which means that users will be able to calculate their expected transportation costs, and with the real estate site ZipRealty, so all this transit-related information will become part of ZipRealty’s home listings.

This product received support from The Rockefeller Foundation. According to its press release, the foundation’s “transportation initiative is committed to helping Americans re-think our transportation future as a way to expand economic opportunity, and we are excited about the potential impact Transit Score will have in helping Americans make more informed decisions about where they will live and work,” said Benjamin de la Pena, associate director of the foundation. “Transportation costs are often the second highest expense for working Americans and Transit Score will give families more control over their household budgets by providing them with information about their transit choices.”

South Carolina Welcomes New Facility, Fixed Route Service: Resource Center in Aiken

During Aug. 17 ceremonies attended by Peter Appel, administrator of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, the Lower Savannah Council of Governments opened its Aging, Disability & Transportation Resource Center in Aiken, SC—one of only three in the nation.  Federal support for this center came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and DOT’s United We Ride/Mobility Services for All Americans initiative.

The other two facilities are located in Paducah, KY, and Cherry Hill, NJ.

This facility provides transit information and trip planning to a rural six-county region that covers nearly 4,000 square miles with 300,000 residents. It serves as a central location where seniors, persons with disabilities, and the economically disadvantaged can use Intelligent Transportation Systems to access travel services instead of being forced to cope with multiple programs and caseworkers to meet their transportation needs.

The center uses ITS technology for route planning; trip schedules; automated billing; verification of passenger eligibility; and managing buses, vans, trains, and other vehicles in a single system. The resulting coordinated, technology-enabled network of transportation providers will help meet the mobility needs of underserved residents in that area, including a number of the unemployed.

 

Cutting the ribbon at the Lower Savannah Council of Governments’ (LSCOG) Aging, Disability & Transportation Resource Center are, from left, Hart Baker, South Carolina deputy transportation secretary for intermodal and freight programs; transit advocate Althea Smith; Ronnie Young, chairman of the Aiken County Council; Peter Appel, administrator of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration; LSCOG Board Chairman Roger Hill; Yvette Taylor, Federal Transit Administration Region IV administrator; Tony Kester, director of the S.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging; and LSCOG Executive Director Wayne Rogers.

 

Pee Dee Serves Darlington

For the first time, residents of the small South Carolina town of Darlington have fixed route bus service, provided by the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) in Florence, SC.

PDRTA Executive Director Janice Baroody explained that the agency previously offered demand-response service in Darlington, but instituted the fixed route at the request of local businesses and residents. The new DART service began Aug. 16 and operated fare free through Aug. 27.

“Our unemployment rates are astronomical—15 to 20 percent—and transportation is a huge issue,” Baroody said. “When we held our public hearings, members of the business community asked us not to provide only intercity transportation because our local merchants, doctors, and other businesses need to be sustained and they need customers.”

Rather than simply considering the Darlington route as part of the larger PDRTA service area, the authority created a unique brand—“DART”— to demonstrate that the service belongs to the residents of the town. “The support and response have been fantastic,” Baroody added.

Many of the DART riders use the service to get to work, she said, while others use it for shopping, doctor’s visits, and other purposes. “When you have a little town,” she noted, “you can do a route that takes about an hour and hits every apartment complex, the downtown area, the local hospital, and so forth.”

Baroody also said PDRTA plans to start a similar fixed route in the town of Hartsville, about 20 miles from Darlington, within months.

Michigan Report Shows Benefits of Transit

Public transportation agencies in Michigan provide both social and economic benefits to riders and non-riders alike, according to Economic and Community Benefits of Local Bus Transit Service, a new report prepared for Michigan DOT by HDR.

“While the direct benefits of transit to its users are clear, it is generally accepted that the overall benefits of these trips extend beyond just transit riders,” the report states. “Through improved mobility, safety, air quality, and economic development, public transit also benefits users of the roadway network and the community at large.”

It defines the social benefits as transportation cost savings, which consist of out-of-pocket cost savings (e.g., vehicle ownership and operating cost savings) and cost savings in travel time, accidents, and environmental emissions. Also included are low-cost mobility benefits such as affordable mobility benefits (the economic value to access services such as healthcare, education, and retail for transit-dependent people) and cross-sector benefits (budget savings for welfare and social services, such as unemployment and home care, due to the presence of transit).

The availability of public transit also affects the state economy through transit operating and maintenance expenses and the re-spending of a portion of out-of-pocket cost savings that are accruing to transit riders.

The report covers 79 individual public transit agencies throughout the state that receive operating assistance from Michigan DOT. Among the findings:

* Taking transit reduces the cost of transportation. Out-of-pocket cost savings for Michigan transit riders in 2008 totaled $348.8 million, making those funds available for other purposes.

* Investing in transit means shorter commutes and eases congestion. A full bus can take more than 30 cars off the road. The choice of transportation mode for commute helps reduce congestion delays during rush hours.

* Transit use frees up time for other activities. Because of public transit, travelers saved more than 17.5 million person-hours of travel in 2008. Overall, the study estimates the economic value of travel time savings at $340.4 million.

* Transit facilitates access to jobs and medical care, as well as access to education. More than 40 percent of trips made by transit patrons in Michigan are for work or medical purposes, and many of them rely entirely on public transit for their mobility needs. If public transit was no longer available they would have no choice but to forego their trips—with an estimated value of $67.6 million in 2008.  Using public transit for education purposes accounts for more than one quarter of the state’s trips, and without transit, more than 16,000 students would not be able to attend school or college.

* Public transit drives job creation. For every 10 jobs created in the public transit sector, six additional jobs are created in the rest of the economy as a result of the multiplier effect. It is estimated that transit operations sustained more than 9,200 jobs and contributed about $1.08 billion in economic output in Michigan in 2008.

The full text of the report is available online.

Nations to Join St. Louis Metro as President and CEO

Metro in St. Louis announced Aug. 24 that John Nations will become its next president and chief executive officer when Robert Baer steps down in October.

Nations is a partner in the St. Louis office of the law firm Armstrong Teasdale and is currently serving his third term as mayor of Chesterfield, MO. He led the successful Proposition A campaign for a half-cent sales tax to support Metro, which passed 63 percent to 37 percent on April 6, 2010.

“John Nations has a track record as a proven political leader. He is deeply committed to regional cooperation, and understands the critical role that public transit plays in supporting economic activity and development in our region,” said Vince Schoemehl, chairman of Metro’s Board of Commissioners. “We deeply appreciate the dedication and service of Bob Baer, who has done so much to restore public trust and accountability in Metro and laid the foundation for our efforts to build a sustainable future for public transit services in the St. Louis region.”

Nations said he sees strengthening the link between public transit and economic development in the St. Louis region as his main priority. “Public transit is the lifeblood of the St. Louis region, including the suburban communities,” he said. “I see Metro as the catalyst for attracting and retaining jobs, and I am committed to working with local leaders in business, retail, government and education to make that vision a reality.”

Robert Olmsted Dies; N.Y. Transportation Planner

Robert Amson Olmsted, P.E., F. ASCE, 85, former planning director for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and one of the leading transportation planners in New York City, died Aug. 16.

In addition to the MTA, Olmsted worked for the city of New York, MTA New York City Transit, and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority during his career. He remained active in the field after his retirement in the early 1990s, participating in both professional and public meetings and providing historical perspective on transit lines both built and merely planned.

Barnett Dies; Longtime WMATA Board Member

Cleatus E. Barnett, 83, a 32-year member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors who served five terms as its chairman, died Aug. 11 in Pensacola, FL.

Barnett represented Montgomery County, MD, on the WMATA Board of Directors from 1971—two years after Metrorail construction began, but five years before the system entered service—to June 2003, when he retired and moved to Pensacola. He served as chairman in 1974, 1980, 1986, 1992 and 1998.

Upon his retirement, the board officially renamed its meeting room “The Cleatus E. Barnett Board Room” in his honor, placing a plaque with his photo at the entrance.

“We are sorry to learn of the passing of Cleatus Barnett, one of the founding fathers of the Metrorail system and a true public servant dedicated to improving transportation in this region,” said WMATA Board Chairman Peter Benjamin. “He was a major contributor to the building of Metrorail, from its concept to a thriving and proud system, and was responsible for many of the benefits that it brought to our region. He also was a supporter of the Metrobus system, which stretches deep into neighborhoods where rails do not exist.”

A Washington Post editorial that ran after Barnett’s retirement stated that “in the eyes of his colleagues in the world of transit, Mr. Barnett ... is recognized and respected as a major force in the birth and growth of ‘America’s Subway.’”

Five More Ways to Share APTA’s National Public Transit Petition

Increased federal investment in public transportation is greatly needed, and the American Public Transportation Association has created a National Public Transit Petition to present at a special event in Washington, DC, on Sept. 22.

If you’ve already signed the petition, you may wonder, now what? Here are five fantastic ways you can spread the word about the petition, and encourage your employees, riders, stakeholders, advocates and community members to sign.

* Post the link to the petition from your organization’s web site. Riders and community members already look to your site for up-to-the-minute updates on their public transit needs, so what better place to inform them about this petition? Their rides may depend on it.

* E-mail. Your staff, friends, family, community members, and supporters are great resources. A simple personal message from you may be all the encouragement they need to sign the petition. Providing the electronic link makes it even easier for them.

* Volunteers. Busy transit stations and terminals are a great place to ask riders and community members to sign the petition right there on the spot. A clipboard and a few copies of the petition are all you need to gather up additional signatures and empower riders to have their voices heard.

* Use your social media tools. If you have a Facebook page, post the link to your wall and ask your friends to sign and share the link with their friends. More of a Twitter person? Tweet to all your followers. Signing the petition is even faster than typing in those 140 characters. Part of a LinkedIn group? Share the petition with them as well.

* Bring copies of the petition to special events. If your organization is participating in a community activity or special event, have some petitions on hand to gather signatures. People active in their community will more than likely be interested in improving their neighborhoods with increased public transportation funding.

Each signature is important.  So, be creative, and remember that Congress needs to hear our story. Increased public transportation funding is a necessity.

APTA Takes Steps Toward Creating Standards for Cyber Security

BY MARTIN P. SCHROEDER, P.E., APTA Chief Engineer

Statistics show that every six seconds a computer is hacked, and that such attacks can lead to devastating consequences—ranging from loss of important information to loss of control of the nation’s infrastructure. The problem is so serious that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established working groups to define cyber security protection procedures for such areas as transportation, public water systems, and electrical power grid. APTA is working with DHS on further standards and has developed its own recommended practice specific to public transit train control systems.

The APTA Control and Communications Security Work Group of the Research and Technology Committee—chaired by David Teumim, president of Teumim Technical LLC in Allentown, PA—recently published Part I of an anticipated series of recommended practices on cyber security. Titled Securing Control and Communications Systems in Transit Environments, this report provides a starting point to begin thinking more seriously about cyber threats, especially regarding train control features of transit system operations. Its goals are to share transit agency best practices, set a minimum requirement for control security, and raise awareness of control security concerns.

The areas covered in the Recommended Practice include supervisory control and data acquisition systems, traction power control, train signaling, fire detection systems, public information systems, automatic vehicle location wireless communications, and fare collection, among others. The potential threats to these systems could include Trojan horses, logic bombs, worms, malware, spyware, and other variants of destructive code.

Transit is not immune. Cyber attacks have already occurred in transportation, and there are widening vulnerabilities given how connected many control and communication systems are within modern transit systems. In 2003, the “Sobig” virus struck CSX’s Jacksonville, FL, headquarters, bringing down signaling, train dispatch, and other related systems. The virus also affected Amtrak, delaying trains for six hours. Another attack in Lodz, Poland, in 2007 affected switching operations of a train yard that led to train derailments, resulting in the injury of 12 people. In that case, a 14-year-old had reprogrammed a TV remote control to override the switch control signals.

APTA’s Committee is now initiating development of Part II of the recommended practice, which will set guidelines for applying security controls and countermeasures to mitigate, prevent, and recover from cyber attacks of train control systems. This will further address the tools the industry needs to understand and use to strengthen the infrastructure’s ability to withstand cyber attacks. A meeting of the Control and Communications Security Work Group, hosted by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2010, in Philadelphia.

Building a Sustainable Public Transportation Workforce: The Blue Ribbon Panel’s Final Report on Critical Human Capital

APTA’s Executive Committee recently accepted the final report of its Workforce Development Blue Ribbon Panel, which affirmed that workforce and human capital issues are critical to the continuing success of the public transportation industry.

Recognizing this need and building upon the success of APTA’s previous workforce development initiatives, APTA Immediate Past Chair Dr. Beverly A. Scott established this panel, which represented the public and private sectors of the industry, key stakeholders, and partners including labor, academia, and the next generation of leaders in APTA. The panel included a technical resources group, comprising federal partners, labor, and organizations responsible for delivering workforce development and training programs.

Current APTA Chair M.P. Carter has continued this initiative. Under the leadership of Doran Barnes, APTA’s vice chair-human resources, the panel developed a unified work plan for the next five years, with 32 recommendations for new programs, projects, and services that address six areas:

* Image and branding;
* Higher education (postsecondary) issues;
* Youth outreach and awareness programs;
* Partnerships and collaborations;
* Development of performance metrics to determine the return on investment; and
* The impact of authorization of the federal public transportation law and other legislative proposals on workforce development.

“I acknowledge the vision and foresight of Dr. Scott in establishing the panel to address our industry’s future workforce challenges and opportunities,” said Carter. “Building upon APTA’s TransitVision 2050 and our new five-year strategic plan, I am pleased with the panel’s final recommendations and look forward to advancing the implementation plan.”

The panel produced three resources that complement its work:

* APTA’s Preliminary Skill Development and Training Needs Report. This report is based on a survey of APTA members from front-line supervisors to top executives in both the public and private sectors. The report confirms and demonstrates industry assumptions about the impact of impending baby boomer retirements; identifies the top 10 training needs for all levels of leaders and supervisors in both the public and private sectors; and provides five key conclusions and recommendations for APTA and the industry.

* Survey of Existing Resources, Practices and Metrics of Workforce Development Programs in the U.S. Transit Industry, funded through the Transit Cooperative Research Program. This report, conducted by the Transportation Learning Center, captured a snapshot of the existing level of investment in transit training activities and the features and metrics of these activities. In brief, the survey found that the overall level of transit’s investment in training continues to be low, compared with the average of all U.S. industries, particularly the leading companies, and the level of variability of training investment across agencies is high. The information from this survey may support further efforts to establish industry-developed models that measure the return on investment on such elements as workforce development activities and training.

* “Careers in Public Transportation” toolkit for grades K-5, recently launched. The toolkit and accompanying guide are designed for educators, students, youth program providers, transit agencies, and businesses to assist in promoting career opportunities in public transportation.

“Workforce development has been a key issue for many years, with great programs and services in place within the industry,” said Barnes. “There have, however, been challenges with coordinating these efforts and maximizing available resources. The panel’s work has allowed our industry to better ‘connect the dots’ and provide the long-term blueprint for workforce development. Our industry has career appeal for a new and diverse workforce representing the best and the brightest.”

Looking ahead, APTA’s Fiscal Year 2011 business plan includes conducting APTA’s 2nd Youth Summit, promoting a “National Public Transportation Career Day,” piloting an educational road show, and implementing the blue ribbon panel’s recommendations.

For more information about APTA’s effort in workforce development, visit the web site.

NTI Plans Webinars, Classes on Narrowcasting for Radio Operation

The National Transit Institute (NTI) invites senior public transportation agency executives to participate in training webinars related to the narrowing of two-way UHF and VHF radio systems as required by the Federal Communications Committee by 2013. The webinars will take place on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 5 p.m., both Eastern time.  APTA is one of the sponsors of this program.

According to NTI, the change in specifications will require many transit agencies to replace their entire radio infrastructure and subscriber units. Agencies that fail to make the transition face license revocation and possible fines.

NTI has also scheduled three one-day educational sessions for transit professionals involved with the operation of a radio communication system and those planning to be involved with implementing the changes, titled “Narrowbanding: Are You Prepared?” The course is being offered Nov. 8 in Tampa, FL; Dec. 6 in San Francisco; and Dec. 8 in Los Angeles.
Session participants are eligible for six Continuing Education Units.

To register or for more information, visit the NTI web site.

Eno Foundation Seminar Targets Mid-Level Transit Managers

The Eno Transportation Foundation’s Center for Transportation Leadership is seeking applications by Sept. 16 for its newest program: the Transit Mid-Manager Seminar, Nov. 15-19 in Baltimore.

Eno created this new leadership course, developed with the National Transit Institute and presented in partnership with APTA, to meet the specific needs of mid-level managers in public transportation agencies and companies that serve the public transit industry. It offers training in personal and leadership skills such as organizational management, coping with economic pressures, expanding industry knowledge and appreciation of transit partners, individual communication, emotional intelligence, and management aptitude.

Details and application packets are available online. For more information, contact Lindsey Robertson.

Delaware Sees Record Ridership on Summer Beach Resort Routes

DART First State, operated by the Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC), announced record-breaking ridership this summer on its Resort Transit service, including a huge increase in popularity of the Rehoboth Beach Park-and-Ride. The agency has operated the summer service annually since 1990, but this year’s ridership is almost 30 percent higher than the previous record holder, 2008.

The resort buses provided 29,560 riders during the first week of August, as of Aug. 5—24.1 percent more than the same week in 2009. A route that serves the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk has accommodated 158,200 passengers so far this year, a 36.5 percent increase over the same period last year, and ridership on the Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach Connection is up almost 40 percent compared with last year.

According to DART First State, employees of Rehoboth businesses and public agencies receive a discounted parking fee, which accounts for the growth in park-and-ride usage. As of July 17, 9,133 Rehoboth Beach employees were using the lot compared to 6,304 last year during the same time frame—a 44.9 percent increase. The number of full-paying customers at the lot increased almost 27 percent, from 4,024 in 2009 to 5,106 this year.

DTC cited its outreach campaign to beach area employers—one element of a synergistic media effort—as one reason why more of their employees used the park-and-ride lot. The corporation’s marketing department sent letters to 733 employers about the employee discounted park-and-ride program. Other elements of the resort transit marketing effort included print ads in two beach area newspapers, radio ads on six of the state’s major radio stations, and restroom display ads at 20 restaurant locations in the beach area.

DTC marketing staff also spent a week in the beach region, distributing 26,100 resort schedules to more than 1,000 resort area businesses, and posted advertising board at major shopping malls and movie theaters. The promotion extended to DART Rider E-Mail Notices, a special information and schedule page on DartFirstState.com, and on DTC’s Weatherline reporting service serving New Castle County.

“This is more evidence of how transit works well for the public and the effectiveness of well-planned park-and-ride lots,” said DTC Executive Director Stephen Kingsberry. “We’re pleased to provide families and beach visitors with a low-cost, safe, and comfortable way to experience all the beach area has to offer. We are also pleased to welcome more bicyclists on our resort buses.”

Knoxville Opens LEED-Certified Station

Dignitaries including Reps. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and committee member John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) attended Aug. 13 ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Knoxville Station, the first government building in Knoxville, TN, to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) began operations out of the station on Aug. 16.

The $29 million facility offers state-of-the-art technologies and environmental features that put it on track for silver LEED certification, including a green roof, geothermal heating and cooling, a solar array, and a design that makes use of natural light.

“The combination of creative design and energy-saving technology is reflective of our goals as a city to fully use available resources, increase residents’ travel options, and lessen our impact on the environment,” said Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. “We’re living in a day when people are looking more and more to mass transit and looking for ways to decrease our dependence on foreign oil.”

Amenities at Knoxville Station include a customer service counter for pass purchase and information, climate-controlled waiting room, restrooms and vending, bike lockers, recycling throughout the facility, and a soon-to-open Station Café serving breakfast and lunch. A special room off the main lobby currently houses a juried show of 18 regional artists in honor of the opening. KAT also plans to commission permanent art for the facility.

KAT designed the facility partially on land and partially spanning a parkway as an innovative way to keep the transportation hub downtown while finding room for a 710-foot bus platform and associated administrative offices.

 

Canopies over the bus boarding platforms are one green element of KAT’s new Knoxville Station.

 

IndyGo to Expand Hybrid Bus Fleet

IndyGo in Indianapolis, IN, is preparing to integrate 22 new 40-foot low floor buses from Gillig—11 of which operate with hybrid-electric technology—into its fleet in January 2011. They will replace 25 Gillig 29-foot buses from 2000 that have met Federal Transit Administration retirement requirements.

“We’re very excited about adding these ‘green machines’ to our fleet as they will further accelerate our company-wide ‘Go Green’ sustainability initiative,” said IndyGo President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Terry. “Bus service, in general, is a ‘greener’ way to travel, but these hybrids will do even more to reduce the environmental impact on the city as well as lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.”

The agency purchased the vehicles, at $381,399 each, with local funds and a $5.1 million federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. The decision to convert 11 of the buses to hybrid operation, which costs $189,757 for each upgrade, came after IndyGo received an Electric Hybrid Grant initiated by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

Each IndyGo hybrid bus combines a Cummins diesel-fueled combustion engine with a battery-powered electric motor, allowing better fuel economy and far fewer emissions than a conventional bus. A regenerative braking system, which allows the buses to capture and store energy while stopped, leads to reduced fuel consumption. IndyGo will mark the hybrid buses with its “Go Green” logo.

CATS Receives National Safe Place Award

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) in Charlotte, NC, recently received the 2010 National Safe Place Corporate Involvement Award for its support of The Relatives, a youth shelter in Charlotte.

National Safe Place presents this award to a corporate partner that knows how business is enhanced through a connection to community needs and consistently goes above and beyond the expectations of the local Safe Place program.

The Relatives serves children ages 7 to 17 in Mecklenburg County. CATS explained that many of the nearly 300 youth that sought shelter there last year were homeless or had no form of transportation when they had to leave their house to seek safety. Every CATS bus and train is a designated Safe Place, along with the Charlotte Transportation Center and the agency’s bus operations facilities. CATS provides service 20 hours a day, making transit accessible and convenient when a child needs to seek assistance.

“The time and effort CATS staff dedicates to the community every day is what makes our partnership with Safe Place and The Relatives so successful,” said Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Flowers. “CATS works directly with The Relatives in making sure any child in need arrives safely to the shelter. Many employees also participate in volunteer activities at The Relatives, furthering CATS’ commitment to the Safe Place program.”

Brennon D. Graham, executive director of The Relatives, added: “The relationship with CATS has been critical to the success of our Safe Place program here in Charlotte."

"Our community is very fortunate to have a transit system so committed to making a difference in the lives of youth in need,” he continued.

 

BART Police Join National Night Out

Members of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Police, including members of the K9 team, distributed crime prevention tools at four BART stations during the evening commute Aug. 3 as part of the 2010 National Night Out observance.

The officers—joined by members of the BART Board of Directors at some locations—answered questions about preventing crime and distributed child fingerprinting kits for parents, key chain whistles, and crime prevention tip passenger bulletins.

The purpose of National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, is to prevent crime and drug use, generate support for local anti-crime programs, and strengthen police-community partnerships.

‘Ride for a Can’ and Feed 3,000



Following the response of its riders to “Ride for a Can Day” on Aug. 5, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) packed one of its buses with 1.9 tons of donated food—enough for almost 3,000 meals—and delivered the contents to the Tarrant Area Food Bank. The annual food drive provides free bus rides to passengers in exchange for cans or boxes of food. T employees also contributed to the collection effort by bringing canned goods to work.

 

Forward-Thinking Transportation Policy to Drive National Prosperity

BY CATHY CALFO, Executive Director, The Apollo Alliance

This article originally appeared on the web site of the Surdna Foundation, founded in 1917 and dedicated to fostering just and sustainable communities in the U.S. Reprinted by permission of the Apollo Alliance.

The oil-slicked beaches, out-of-work fishermen and devastated local economies along the Gulf Coast are a stark reminder of our nation’s costly addiction to oil. While the Gulf States are now experiencing the most disastrous consequences, Americans nationwide bear the costs of this addiction. Each day, we send more than $1 billion overseas to purchase oil, and the clean-up to oil spills like the BP disaster is an added financial burden to the American people.

Meanwhile, working people and their families here at home who live in communities without viable alternatives to cars and traditional fuels are dependent on oil and face the hardship of wildly fluctuating gas prices. This is not sustainable for our economy, and it’s not sustainable for our environment.

As the world recovers from the current recession, and moves to lessen its dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, the manufacture of advanced public transit and freight vehicles that utilize cleaner, more efficient technologies is emerging as a key growth sector in the new global clean energy economy. The goal of putting the United States at the forefront of the low-carbon economy, and assuming leadership in the design and manufacture of new world-class clean transportation systems, is yet another important reason for America to pursue new transportation policies that spur domestic demand for cleaner ways to move people and goods throughout our economy.

Next generation rail vehicles, energy-efficient buses, and clean trucks are all central components of a cleaner transportation system that can, and should, be made in America. To examine what it will take to build a dynamic U.S. industry around the manufacture of transit systems and clean freight movement, the Apollo Alliance has called upon leading transportation manufacturers, labor unions, and transportation, energy and economic development policy experts to join a TMAP task force and give us their best ideas. We also turned to a set of respected research partners from Duke and Northeastern Universities and the Worldwatch Institute to help us document the job creation potential of a large-scale investment in advanced transportation infrastructure.

America’s existing public transit investments already support more than 1.9 million jobs throughout the economy and generate more than $100 billion of economic activity. These investments also generate environmental benefits, saving the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year. Expansion of service and adoption of new technologies can increase these savings even more. Each additional rider on public transit reduces carbon emissions by 4,800 pounds per year, and adoption of hybrid and alternative drive technologies in buses and medium to heavy-duty trucks can reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by 20 to 50 percent.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, in partnership with Surdna grantee Transportation for America, finds that a $500 billion transportation reauthorization (increased from $286 billion in 2006) that aggressively funds expanded public transit and passenger rail services could create 7.1 million jobs throughout the economy, more than 760,000 of which would be in the manufacturing sector. In the freight sector, widespread deployment of advanced medium to heavy-duty trucks could create 124,000 jobs by 2030; and investments to support the manufacture of modern, efficient freight rail cars could support up to 50,000 new jobs.

Currently, the public transit bus, clean truck, passenger and transit rail industries support nearly 50,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs throughout their supply chains. Jobs in these supply chains are spread across all 50 states, among more than 320 existing companies that could scale up to meet expanded demand. Filling the current backlog of public transit capital investment needs alone—estimated at more than $75 billion—would dramatically expand the market for new public transit vehicles, systems and their component parts. Over the next six years, an estimated 27,600 transit buses, 4,000 passenger rail cars and locomotives, and 220 light rail cars will need to be replaced.

Under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), less than 20 percent of total federal transportation spending is invested in public transportation, a trend that has left our nation’s transit systems underdeveloped and in a state of disrepair. Today, almost 30 percent of all transit assets—rail, bus and paratransit—are in poor or marginal condition.

The first step toward the creation of new jobs manufacturing buses, rail cars and other transit vehicles will be to build a stronger domestic market for these vehicles through increased investment.

A $30 billion investment to double current public transit ridership by 2030 would save nearly 5 billion gallons of gas each year—an amount three times greater than our annual oil imports from Kuwait. This level of investment would also support more than 3.5 billion job-years of employment throughout the economy, including more than one million in construction of public transit infrastructure and more than 500,000 in transit-related manufacturing. Adding investment to intercity passenger rail and building a high-speed rail network will create even more economic opportunity.

In 1956, President Eisenhower laid the foundation for decades of American prosperity through a national transportation policy suited to the automobile age. Today, on the cusp of an emerging low-carbon economy, we must again use forward-thinking transportation policy to drive national prosperity.

 

Photo courtesy of United Streetcar
New public transit vehicles can and should be built in the U.S., says the Apollo Alliance.

 



 

People on the Move

Tom Hock
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), operator of Metro in Cincinnati, has announced that Tom Hock, president and chief executive officer of Professional Transit Management LLC (PTM), is acting as interim CEO of Metro. Marilyn Shazor, who was an employee of PTM, is no longer serving in this post.

Hock has 36 years of transit experience; he has worked with Metro for many years and has been responsible for oversight of the agency as a PTM account since last summer.




Steve Clark, Consuelo Saragoza
PORTLAND, OR—The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) welcomed Steve Clark and Consuelo Saragoza to the board of directors, representing the Westside and Southeast Portland respectively.

Clark, who succeeds board President George Passadore on the board, is president of the Portland Tribune newspaper and president and publisher of Community Newspapers, a group of 17 weekly and monthly and community newspapers published in four Oregon counties. He has served on Oregon’s Big Look Task Force, appointed by the governor to recommend changes in the state’s 30-year-old land use system, and was appointed by the governor to chair a committee on transportation governance that helped lead to the transportation package adopted by the 2009 Oregon Legislature.

Saragoza is senior advisor to the Multnomah County Health Department’s Public Health & Community Initiatives and has held director-level positions with the department since 2000. She is a regular transit rider and recently participated in TriMet’s “Low Car Diet” challenge. Saragoza succeeds Sue Van Brocklin, whose term expired July 1.

Bruno Barriero, Kristin Jacobs
POMPANO BEACH, FL—Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro has been elected chair of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) Governing Board, and Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs was elected vice chair.

This is Barreiro’s fourth time serving as chair of the board. First elected to the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners in 1998, he represents District 5 and serves constituents in parts of Miami, Miami Beach, Little Havana, Downtown Miami and South Beach.

Jacobs was first elected to represent District 2 on the Broward County Commission in 1998. She spearheaded the Community Bus Transport Network, which connects neighborhoods to Broward County Transit in more than 20 cities, and was instrumental in obtaining cities’ support through the dedication of gas funds to establish this service.

Michele Johnson
SALT LAKE CITY, UT—The Utah Transit Authority announced the appointment of Michele Johnson to its board of trustees by municipalities within Salt Lake County and the cities of Tooele and Grantsville.

Johnson is associate director of environmental health and safety at the University of Utah, where she oversees the university’s Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Protection Division.

Kenton Rainey
OAKLAND, CA—Kenton Rainey is the new police chief of the 296-member San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District Police Department.

Rainey began his career in law enforcement in 1979 as a deputy in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. He worked for that department for nearly 23 years as a senior deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. In 2002, he became superintendent of patrol operations with the police department of Dayton, OH, then returned to California as second in command of the City of Whittier’s Police Department and later chief of police for the City of Fairfield.



Reginald A. Mason, Paul Rose
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced the appointments of Reginald A. Mason, ASP, WSO-CSSD, as director of safety/chief safety officer and Paul Rose as media relations manager.

Mason came to SFMTA from Houston, where he was associate vice president and chief safety officer for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. He succeeds Carter Rohan, SFMTA director of capital programs and construction, who served in an interim capacity after Jim Dougherty left the agency in April.

Rose served most recently as director of communications for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and earlier held communications-related posts with the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, Speaker Gifford Miller of the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Education, and California Gov. Gray Davis. Kristen Holland, interim media relations manager since the departure of Judson True, will resume her role as assistant media relations manager.

Jim Beil
ORANGE, CA—The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has named Jim Beil, a 22-year transportation veteran from Caltrans, to the new position of executive director of capital programs.

Beil currently serves Caltrans as deputy district director of capital outlay programs.

Daniel Baxter
DENVER, CO—Daniel Baxter, P.E., has joined CH2M HILL as the new practice director for transportation operations. He will be responsible for providing leadership to the firm’s highway operations team, traffic engineers, and growing the company’s capability as an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) provider.

Baxter is an internationally recognized expert in transportation engineering for freeways, tunnels, and toll roads.

Dan Kemper
SCHAUMBURG, IL—Dan Kemper has joined the Public Sector Division of Motor Coach Industries (MCI) as a business development manager.

He comes to MCI from REI following a 10-year career as a regional sales representative with New Flyer of America.






Will Kempton
ORANGE, CA—Will Kempton, chief executive officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), was honored by the American Public Works Association as one of the nation’s top 10 ten public works leaders for 2010.

Kempton, a 35-year veteran in the transportation industry, joined OCTA in 2009. He previously served as director of Caltrans.





Sandra Burgess
ATLANTA, GA—Georgia DOT has named Sandra Burgess, its general counsel, as the new head of its Public Private Partnership (P3) program. Burgess, a 30-year veteran of the department, succeeds Earl Mahfuz, who retired earlier this year.

The department is preparing to receive proposals for three P3 projects with private groups, including design and operations for toll lanes on Interstates 575 and 75 in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

Georgia DOT Deputy Counsel Matthew Cline will assume Burgess’ former post.

Rachel Pereira
NEW YORK, NY—ABC Companies has named Rachel Pereira as ABC Parts Mid-Atlantic territory manager. Her territory will include New York City, Long Island, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Pereira is the daughter of two longtime employees of Liberty Lines Transit in Yonkers, NY. She worked summers during college at that company, helping with Occupational Safety and Health Administration training and data entry in the Maintenance Department.


Dan Mesnick
LITTLE FALLS, NJ—Dan Mesnick has joined Systra Consulting Inc. as chief operating officer.

He has more than 30 years of experience in rail and transit planning, operations and rail simulation, engineering, track design, track condition assessment, and maintenance planning.

Mesnick served MTA New York City Transit as project manager, track and structure department, from 1986 to 1991. From 1992 to 2007, he was the principal and founder of TransTech Management, a rail and transit consulting firm. Since 2007, he has served as director, rail services, for the Louis Berger Group.

Christopher J. Taylor, Joseph Atwood
NEW YORK, NY—Christopher J. Taylor, P.E., has joined AECOM as U.S. deputy director for the high-speed rail practice of its transportation business.

Taylor brings to AECOM experience as a senior manager in two nationally recognized engineering firms. He also has also served in all forms of public-private partnerships and program management in transit, bridge, port, and aviation projects.

Also, AECOM announced the appointment of Joseph Atwood, P.E., as project director in its U.S. Southwest and Mountain Transportation practice. He will be based in Fort Worth, TX.

Atwood comes to the firm after more than 26 years with Texas DOT, where he managed in-house production of the agency’s reconstruction projects.