Passenger Transport - July 29, 2011
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Michael P. Melaniphy Named Next APTA President

Michael P. Melaniphy has been selected as the next President and Chief Executive Officer of APTA. In a unanimous vote on July 26, the APTA Board of Directors selected Melaniphy, Vice President Public Sector for Motor Coach Industries, to lead the association. He has spent his entire professional career in public transportation, beginning as a bus driver while a student at Indiana University.

A very active APTA member and an industry leader with 23 years of public and private sector experience, Melaniphy was also unanimously recommended by the Presidential Selection Task Force, which conducted an extensive, wide-ranging search for the best candidate to replace William Millar, who is retiring Oct. 31 after 15 years as APTA President.

The task force, comprising 12 APTA members that included APTA Vice Chair Gary Thomas, president/executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, as chair, recommended Melaniphy to become APTA’s next president “because we believe he is uniquely qualified to take our association to the next level,” Thomas said.

“Michael Melaniphy is an outstanding choice to lead our association forward in this critical time,” said APTA Chair Michael J. Scanlon, general manager/chief executive officer of the San Mateo County Transit District in San Carlos, CA. “He is eminently qualified and brings broad-based experience in both the public and private sectors. I am very pleased that we have found in Michael a leader who not only loves our industry and has dedicated his career to improving it, but also has the vision and leadership skills to move our industry forward.”

“Michael’s extensive experience, his advocacy skills, strong management and business skills, and his dedication to and passion for public transportation are a perfect match for the attributes the APTA Board of Directors determined necessary for APTA’s next president,” said Thomas. 

Millar said: “I have known and worked with Michael for many years and he is a superb choice to lead APTA. Also, I am delighted to have a Leadership APTA graduate succeed me. Michael will be an inspiring leader for our association and the excellent APTA staff.”

“I am thrilled to be selected as APTA’s next president,” Melaniphy said. “I pledge to do my absolute best to serve all our members and ensure that our association is laser-focused on strengthening and improving public transportation. I am honored to be named Bill Millar’s successor. His leadership has brought our industry unprecedented success and I will build on his legacy to take our association to the next level of accomplishments and influence.”

Melaniphy, who serves on the APTA Board of Directors, has long been an active APTA member. He is first vice chair of the Business Member Board of Governors and chairs the APTA International EXPO Committee and Awards Committee. He is a graduate of Leadership APTA and has served as a member of the APTA Nominating Committee and on such critical APTA task forces as Framework for the Future, Governance, and Reauthorization.

Prior to his current position, Melaniphy worked at First Group and its predecessor companies, serving as general manager for public transit systems in Charlotte, NC; Wichita, KS; and Hamilton, OH; and as assistant general manager in Laredo, TX. In addition to studying under the legendary transportation Professor George Smerk at Indiana University, he served as a bus driver for basketball coach Bobby Knight’s players.

The selection process began with Scanlon’s appointment of Thomas and the 11 other APTA members to the task force at a meeting of the Board of Directors on Jan. 7, 2011. The task force worked on a schedule and process designed and vetted by the APTA Board of Directors.

Once appointed, the task force competitively selected APTA member Krauthamer & Associates to serve as its executive search firm. It also began to define the qualities most important in the next APTA president by reaching out to transit CEOs, transit board members, business members and APTA committees, and finalizing that list after obtaining guidance from the APTA Board of Directors in March. The task force then crafted a job description grounded in those qualities and began the recruitment process.

Melaniphy was selected from among a large, diverse candidate pool that included 180 candidates. The task force narrowed the field over the course of a three-round review process that included several hours of interviews, review of written submissions, and vigorous background investigations on the finalists.

Thomas summed up the work of the task force: “There were several extremely well qualified candidates and the final decision was a difficult one. It was very gratifying to have so many qualified candidates with such dedication and passion for our industry and association. As a task force, we are confident that we have selected the very best candidate to lead our association.”

“I want to thank the task force members for their hard work and dedication,” Scanlon added, “and congratulate them on their outstanding choice.”

Melaniphy begins serving as APTA’s president on Nov. 1. He will join APTA prior to that to work with Millar until his retirement to ensure a smooth transition.



Photos by Ron Wyatt

Michael Melaniphy, center, with APTA Chair Michael J. Scanlon, right, and APTA Vice Chair Gary Thomas. 

William Millar, right, who will retire as APTA president on Oct. 31, shakes hands with his successor, Michael Melaniphy.


Michael Melaniphy, seated left, the next president and chief executive officer of APTA, joins Gary Thomas, seated right, chair of the Presidential Selection Task Force. Task force members in attendance at the Board of Directors meeting, standing, from left: Angela Iannuzziello, Greg Evans, Jerome Premo, Sharon Greene, Peter Varga, Flora Castillo, and David Armijo. Task force members who participated virtually were Mattie “M.P.” Carter, Arthur Leahy, Diana Jones Ritter, and Phillip Washington.

Presidential Selection Task Force Members
Chair: Gary C. Thomas, president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and vice chair, APTA
David J. Armijo, principal, Armijo & Associates, Tampa, FL
Mattie "M.P." Carter, commissioner, Memphis Area Transit Authority, and immediate past chair, APTA
Flora M. Castillo, CHIE, board member, New Jersey Transit Corporation
Greg Evans, M.Ed., vice president, Lane Transit District Board of Directors, Eugene, OR
Sharon Greene, principal, Sharon Greene and Associates, Laguna Beach, CA
Angela Iannuzziello, P.Eng., F.E.C., vice president, transit and transportation planning, GENIVAR, Toronto, ON
Arthur T. Leahy, chief executive officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Jerome C. Premo, global transit director/executive vice president, AECOM, Los Angeles, CA
Diana Jones Ritter, managing director, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York
Peter Varga, chief executive officer, Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI
Phillip A. Washington, general manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver

Nominating Committee Announces 2011-2012 Slate; Thomas, Castillo, Ford Selected

At its July 15 meeting in Chicago, APTA’s 2011 Nominating Committee nominated the current vice chair—Gary C. Thomas, president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit—as APTA chair for 2011-2012, and Flora Castillo, a board member for New Jersey Transit Corporation, as vice chair. Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., principal of the Ford Management Group, remains secretary-treasurer for another year. APTA Immediate Past Chair M.P. Carter, commissioner with the Memphis Area Transit Authority, chaired the nominating committee.

Nominated as members-at-large of the APTA Executive Committee were Ronald L. Epstein, chief financial officer, New York State DOT; Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach, FL; Crystal Lyons, board chairman, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Corpus Christi, TX; Reginald A. Mason, director of safety and training/chief safety officer, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; and Gary McNeil, president, GO Transit/Metrolinx in Toronto.

Transit agency representatives nominated as members-at-large of the APTA Board of Directors are Thomas J. Costello, assistant managing director, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, Urbana, IL; Bradford J. Miller, chief executive officer, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL; Hugh A. Mose, general manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority, State College, PA; Trevor Ocock, vice president and chief operating officer, Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo), Indianapolis, IN; Allan Pollock, general manager/chief executive officer, Salem-Keizer Transit, Salem, OR; and Peter J. Varga, chief executive officer, Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI.

Board member nominees representing APTA business members are Richard M. Amodei, senior vice president/chief strategic growth officer, STV Incorporated; Christopher P. Boylan, director, governmental and strategic partnerships, for the General Contractors Association of New York; Peter Gertler, senior vice president/high speed rail services chair, HNTB Corporation; and Arun Prem, executive director, Full Access and Coordinated Transportation Inc.

APTA members will select officers and board members Sept. 21 during the association’s first virtual Annual Business Meeting and Election. This will allow the board to get right to work at the 2011 Annual Meeting and EXPO, with a Saturday morning orientation for new board members followed by a working session of the full board beginning at noon.

ASCE: Deteriorating Transportation Infrastructure Could Cost U.S. $3.1 Trillion

The deteriorating state of U.S. surface transportation infrastructure was responsible for $130 billion in household and business losses in 2010 and—if the decline continues through a lack of investment—will cost the nation more than 870,000 jobs and suppress growth of the Gross Domestic Product by $3.1 billion by 2020.

Those are the primary findings of Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure, a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The report was produced by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston.

“Clearly, failing to invest in our roads, bridges, and transit systems has a dramatic negative impact on America’s economy,” said ASCE President Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE. “The link between a nation’s infrastructure and its economic competitiveness has always been understood. But today, for the first time, we have data showing how much failing to invest in our surface transportation system can negatively impact job growth and family budgets. This report is a wakeup call for policymakers because it shows that investing in infrastructure contributes to creating jobs, while failing to do so hurts Main Street America.”

The report shows that an absence of surface transportation infrastructure investment within 10 years would lead to an added $430 billion in transportation costs to U.S. businesses; a slide in household incomes of more than $7,000; and a $28 billion decline in U.S. exports. The U.S. would lose almost 877,000 jobs, primarily in the professional, business, and medical sectors, and those persons employed would receive a cut of almost 30 percent in their paychecks.

According to ASCE, policymakers would need to invest approximately $1.7 trillion between now and 2020 in the nation’s public transit and highway systems to bring the infrastructure up to tolerable levels. The U.S. is currently on track to spend $877 billion during that period.

The text of the report is available online.

Cincinnati Metro Breaks Ground for Transit Center

Metro in Cincinnati broke ground July 18 for its new Glenway Crossing Transit Center and Park-and-Ride in Western Hills. When the transit center is completed this fall, it will serve as the major connection and transfer point for several west side bus routes.

The Glenway Crossing facility will offer four bus boarding areas, passenger shelters, approximately 70 park-and-ride spaces, and other improvements such as new sidewalks, landscaping, and signage.

“The beauty of the new transit center is that it will bring together west side service and allow safe, easy transfers among several Metro routes,” said Terry Garcia Crews, Metro chief executive officer and general manager. She noted that the station will serve two express services: the current Delhi Express to downtown and the Glenway Crossing-Uptown Express, which will enter service in August. “The Glenway Crossing-Uptown Express will be Metro's first express service to the University of Cincinnati, the hospital district, and thousands of jobs in Uptown,” she added.

The project received federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Surface Transportation Project, and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality funds made available through Ohio DOT and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments and matched by local funds.

Survey: Transportation Alternatives Important

Three quarters of respondents to a federal survey cited the importance of reliable local bus, rail, or ferry transportation accessible without driving, according to a study released by DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

The report, Public Perceptions on Transportation Characteristics of Livable Communities, presents the findings of the 2009 BTS Omnibus Household Survey, asking participants the importance of different transportation features for their communities. While the survey results show major roads or highways as the most important of eight characteristics, supported by 94 percent of respondents, more than two-thirds of respondents gave their support to reliable long-distance bus or rail transportation, bike lanes, and local transit. BTS surveyed about 1,000 households for this report, split fairly evenly among urban, suburban, and rural residents.
 “The importance placed on the various transportation characteristics by community type seems to reflect what residents of those communities perceive are needed, but that may not be available,” the report states. For example, rural and suburban residents expressed a greater interest than urban residents in amenities that may already exist in urban areas, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, local transit, and long-distance transportation.
 More information is available here.

Walder Departs NYMTA; Joins Hong Kong’s MTR

Jay H. Walder, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) since 2009, announced his plans to resign effective Oct. 21. On Jan. 1, 2012, he will become chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong.

“The MTA’s transportation system is the foundation of the metropolitan region,” Walder said, “and we are fortunate to have thousands of dedicated men and women who work so hard to provide these critically important transportation services to millions of people each and every day. I believe that we have accomplished quite a lot in a short period, with the support of two governors, the mayor, a hard-working board, and many others.”
 During his tenure with MTA, Walder led an overhaul of the agency’s operations. Under the banner of “Making Every Dollar Count,” he introduced efficiency measures that streamlined the authority’s seven companies and consolidated functions; simultaneously he implemented a customer service agenda that included new fare technology, the introduction of Select Bus Service, and the launch of real-time bus information.
 The MTR operates commuter rail in Hong Kong and intercity rail services from Hong Kong to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong in China.


SFMTA Names Reiskin Director of Transportation

The Board of Directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the city including the Municipal Railway (Muni), has selected Edward D. Reiskin as its new director of transportation, effective Aug. 15. He succeeds Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.

Reiskin has more than 20 years of experience in the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Since 2008, he has headed the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, which has responsibilities ranging from engineering, construction management, and project delivery to graffiti removal, street cleaning, and public engagement programs.

Earlier, he was the first director of the city’s 311 Customer Service Center and served as interim city administrator and deputy mayor for the Government of the District of Columbia.

“Ed is a talented leader and a skilled manager who has extensive experience balancing budgets, finding efficiencies, and making strategic capital investments,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board. “He also has earned a reputation as a careful steward of San Francisco’s tax dollars, so he will be extremely valuable as we evaluate the ways we can perform our core functions to deliver the best value for our customers and taxpayers.”

King Appointed Director of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus

Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus has announced the appointment of Edward F. King as its new director. He will succeed Stephanie Negriff, who is retiring in October.

King will join the Santa Monica system from the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, where he is currently executive director. He has also been affiliated with Valley Metro in Phoenix; Long Beach Transit in Long Beach, CA; Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in St. Petersburg, FL; Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, FL; and North Suburban Mass Transit District in Des Plaines, IL.

“Ed King is an exceptional manager with a proven track record in operations management and transportation planning for several large organizations,” said Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould. “He brings in-depth experience ranging from transit system improvements focusing on service quality and reliability to strategic transit service planning. He is known for strong management, staff development, and budgeting skills.”

Negriff worked in public transportation for 25 years, rising through the ranks at Big Blue Bus before becoming its director in 2002. She was first appointed to Santa Monica city service in 1986 and served in various capacities, including assistant director for operations, manager of transit development, and intergovernmental relations and senior administrative analyst.

Report: Transportation Access Is a Civil Right

Access to public transportation is a civil rights issue, according to Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity, a new report from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—a coalition of more than 200 national organizations that works to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the U.S.

“The next investment in transportation will have a profound impact on every American,” the report states, referring to the federal surface transportation authorization bill. “Our transportation policy has the potential to expand economic opportunity for low-income Americans and underrepresented workers by connecting them to highway, transit, and rail construction jobs. Transportation spending generates jobs for workers in the construction industry…”.

For example, the report cites Sierra Club statistics stating that U.S. residents in the lowest 20 percent income bracket, many in rural settings, spend about 42 percent of their total annual incomes on transportation, compared to 22 percent among middle-income Americans. In addition, according to U.S. Census data, racial minorities are four times more likely than white people to rely on public transportation for their work commute.

The conference defines “transportation equity” as a transportation system that works for all Americans: “The promise of our civil rights laws to open doors to opportunity rings hollow for people who are physically isolated from jobs, schools, good housing, stores that sell healthy food, and health care providers. As we consider how to rebuild and rethink our transportation policies, we must make decisions with civil and human rights considerations in mind.”

The text of the report is available online.

DOT Offers $15 Million in Tribal Transit Grants

DOT announced the availability of $15 million in federal funding that will enable rural American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments to invest in public transportation options to provide convenient access to employment centers and promote new economic development on tribal lands.

The grant money will come from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Tribal Transit Program, which provides grants to Indian tribes for capital transportation projects and operating expenses to meet the growing public transit needs of rural tribal communities. Those eligible to compete include federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities, as identified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior.

“The Obama administration is committed to improving tribal transportation resources,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These dollars will do that and more by creating jobs and stimulating development of new tribal-owned businesses.”

“Public transportation gives those who live on tribal lands better access to jobs and health care, and provides an incentive for much-needed economic development,” said FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff. “Affordable transit choice in our most rural communities helps families live healthier lives and keeps more of their paychecks in their pockets rather than spending them at the gas pump.”

Federal tribal transit grants have enabled dozens of tribal communities and transit providers to purchase, modernize, and expand bus fleets; increase service for seniors and people with disabilities; and launch new bus, van, and commuter service in rural communities that had never been served by public transit before.

A notice appeared July 25, 2011 in the Federal Register that included application procedures; criteria that FTA will use to select projects; and grant terms, conditions and reporting requirements. The deadline to submit project proposals is Sept. 26, 2011.

Interested tribal groups are encouraged to contact the nearest FTA Regional Office for additional information on the Tribal Transit Program. A list of FTA regional offices may be found here.

Western High Speed Rail Alliance to Meet in Las Vegas

Public transportation and municipal leaders from across the nation and the world will gather Nov. 2-4 at Bellagio in Las Vegas for the second annual conference of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA), the only U.S. group working to establish an integrated network of high-speed passenger and freight rail in the Intermountain West.

Formed in 2009 by regional metropolitan transportation and planning organizations in four growing Western states, the WHSRA seeks to develop and promote a high-speed rail network connecting the cities of Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Reno. That network would eventually connect with other proposed high-speed rail lines as part of a national high-speed passenger and freight rail system.

“Our alliance is unique in that our approach to rail planning and development comes with a focus on metropolitan planning and connecting the urban west,” said WHSRA Chairman John M. Inglish, chief executive officer of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City. “The goal of the WHSRA is to advance passenger rail planning and development not just in our region, but as part of a national high-speed rail system.”

Since its formation, the WHSRA has partnered extensively with federal railroad officials and DOT. Working with state officials in Nevada, the alliance helped secure an initial planning grant from the federal government for the high-demand travel triangle among Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

The WHSRA hosted nearly 200 transportation and government leaders, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and APTA President William Millar, at its first conference in October 2010.

This year’s conference, titled “The Rail Ahead: Winning the Future,” will bring together rail advocates, government leaders, and transportation experts from the western region, additional parts of the U.S., and other nations across the globe. The WHSRA also plans to honor Millar, who is retiring from APTA in October, for his years of outstanding service.

“The West is a critical region for the success of high-speed rail development, with an average growth of over 85 percent over the next 25 years,” Inglish said. “We believe that high-speed rail is vital to our economic viability, enabling us to compete better in the global marketplace.”

The founding members of the WHSRA include the Denver Regional Council of Governments; the Maricopa Association of Governments in Phoenix; the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas; the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County in Reno; and UTA.

More information about the conference, including registration, is available online. Register before Aug. 31 to receive $100 off the general admission price of $895.

BRAC Developing Public Transportation Options; DOD, VA, DC, and MD—Focused and Working Together

BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a study that examined BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) decisions made in 2005 to move personnel from bases slated for closure to new ones, and found that public transportation should be given much more serious consideration.

As the deadline looms for the latest BRAC moves in the Washington, DC, area, partners involved in three relocations—Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD; the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) headquarters to Fort George G. Meade in Maryland; and Washington Headquarters Service and several other Department of Defense (DOD) agencies to the Mark Center in Alexandria, VA—are working aggressively to provide alternative means of transportation.
Naval Medical Center
The addition of 2,500 personnel to the National Naval Medical Center, not counting visitors, when the current construction is finished in Bethesda, MD, will mean a net decrease in parking spaces. For that reason, the facility is working with Montgomery County and the state to explore transportation options besides driving.

For example, working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is just across Rockville Pike—the highway that separates the two campuses—the Navy is contracting with a commercial bus commuter service that will bring in people from other parts of Maryland such as Columbia, Annapolis, Bowie, and Laurel.

Montgomery County and the state have also coordinated with the Navy. NIH has a bike club of 700 members, which, as Phil Alperson, the county’s BRAC coordinator, noted, is “700 cars not on the road.”

The county is building new bike paths next to the road that will connect to an existing network and the Navy is encouraging its own bike club. “If we can make that bike system more accessible,” he said, “you get hundreds more cars off the road.”

Alperson continued: “What we’re doing—‘we’ being the county, the state, and the Navy—is encouraging personnel to use alternative forms of transportation, certainly Metrorail and bus and [Montgomery County] Ride On—as well as car and vanpool.”

The county is applying for a portion of the $300 million in federal funds designated for transportation infrastructure projects at BRAC-impacted military medical facilities. “I am very, very confident that we will submit a very strong application and we will receive funding,” Alperson said, stressing the focused support of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

Currently, about 3,000 people cross Rockville Pike to get to the naval hospital. Not all of those individuals come from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Medical Center Station at NIH: 20-25 percent of them are from buses, Ride On, carpools, bicycles, or just walking. When BRAC is completed, that number will increase to about 7,000.

So Alperson described a two-component project that will address the problem of how to get thousands of workers safely across the major thoroughfare each morning and afternoon.

One project is building a bank of high-speed elevators on the Navy side of the street that go all the way down to the Metrorail platform. The other is a shallow pedestrian tunnel. It can’t be an over-the-road walkway, he noted, because of security concerns about the proximity of the Navy’s helipad. “With those elevators and the tunnel, we should be able to make it easy, safe, and quicker for those pedestrians to get across the street,” he said.

All these efforts are focused on ensuring access to the medical center—for the wounded warriors, family visitors, and medical personnel. “We’re not trying to turn Rockville Pike into a freeway,” said Alperson, “we’re just trying to prevent untenable gridlock.”

His final words? “This is iconic Walter Reed. That’s all I need to say!”

Mark Center
In Alexandria, WMATA will implement a new Metrobus route, 7M, to run between the Pentagon and Mark Center and will enhance several other routes in anticipation of the relocation of 6,000 personnel from nearby Crystal City in Arlington.

“In an effort to improve transit service to this portion of Northern Virginia, we have developed a service plan that will provide reliable, frequent bus service for relocated workers,” said Jack Requa, WMATA’s assistant general manager for Metrobus.

As an added incentive, DOD employees can ride for free on select Metrobus routes in these areas simply by showing their Mark Center ID card. The program is funded by DOD and the city of Alexandria.

Fort Meade
With more than 5,800 employees from DISA headquarters in the Pentagon in Virginia soon relocating to Fort Meade, DOD is promoting transportation alternatives for the commute. For example, the Maryland Transit Administration operates about 25 MARC commuter trains on the Penn Line each weekday that stop at nearby Odenton Station.

For commuters living near Virginia Railway Express (VRE) stations, MARC has a cross honor agreement with VRE that provides riders on inbound VRE trains with a free transfer to outbound MARC trains. Also, several organizations on Fort Meade offer shuttle service from the station to their facilities, which are about two to five miles away.

DISA, in partnership with MeadeRide—a one-stop resource connecting commuters to Fort Meade with information about transportation choices, including matching those who want to “share getting there”—is arranging for subscription coaches to transport employees from high-demand areas directly to Fort Meade. In addition, local public transportation providers such as Maryland’s MTA are offering new routes to serve employees there.

Further, on its website, DISA explains how individuals can apply for federal commute benefits that may be applied to public transportation— including WMATA’s Metrorail, VRE, MARC, and more than 100 area buses—as well as subscription bus service and vanpools.

In June, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, chairman of the Governor’s BRAC Subcabinet, announced new funding, partnerships, and initiatives to support BRAC jobs coming to Fort Meade, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with all public, private, and governmental parties to develop a Transportation Demand Management Plan for that base.

“Because of the strong partnerships we have forged with the private sector, local government, and the Department of Defense, Maryland is BRAC-ready,” Brown said. “By providing Marylanders with viable alternatives to driving while upgrading the road network, we are making great strides to achieving a balanced approach to prepare for BRAC growth in Anne Arundel County and across the state.”

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman added: “This partnership allows us to pool our resources and develop a solution to what is undeniably one of BRAC’s biggest challenges—the creation of a sustainable transportation plan.”

Federal, state, and local officials signed the MOU to develop a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management Plan to ensure adequate transportation infrastructure around the installation. The plan intends to reduce congestion by using a number of initiatives that encourage new and incumbent Fort Meade employees to consider alternative transportation options, including transit as well as ridesharing and telecommuting.

“This MOU represents the region’s commitment to work together, on all levels, to tackle the multiple transportation needs that are involved with BRAC and other mission growth,” said Fort Meade Installation Commander Col. Daniel L. Thomas. “It is this type of commitment between the state, Fort Meade, our partner units, and the business community that allows Fort Meade to support its war fighters, their families, and civilian workforce so we can remain the nation's preeminent center for information and intelligence.”

Lt. Gen. Carroll F. Pollett, DISA director, said: “We are committed to staying actively engaged with all of our Fort Meade and Maryland partners to develop both short- and long-term transportation solutions.”

All these measures will not be the silver bullet to avoiding traffic gridlock, but DOD’s beginning recognition of the importance of public transit in providing alternatives to driving to all these relocated employees is a valued step forward.


Photo by Larry Levine, WMATA

Passengers board bus at Pentagon Bus Transit Center, site of the new 7M BRAC-related Metrobus route. 

DOT Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative Funding Available

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on July 28 the availability of $30 million for a new Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative that will soon make it easier for servicemen and women, their families, veterans and people with disabilities to access transportation services in their communities.

“This new initiative,” said LaHood, “will help ensure that getting a ride to work, daycare or to a medical appointment is no longer an obstacle.”   

The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative will award competitive capital assistance grants to local transportation providers and other groups around the country so they may better coordinate and deliver important information through “one-call” or “one click” centers—which will provide comprehensive responses from just one place.

“Military families and veterans must be able to take full advantage of the transportation resources in their communities,” said Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. “Every service member who returns home or relocates to a new community should have a reliable ride to earn a reliable paycheck.”

Also contributing money and support is the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Transportation and Community Living Initiative and the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

For complete information, click here.

Photo by Larry Levine, WMATA
Passengers board bus at Pentagon Bus Transit Center, site of the new 7M BRAC-related Metrobus route.



APTA’s 2011 Annual Meeting: Too Good to Miss

The 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans—the largest public transportation-related event in the world—will unite the public transit community and give industry professionals an unparalleled opportunity to enhance their knowledge and exchange information on best practices, research, and new trends in the field.

With the Annual Meeting theme, “Public Transportation Takes Us There,” attendees can expect a program created with APTA members and industry leaders in mind.

The meeting provides more educational offerings in public transportation than any other APTA event.

Here are a few highlights from the meeting schedule.

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA)/Veolia will share its experiences since Hurricane Katrina at this year’s Host Forum, “The Robust Recovery Underway in New Orleans.”

NORTA employees will describe the innovative strategies and techniques that have helped improve mobility, ridership, and operations in the aftermath of the devastating 2005 hurricane and support the economic engine of the city and the mayor’s renewal plans.

The Oct. 5 Closing General Session, “Transit Generates Economic Renewal in New Orleans,” will report on how NORTA’s Streetcar Expansion Program drives more than $1.5 billion in new mixed-use development while the agency’s new bus fleet and revised routes are helping improve residents’ quality of life.

Speakers at other General Sessions and forums will address the industry’s challenges and opportunities while proposing strategies that will help transit systems promote economic growth and competitiveness, foster cultural and technological innovation, and plan for the future despite tough current situations.

All Annual Meeting registrants are invited to the 2011 Annual APTA Awards Breakfast—8:15 a.m. Oct. 4—to honor APTA's Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, Business Member, and Board Member award winners; APTA’s Local Distinguished Service Award; Innovation Award; Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Awards; and the newest members of the Hall of Fame.

The 16th Annual APTA/WTS Speaker Breakfast will focus this year on workforce development, a priority for the sponsoring organizations and the transportation industry as a whole.

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) will recognize the recipients of its 2011 Scholarship Awards at ceremonies Oct. 3. “Moving Forward with New Leaders of the Next Generation” is the theme of the event, which will also include information on APTF’s plans for recruiting and mentoring new transportation leaders.

The Leadership APTA Class of 2011 will hold its graduation ceremony Oct. 4. The program will include highlights of the class project presentations.

From cutting-edge educational sessions to networking activities and dynamic keynote speakers, the APTA Annual Meeting is one you can't afford to miss!

To register or for more information, click here.

Preliminary Program At-a-Glance

Friday, September 30
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: APTA’s Community Service Project—St. Bernard Parish

Saturday, October 1
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Annual Meeting Registration
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Committee Meetings
6:30 – 10 p.m.: Retirement Tribute and Dinner in honor of APTA President  William Millar (tickets required) 

Sunday, October 2
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Annual Meeting Registration 
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Committee Meetings
3:30 – 5 p.m.: This is APTA—Got a Membership—So Now What?
6 – 8 p.m.: Welcoming Reception 

Monday, October 3
7 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Annual Meeting Registration 
8:30 a.m. – 1: 30 p.m.:  APTA Bus Technical Maintenance & Procurement Workshop 
8 – 10:30 a.m.: Opening General Session and EXPO 2011 Grand Opening  Ceremonies 
10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.:  EXPO 2011 Opens
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.:   Host Forum: The Robust Recovery Underway in New Orleans
1 – 4 p.m.: Transit Technology and International Showcase Presentations on  EXPO Floor
3 – 4 p.m. :  AdWheel Awards Presentation 
3 – 4:30 p.m.: Concurrent Educational Sessions
5 – 6:30 p.m.:  APTF Awards 

Tuesday, October 4
7 a.m. – 5 p.m.:   Annual Meeting Registration 
8:30 a.m. – 1: 30 p.m.:  APTA Bus Technical Maintenance & Procurement Workshop 
8:15 – 10:30 a.m.:   Awards Breakfast (Tickets required)
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.:  EXPO 2011 Open
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Transit Technology and International Showcase Presentations on  EXPO Floor
2 – 3:30 p.m.: Leadership APTA Graduation Ceremony (tickets required) 
2 – 3:45 p.m.: Concurrent Educational Sessions 
2 – 4 p.m.: Transit Technology and International Showcase Presentations on  EXPO Floor
4 – 5 p.m.:  General Session  
4:30 – 6 p.m.:  Business-to-Business Event on EXPO Floor 
5 – 6 p.m.:  Leadership APTA Reception 
6 – 7 p.m.:  APTA/COMTO DBE Reception 
Wednesday, October 5
7 a.m. – 3 p.m.:   Annual Meeting Registration 
7:30 – 9 a.m.:  APTA/WTS Speaker Breakfast (tickets required)
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: APTA Bus Technical Maintenance & Procurement Workshop 
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.:  EXPO 2011 Open
9:45 – 11:15 a.m.: Concurrent Educational Sessions 
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.:   Transit Technology and International Showcase Presentations on  EXPO Floor
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Closing General Session: Transit Generates Economic Renewals in  New Orleans
1:30 – 5 p.m.:  FTA New Starts Workshop 
2 – 4 p.m.: Technical Tours provided by New Orleans Regional Transit  Authority

Thursday, October 6
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: APTA’s Community Service Project—St. Bernard Parish

Concurrent Educational Sessions on Annual Meeting Schedule

APTA will offer a wide variety of concurrent educational sessions during the 2011 Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans. What follows is a preliminary overview of the learning opportunities being provided for public transportation professionals.

Recasting the Business Case for Transit. Public transit agency representatives and other key stakeholders and advocates will describe how they are reframing the case for return on investment in public transportation.

Executive Suite: Ensuring Leadership Continuity by Building Future Talent. This interactive executive roundtable session focuses on the vision, strategies, and programs from top-level and rising transit executives and programs representing North America and Europe, leading to the creation of structured programs that identify and develop pathways and options for future leaders.

From Acceptable to Accessible: Serving the Public Transportation Needs of Older Adults and People with Disabilities. Demand is growing for the independence and mobility provided by public transportation—but financial resources are tight and agencies must do more with what’s available. This session will discuss key issues and exchange best practices for delivering services that may exceed legal requirements as well as passenger expectations.

The Billion-Dollar Question: How to Develop Sustainable, Secure Funding Sources for High-Speed Rail (HSR). Experts debate the federal funding role for HSR in the future. On the one hand, conventional mechanisms such as federal taxes and a reallocation of existing funds could provide the needed revenue; on the other, the federal government night take a back seat and let local, state, and private sources provide most funding for HSR.

Cyber Security—Should Transit Care? Cyber security has received much media attention recently as more and more organizations have fallen victim to hackers and those who want to do harm to public transportation systems. This session will present the facts about risk exposure and how APTA’s Cyber Security Standards initiatives can help transit personnel mitigate risks.

When Disaster Hits—How Do We Manage, How Can We Carry On? Is your transit system ready to handle a major emergency? Are you confident in your level of preparedness to handle a catastrophe? Be sure to attend this session so you can become better prepared!

Technology Planning for Vital Operational Systems. Public transit agencies are using increasingly complex technologies that provide more and more features to their riders. These systems have different failure mechanisms, require new engineering methods, and demand updated talents from maintenance staff. This session shows how different organizations are integrating technology into their vital/operational system lifecycle planning to achieve not only greater safety but also greater operational reliability.

Pursuit of Quality Service and a Quality Transit Agency. How can a public transit system maintain quality service when budgets are under stress? Join us for this timely session to learn quality concepts that organizations can use!

Customer Service Implications of Transit Wi-Fi and Other National Broadband Initiatives. Wi-Fi is one of the top customer requested transit service amenities, and those projects are generally handled by marketing rather than technology personnel. This session will advise marketing and customer service professionals on how transit agencies have accomplished these projects without getting bogged down in technical terminology.

Where Does the Money Come From? As fuel prices rise and government and industry at all levels struggle in the current economic climate, many public transit properties see their ridership grow but remain in a survival mode for their operation. Now is the time for innovative thinking to maximize existing revenue and develop new revenue sources.

From Town Hall to Twitter: A New Era for Customer Communications. Transit agency chief executives can play an effective role in communicating to the customer as well as obtaining and responding to feedback. For example, how do they interact with their communities? What forums, forms, and frequency are proving most effective? What does being responsive involve, and how can public transit agencies make the most of (good) ideas they receive?

The American Streetcar: Emerging Starter Lines and Proven Systems. The number of U.S. streetcar and urban circulator projects in planning and design is the highest in years. For the first time ever, the federal government is playing a significant role in the funding of local streetcar investments. This session brings together representatives from several existing systems to share "lessons learned" on successful streetcar implementation and operation.

Procurement Perspectives: Public and Private Sector Issues in Contracting Out. Contracting out transit services involves a wide range of important issues and this session will focus on some of the key ones related to the industry’s procurement practices. Public and private sector speakers will consider subjects such as risk allocation, bonding, low bid vs. best value, and unrealistic bids, all in the context of a transit services procurement. These presentations will show the benefits of increased partnership efforts.

Educational Opportunities Available on the EXPO Floor; Exhibitors to Present on Topics of Technical and Operations Interest

All EXPO 2011 attendees can experience quality educational sessions without leaving the show floor! These educational sessions, presented by exhibitors, will cover topics related to public transportation technical, management, and operations issues.

Here’s a preliminary list of Transit Technology Showcases:

Real-Time Passenger Information in the Greater Iowa City Area: Bongo. Bongo is a regional, real-time passenger information system that serves the public transit agencies in Iowa City and Coralville, IA, and the University of Iowa.

The Foothill Transit Electric Bus Development Story. This session follows the electric bus development process at Foothill Transit in West Covina, CA, from dream to grant to construction to revenue service.

Induction Coils: Satisfying ADA Requirements for the Hearing Impaired. As transit systems deal with the needs of passengers with disabilities, often the hearing impaired do not receive as much attention as those with more visible disabilities. The installation of Induction Coils on train platforms, cars, and ticketing areas can help hearing-impaired riders by supplementing their hearing aid “T” coils.

How Integrated Payment and Information Systems Can Be the Key to Solving Tomorrow’s Urban Gridlock. Today’s smart-enabled public transit payment systems can be leveraged for macro integration among all public and private modes in a city or region—including bus, rail, ferry, tolling, bicycles, taxis, and private vehicles—to be part of the solution for better transport and urban planning.

Safety Beyond Regulations: Key Learning from High-Risk Operators. Learn fundamental issues related to transit organizations that manage operations with high exposure to serious accidents. This session will focus on methodologies for addressing the challenges and reducing potential for high-severity events.

Low Maintenance Capacitor-Based LED Emergency Lighting Systems. This session offers an overview of the advancement in both LED and Capacitive Storage technology, leading to lower power consumption, long service life, and reduced maintenance compared to conventional incandescent/fluorescent and battery technologies.

New Technology Resilient Wheels for Light Rail Vehicles. The session will explore and compare the European design alternative to the Bochum Wheel and will showcase ride characteristics and costly tooling investments.

Integrated Fare Management. Integrated Fare Management is a next-generation solution for automatic fare collection and management to enable a single payment across multiple transportation modes. It can result in lower capital and operating costs for transport providers, an enhanced customer experience for riders, and simplicity and interoperability across the entire value chain. 

Improve Your Bottom Line with Behavior-Based Fuel Management Solutions. Because fuel is one of the largest fleet operating costs, agencies need new and innovative fuel management tools to help improve efficiency and fleet performance at a time when costs continue to rise.

Optimizing Transit’s Effectiveness in Lean Budget Times. Using various real-world examples, participants will explore a comprehensive plan of strategies and analytical techniques that can be employed to improve service reliability, reduce travel time, improve the customer experience, and improve service effectiveness and efficiency.

Moving Beyond Mobile CCTV with Advanced Security Applications. Deploying mobile surveillance systems on fleet vehicles allows transit agencies to play a vital role in protecting our communities. Today’s challenge is how to adapt to additional security technologies and integrate these systems with platforms that enable proactive monitoring, rapid incident response, and better decision-making based on real-time information.

New Ways of Providing Customers with Real-Time Information. Real-time traveler information requires accurate schedules and vehicle location information. In the past, this information could be provided only as an extension of CAD/AVL systems. Today it can be provided as an add-on to systems even if no real-time vehicle hardware is installed.

Achieving Consensus: Addressing Noise Issues When Planning for Mass Transit. Come learn how audio-visual simulations can demonstrate multiple transit technologies in various settings and offer realistic replications of the indoor or outdoor sound impact at varying distances and types of ground surfaces.

Best Practices for Applying PSIM in Your Transit Operation. Transit agencies have been quick to adopt Physical Security Information Management technologies, but the resulting flood of data can obscure the big picture. This session lays out the key trends and challenges impacting today’s transit security command centers.

Showcases Bring the World to EXPO Floor

When you come to New Orleans to attend the 2011 APTA EXPO, you can “travel” beyond that destination by attending International Showcases on the EXPO floor. You can learn about the latest public transportation developments and business opportunities outside the U.S.

Make a note on your calendar to hear guest speakers from the U.S. Commercial Service and transport authorities from such countries as Mexico, Brazil, China, and India highlight current and future transportation development plans. If you’re with a U.S. company interested in exporting products and services, these are presentations you won’t want to miss.

The International Showcase schedule also includes presentations by representatives of federal agencies involved in export assistance, including the Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Department of Commerce. In addition, one session is dedicated specifically to the U.S. Export-Import Bank Small Business Global Access initiative in support of the National Export Initiative: Made in America—but purchased everywhere!

Keep an eye out for the Annual Meeting program, because more presentations could be added, or some of those mentioned above could change.

Two Technical Tours Follow the Annual Meeting

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA)/Veolia, host system for the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO, invites all registrants to participate in two technical tours Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 5, following the completion of the meeting.

Streetcar Expansion Project
NORTA/Veolia received a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant for a major expansion of the streetcar line into a busy downtown corridor on Loyola Avenue. This effort will connect a major downtown corridor to the Union Passenger Terminal, allowing riders intermodal access between the NORTA network and intercity rail and bus service. Another major project will expand streetcar service to the neighborhoods around the French Quarter, greatly improving mobility and access to jobs for transit-dependent residents.

While some 140 cities are currently considering streetcar lines, New Orleans is a pioneer, continuing to operate on a system that opened in 1835. NORTA/Veolia is collaborating with numerous city agencies (such as water, sewer, utility, fire, and police) and reports that more than $1.1 billion in new development has already been committed along the expansion corridor.

New Carrollton Facility
New Orleans has a streetcar building that is unique in the U.S. and probably the world: the New Carrollton facility, where public transit employees construct the agency’s streetcars by hand, using time-honored techniques from the past, which preserve the streetcars’ treasured status as a National Historic Landmark. Forty skilled crafters work with tools similar to those used more than a century ago.

These craftsmen rebuilt the entire fleet of red Canal Street Streetcars, which received extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina, and returned them to service. They update and maintain the historic green streetcars as well. The building itself is beautiful, historic, and has a lot of character.

Because tour sizes are limited, persons wishing to participate are asked to sign up in advance at the host information desk in the APTA registration area in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

AdWheel Celebrates 32nd Year

APTA will honor the best and most imaginative in public transportation marketing and promotional campaigns during the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO at the 32nd annual AdWheel ceremony on Monday afternoon, Oct. 3.

APTA has received almost 600 entries in this year’s competition. Judging is currently underway and the first-place award recipients should be notified by mid-August. The Grand Awards, selected from among the first-place honorees, will be made public at the Oct. 3 event.

APTA member transit systems and business members compete in five categories—print, electronic, campaign, special event, and social media—to determine “the best of the best” in public transit marketing and communications. Transit agencies are judged in categories based on the number of rides they provide each year.

Two new niche categories are joining the competition this year to recognize entries that showcase creative and innovative marketing and communication approaches in Marketing and Communicating to Older Adult Riders and Crisis or Issue Communications.

All AdWheel entries will be available for viewing at an interactive exhibit during the Annual Meeting and EXPO.

Travel Discounts Available

Travel Discounts Available

Attending the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans? APTA has partnered with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to provide special fares for meeting attendees.

American Airlines
Promotion Code: 35H1BC
Valid for Travel: Sept. 30-Oct. 8, 2011
Eligible Airport: MSY—Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport 
5 percent discount off any published airfare on the web site for travel to New Orleans.

To make a reservation:
Go online to book your flight. Place the Promotion Code in the promotion code box and your discount will be calculated automatically.
 You may also call (800) 433-1790 to book your flights; please refer to Promotion Code A35H1BC when you call. There is a reservation service charge for all tickets issued by phone.
 Note: This special discount is valid off any applicable published fares listed for American Airlines, American Eagle, and American Connection. International originating guests will need to contact their local reservation number and refer to the Promotion Code. Please use their preferred partner, American Airlines, when you can because of the benefits provided to you as a traveler and to our organization for extended partner value.

Delta Air Lines
Ticket Designator: NM7F6
Valid for Travel: Sept. 29-Oct. 8, 2011
Eligible Airport: MSY—Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Discount of up to 10 percent off round-trip fares for travel to New Orleans.

To make a reservation:
Call Delta at (800) 328-1111 for reservations and ticketing assistance. This line is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. CDT.
Or make an online reservation.

APTF to Honor Scholarship Recipients Oct. 3

Every year, the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF), APTA’s charitable affiliate, awards scholarships and fellowships to students and young professionals who have chosen the public transportation field as a career.

The 2011 scholarship recipients will be recognized at an Oct. 3 afternoon session during the APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans.

After the award presentations, members of the APTF Scholar Task Force—themselves early- to mid-career transit professionals and past scholarship recipients—will participate in a town hall session, discussing keys to the industry’s future success and taking questions from the audience. This presentation will cover APTF’s recruiting and mentoring plans and will provide an opportunity to share innovative strategies, best practices, and management skills needed now and later.

The purpose of the task force is to advance the mission of APTF. For example, task force members participate in networking and mentoring programs to encourage young people to enter the public transportation field; they also redesigned the APTF web site and are creating a professional social networking program,

Task force members are Larry Duhon Jr., accounting systems administrator/project manager, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (2005 recipient); David Ledwitz, management analyst-service and operations planning, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (1993 recipient); Krystal Oldread, special project supervisor, UMass Transit (2008 and 2009 recipient); task force Chair Marc Scott, Ph.D., research analyst, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota State University (2008, 2009, 2010 recipient); Jacqueline K. Sheader, marketing manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority (2005, 2006, and 2007 recipient); Vice Chair Kristen Sheleheda, supervisor of planning and service quality, Beaver County Transit Authority (2009 and 2010 recipient); and Jill Stober, transportation planner, KFH Group (2008 and 2009 recipient).

Presiding over the program will be APTF Board Chair Linda J. Bohlinger, vice president, national director of management consulting, HNTB Corporation.

Calling All Public Transit-Related Companies! APTA Invites You to Become an Exhibitor at EXPO 2011

APTA invites companies to be part of public transportation’s premier showcase and exceed all sales goals for the year in just three days by exhibiting at EXPO 2011, Oct. 3-5 in New Orleans.

EXPO is your opportunity to meet face to face with more than 17,000 industry decision-makers and buyers. You won't get another chance to see the entire public transportation industry in one location for another three years. Visit the web site to reserve your booth before the show floor is sold out!

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) are eligible for prime positioning on the show floor, and certified DBE companies are eligible for special discounts and incentives. To learn more, contact Katherine Madison at (703) 647-2627.

Another way for companies to stand out at EXPO—the world’s largest public transportation showcase—is to become a sponsor. The event offers numerous key exposure and high-return on investment opportunities available including attendee bags, park benches, escalator clings, on-site banners, and many more. Drive traffic to your booth and increase your market share today – contact EXPO to reserve a sponsorship opportunity now.

Giving Back and Helping Rebuild New Orleans: Join In—and Make a Difference to the People of St. Bernard Parish

When you come to New Orleans for EXPO and the APTA Annual Meeting, you can network. You can learn about the new political realities for transit. You can check out the newest public transit products and services.

However, there’s something else you can do that is equally if not more valuable: You can help rebuild homes that were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

On Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, APTA members will join the St. Bernard Project (SBP) to work on homes being rebuilt. APTA volunteers will perform a variety of tasks—from painting and hanging drywall to installing insulation—and all that’s needed are enthusiasm and a willingness to help. Plus, SBP supervisors will be onsite to show you how it’s done.

All necessary supplies and equipment will be provided, but you should wear appropriate clothing (jeans and T-shirts you don’t mind getting messy) and bring work gloves. This volunteer effort will involve your time commitment from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; transportation will be provided to and from the work sites.

APTA’s business members are organizing the volunteer service day on Friday, Sept. 30, and all APTA members—and their families—are welcome to participate. We hope to have at least 100 public and private sector volunteers working that day. The business members are also planning to hold an activity that evening to bring all the volunteers together to celebrate their accomplishments.

A second opportunity to take part in this project will be on Thursday, Oct. 6, immediately following the conference, where again APTA hopes to have at least 100 volunteers.

Why does St. Bernard Parish need your help? Consider these numbers. Before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the parish had 27,000 homes. After Katrina, none of those houses was inhabitable. To date, SBP has rebuilt more than 350 homes using volunteer labor—and has 45 more under construction.

Please note that volunteers will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to space limitations, other volunteer opportunities may be offered once SBP reaches capacity.

To volunteer and participate in one—or both!—of APTA’s parish workdays in New Orleans, please register online.

Going Behind the Scenes at EXPO in New Orleans: What You See, What You Get—and What You Don’t See!

BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Did you ever stop to think what goes into creating EXPO? The number of people involved? The amount of materials required? The number of gallons of coffee consumed?

Maybe after you’ve read what follows, you’ll have a better sense of why this extraordinary products and services showcase—the largest one in the public transportation industry in the world—is held only every three years!

For example, you walk the aisles and see booths—some simple, some elaborate. Before they become booths, however, they must first arrive at the venue. So before they are booths, they are effectively “freight.” And more than 1.7 million pounds of freight went into EXPO 2008 in San Diego. Compare that number to the Titanic, which weighed 99,208 pounds. With all this freight, you could build more than 17 giant ships!

In 2008, this freight fit into hundreds of thousands of net square feet—enough to hold 77 buses, plus one helicopter! In New Orleans, we’re talking 280,000 NSF, so who knows how many vehicles will ultimately be there?

And what does all that footage translate into, miles-wise? Well, you can expect to be walking on close to 23 miles of aisle carpet—so do heed earlier advice and wear comfortable shoes!

For those of you who attended EXPO 2008, here’s a “thank you”—for spending more than $78,000 at concession stands in the San Diego Convention Center.

You drank 5,521 bottles of water, 2,676 sodas, and nearly 11,000 gallons of coffee (that includes regular coffee, decaf, and tea). You apparently weren’t as hungry as you were thirsty, though, since you ate only 2,232 cookies and 744 muffins!

Do you remember seeing plants or flowers as decorations? Well, 103 exhibitors—representing 32 states and six countries—ordered 672 plants and flowers.

By the time you walk through EXPO 2011, everything in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will be running smoothly. But have you ever wondered how many people are involved in the final product—meaning, the trade show? In no particular order, you have:

* APTA members;
* APTA staff;
* Exhibitors (close to 6,500 registered already);
* NTP (trade show management company);
* Centerplate Catering (at the convention center);
* Freeman (booth set up and audio-visual support for sessions);
* Lakeshore Production (producers of the General Sessions);
* Convention center staff; and
* Additional companies hired, such as security and a florist.

How many people are we actually talking about? Anticipating at least 17,000 attendees (that’s how many came to San Diego), almost 6,500 exhibitors registered already (and bear in mind that one exhibitor may have up to 10 staff in attendance), plus all the other companies and individuals listed above (at least 600)—the total is well over 50,000 people. To use a technical term … that’s a lot!!

So, while this vast undertaking will unfold with clockwork precision, that doesn’t mean things are always precise when a trade show is being set up! For example, during another organization’s recent EXPO in Dallas, the asphalt was so hot that the fire trucks parked outside waiting to go into the convention center melted the asphalt—and sank into it.

In preparation for another show, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the general services contractor was hanging outdoor banners on the convention center wall. Unfortunately, it was terribly windy that day—so much so that the winds tore the $150,000 banner off the wall, which necessitated replacing it within the day before the show opened!

As in San Diego, food always plays a big part in an EXPO. In one association’s reception—not APTA’s!!—attendees apparently were (a) hungry and (b) tired of waiting, because they pulled up their chairs to the buffet line and dug in. One gentleman even went behind the carving station, picked up a turkey leg, and started eating it!

Oscar Wilde once wrote: “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”

Given that formula, with all conditions “go,” success will clearly be front and center at APTA’s EXPO in New Orleans in October!

Directory of Advertisers at EXPO 2011

To see who's already signed up to exhibit at the 2011 International Public Transportation EXPO, click here!

This list is current as of July 21, 2011.

New Orleans History: Mixing Old, New Worlds

By the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau

New Orleans lingers on the threshold between the Old World and the New, between history and legend: the City that Care Forgot.

Jazz streams out into the moonlight, French doors open to the night breezes, sweet olive scents the air. Nearby there is laughter, a cork popping, and cafe brulot aflame.

Welcome to New Orleans.

Here, in this little corner of the American South, where European traditions blend with Caribbean influences, the history is as colorful as the local architecture; the food is the stuff of legend. Haitian and African Creoles developed an exotic, spicy cuisine and were instrumental in creating jazz and Zydeco music.

Our street names are French and Spanish, our Creole architecture comes in a carnival of tropical colors, and our voodoo is a Caribbean import. The magic is irresistible.

A cultural gumbo, we celebrate our differences. In fact, we celebrate almost anything in the Big Easy. We have a saying: “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” with translates to “let the good times roll.” It’s a reminder of our French heritage, a way of life that started three centuries ago.

The city’s history began in 1718 when Sieur de Bienville founded a strategic port city five feet below sea level, near the juncture of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The city originally was confined to the area now known as the French Quarter or Vieux Carre (Old Square).

New Orleans remained under French jurisdiction until 1762, when King Louis XV ceded the large Louisiana Territory to his Spanish cousin, King Charles III. Spain returned Louisiana to France in 1800; three years later, Napoleon sold the territory to the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

After the sale, Americans arrived en masse. Unwelcome in the Creole enclave of the French Quarter, they settled across Canal Street in what is known today as the Central Business District.

When Louisiana joined the Union, New Orleans became its first state capital. The cotton and tobacco trade made the port city the second wealthiest in the nation after New York. New Orleans also had strategic importance as the site of the last battle of the War of 1812—in 1815—when pirate Jean Lafitte joined U.S. troops, former Haitian slaves, and other soldiers to defeat the British.

The original New Orleans Creoles were thoroughbred French who were the first generation to be born in the colonies; the term distinguished such a person from an immigrant or an imported slave.

Under French, Spanish, and U.S. flags, Creole society coalesced as islanders, West Africans, slaves, free people of color, and indentured servants poured into the city along with a mix of French aristocrats, merchants, farmers, soldiers, and freed prisoners.

On the other hand, Cajuns are descended from a specific group of Catholic, French-speaking trappers and farmers who were exiled from Nova Scotia by the ruling English Protestants in 1755. About 10,000 eventually settled in southwest Louisiana, in what is now called Acadiana. Some later came to New Orleans.

Dining in New Orleans: A Consuming Passion

By the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau

George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

Whether or not you agree with Mr. Shaw, it is an indisputable fact that no place loves its food as sincerely—or as indulgently—as New Orleans. Some people eat to live, but New Orleanians live to eat. As a result, the city offers one of the most incredible—and incredibly diverse—concentrations of exceptional dining and unforgettable cuisine in the world.

New Orleans is home to more than 1,000 restaurants, including such renowned culinary treasures as Galatoire’s, Emeril’s, Arnaud’s, Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s Delmonico, Bayona, Herbsaint, Restaurant August, G.W. Fin’s, Bacco, The Grill Room, Palace Cafe, Lilette, Brigsten’s, K-Paul’s, Cuvee, NOLA, Bourbon House, Broussard’s, Mr. B’s Bistro, and Antoine’s.

In addition, visitors have discovered many of the city’s favorite neighborhood hot spots such as Mother’s, Casamento’s, Ralph’s on the Park, Clancy’s, Jacques-Imo’s, Upperline, Acme Oyster House, Gumbo Shop, Cafe du Monde, Muriel’s, Tujague’s, Tommy’s, and Pascal’s Manale.

Guests to New Orleans will find famed classic French, Italian, and Spanish restaurants that remain unceasingly faithful to their roots; some of the industry’s brightest and most innovative rising stars, serving their own unique versions of what is collectively known as New Orleans Fusion; and, of course, the city’s signature Cajun and Creole dishes. In addition, they shouldn’t overlook the surprising selection of other exotic cuisines, including exceptional Latin, Mediterranean, and Asian variations that make their own delicious contributions to this gourmet’s paradise.

Wherever you choose to eat in New Orleans, prepare your palate to fall in love: there’s never been a better time to dine in New Orleans, and your table awaits.

New Orleans: A City with Its Own Language

New Orleans has its own language for many things. Here are some definitions that will help visitors feel at home.

Banquette: Sidewalk.

Bayou: Choctaw for “small stream.” It’s a creek with a slow current, flowing from a river or lowland lake, often through swamp areas, usually in a delta region. Among its many nicknames, Louisiana is called “The Bayou State” for its beautiful wetland regions.

Cajun: Nickname for Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia, starting in 1755.

Cities of the Dead: New Orleans cemeteries. Because of the high water table, the city’s residents spend their afterlife buried above ground instead of six feet under it. Elaborate monuments cluster together, resembling small communities.

Directions: People in New Orleans don’t recognize west, east, north, or south. They head uptown, downtown, lakeside, and riverside—and anywhere the music is.

Fais-do-do (fay-doe-doe): It means, in baby talk, “Go to sleep.” And party hearty. In the old days, when Cajuns would celebrate, they brought the kids with their blankets so the little ones could snooze while adults would eat, drink, and dance their way through the night.

Faubourg (foe-burg): As in “Faubourg Marigny.” Originally suburbs, they are now neighborhoods near the French Quarter. (The Vieux Carré [see below] once defined the entire city of New Orleans.)

Gris-gris (gree-gree): “X” marks the spot. Voodoo spells, often indicated by Xs, are still found on tombs like that of legendary voodoo queen Marie Laveau.

Gumbo ya-ya: Everybody talking at once.

Isleños (iz-lay-nyos): Islanders; in this case, Spanish settlers from the Canary Islands. Since 1799, they’ve been fishermen, trappers, and master boat builders in Louisiana.

Jazz: Louis Armstrong said, “If you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” That’s admittedly not much of a definition. As for origin, some say it was a New Orleans barber named Buddy Bolden who, in 1891, blew a few notes with his cornet and invented a new form of music that’s been an American favorite since the Jazz Age of the 1920s. Jazz mixes African and Creole rhythms with European styles. The Irish, Germans, and Italians contributed the brass bands.

Krewe: Members of a carnival organization, as in Krewe of Rex. A variation of “crew,” the word was invented by 19th-century New Orleanians who privately bankrolled the balls and parades (as is still the case).

Lagniappe (lan-yap): A little something extra. A free coffee or dessert puts the “bons” in “bons temps.”

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (less-say lay bon tonh roo-lay): Let the good times roll.

Makin’ groceries: Shopping for groceries.

Neutral ground: When the Americans arrived in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Europeans and Creoles who inhabited the French Quarter (at the time the entire city of New Orleans) considered them unwelcome interlopers. So the immigrants settled across Canal Street and established what is now the Central Business and Arts District. Canal Street became the “neutral ground” in the clash of cultures. Ever since, New Orleans has been a city without medians—with only neutral grounds.

New Orleans: Pronounced “noo aw-lins” or “new or-lins” or “new or-lee-yuns,” but not “new orleens.” Unless referring to the street or the parish of “or-leens.” Or when you’re singing “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.” Confused yet?

Parish: Equivalent of a county in the other 49 states.

Pass a good time: Live it up.

Picayune: Old Spanish coin, 1/8 of a dollar. Connotes something very small or petty.

Pirogue: Shallow canoe used in the bayous.

Pro bono publico: “For the common good,” motto of Rex, King of Carnival.

Secondline: The people who follow a brass band on the street while swinging a handkerchief in a circle over their heads. These second-liners also have a special shuffle step or dance they do when following the band. This is called “secondlining.”

Streetcar: New Orleans’ name for the world’s oldest continuously operating electric street railway. In 1835, a steam engine train ran from the Vieux Carré along St. Charles to the outlying town of Carrollton (now the Uptown Riverbend area). In the 1860s, the route became a horse- and mule-drawn line, and went electric in 1893. Today, over 20,000 people a day ride to work and play aboard 35 original electric cars (available for private parties), all named to the National Register of Historic Places. You can get to a historic place riding in a historic place. Only in New Orleans.

Street Names: New Orleans has some strange pronunciations. A sample:
* Calliope (kal-ee-ope)
* Melpomene (mel-puh-meen)
* Tchoupitoulas (chop-ih-too-liss)
* Clio (clee-oh) but often completely misread as C-L 10. Honest.

Swamp: A low, marshy wetland, heavily forested and subject to seasonal flooding.

Vieux Carré (vyeuh kah-ray): Literally, “Old Square” or “Old Quarter,” it refers to the French Quarter. Before it was “Old,” “French,” or a “Quarter” of any kind, the area was just the “Ville,” the entire city of New Orleans. Today, its 90 city blocks hold about 2,700 European and Creole-style buildings, most with a long and fascinating history.

Voodoo: From voudun, meaning “god,” “spirit,” or “insight” in the Fon language of Dahomey. Voodoo came from the West African Yoruba religion via Haiti, where African practices mingled with the Catholicism of French colonists.

Yat: A local denizen. Named for the Ninth Ward greeting, “Where y’at?”

The Unique Culture of Louisiana’s ‘Noo Aw-lins’

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. At first, it was nothing more than a trading camp on a curve in the east bank of the Mississippi River. Later, the city was organized into a rectangular, fortified community, which still exists today as the French Quarter. The resulting streets were named for French royalty and nobility.

As the community grew to the west, north, and east, it followed the curve in the river and became known as “the Crescent City” because of its shape. Because the city was surrounded by swamps and marshes (with a sea level of approximately six feet at its highest point), the spring rise in the Mississippi River level and tidal surges from hurricanes resulted in the building of levees around the city and the river. This also explains the ground-level “basements” for most of the old structures in the New Orleans area.

Even to this day, the city’s massive pumps and canals drain the city: annual rainfall can be between 60 and 100 inches. The total miles of canals (above and below ground) in New Orleans exceed that of Venice in Italy.

The lagoons in City Park, along City Park Boulevard, are all that remains of what was once Bayou Metairie. Other bayous remain, including Bayou St. John, Bayou Sauvage, and Bayou Bienvenue in Chalmette.

New Orleans was the home of the first opera house in America. Antebellum New Orleans was the musical hotbed of the nation, and artists and craftsmen from around the globe immigrated to the vibrant port. Residents reveled in cultural and recreational opportunities far beyond what most cities of New Orleans' size could offer. New Orleans was the cultural center of the South.

Although New Orleans was established as the capital of the French colony of Louisiana, it was actually twice the capital of the state of Louisiana. The capital was moved from New Orleans to Donaldsonville in 1825, to Baton Rouge in 1846, to New Orleans in 1864, and once again to Baton Rouge—where it remained—in 1879.

Canal Street, once the widest street in the world, was named for a canal that was planned for, but never built, in the median. For decades, the only use for the median was public transportation, mostly by the Canal Street Streetcars.

The first New Orleans “Skyscraper” was built in 1807. It was the first four-story building in the city and is still standing and in use, on the corner of Royal St. Peter streets in the French Quarter.

Today, New Orleans is undergoing a creative renaissance. The city boasts world-class museums, including Smithsonian affiliates The National World War II Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Artist studios and galleries line the streets of the French Quarter/Marigny, Warehouse/Arts District, and Magazine Street. Performing arts groups, their shows, and the venues that host them speckle the map. All around the city, historic neighborhoods are being revitalized.


Editor's Note: Public transportation agencies across North America are seeing continued growth and record ridership. From Canada's all-time high nationwide ridership in 2010 to 100 million rides in Portland, OR--as well as notable increases in smaller markets such as Vancouver, WA, and Edmond, OK--public transit keeps moving ahead. Here are a few examples from across the U.S. and Canada.








Transit Board Members, Support Staff Participate in Annual Seminar

BY LYNNE MORSEN, APTA Senior Program Manager-Member Support

New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) hosted 90 policy makers and staff at APTA’s annual Transit Board Members Seminar and Board Support Employee Development Workshop, July 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City.

Speakers addressed a variety of subjects including safety and security, mobility management, transit-oriented development, customer service, and workforce development.

With the approach of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, conference participants considered safety and security issues as they visited the World Trade Center site and participated in a session, “The Board Member’s Role in System Safety and Security.” Speakers for the session were National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah Hersman; international terrorism and security expert Brian Michael Jenkins, director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s (MTI) National Transportation Security Center; and Christopher Trucillo, NJ Transit’s chief of police, who was at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on 9/11. The moderator was Mort Downey, former deputy secretary of transportation; chair of the Safety and Security Committee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors; and chair of the MTI Board of Directors.

The speakers discussed the important oversight role of the board, agreeing that safety and security are core responsibilities for all employees, and emphasized an organization’s safety and security culture.

Hersman presented a series of questions regarding the board’s role:
* Was the board more focused on things other than safety?
* Was there a constantly evolving safety structure?
* Did the board measure safety and keep track of it?
* Was safety part of the board’s mission statement?

“Your role is to set the tone for safety, first,” she said. “Second, ask the questions, make people uncomfortable. Third, own your responsibility, be vulnerable.”

Jenkins discussed prevention, deterrents, and facilitating emergency response. “When a plane goes down,” he said, “we cannot do much to mitigate, so we pile up the security at the front end. We cannot do that in surface transportation. We know that the aviation security model is not going to work with surface transportation.”

He noted that the daily screening process of two million U.S. boarding airline passengers requires 45,000 employees; with 10 to 20 million passengers on surface transportation, hundreds of thousands of screeners would be needed. Transit is looking for low-cost solutions, Jenkins also said, because “we cannot implement costly measures. And they must be sustainable; what we put in will be with us for a long time.”

He recommended random passenger screening and advised board members to start now—before an incident occurs—rather than trying to design, implement, and operate a new program all at once.

Judy Telge, a member of the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority Board of Directors, moderated a panel on mobility management. Panelists were Ron Barnes, APTA’s new Mobility Management Committee chair and senior advisor, Steer Davies Gleave North America; Westat senior study director Jon Burkhardt; and Michael Sanders, transit administrator, Connecticut DOT.

Barnes cited four aspects of mobility management: providing more services; integrating land use and transportation in a more cooperative way; providing service from a person-centered approach; and moving toward one system for all by integrating all transportation services.  Burkhardt noted: “It used to be you ran what you owned, but do you know how a FedEx package gets to you? Any way it can. It could be on a UPS or USPS plane. We need multimodal partnerships for trips to be taken.”

A session focusing on transit-oriented development in New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana featured Tom Schulze, senior director of capital planning, NJ Transit; Christopher Zimmerman, chairman, Arlington County Board; and Justin Augustine III, chief executive officer, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Jeff Boothe, a partner at Holland & Knight, LLP, presented an overview of federal resources and local decisions. That session, titled “Urban Development & Public Transportation,” was moderated by Rosa Navejar, vice chair of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Other sessions included an interactive exercise testing styles of communication, led by board members and clerks of the board; discussions of legislative issues; workforce development and employee relations; and new paradigms that take a forward look at business models, revenue sources, and technologies.

The seminar opened with a session where board chairs discussed their roles and paths to becoming chair, moderated by Alison Hewitt, chair of the APTA Transit Board Members Committee and a member of the APTA Executive Committee. The closing session, which paired board chairs with their chief executives as they discussed aspects of their professional relationships, was chaired by Flora M. Castillo, CHIE, an NJ Transit board member.

NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein, also a member of APTA’s Executive Committee, outlined recent actions related to customer service, based on metrics. He added that quarterly rider satisfaction survey findings will be linked to goals in the future.

APTA’s Board Support Subcommittee, chaired by Rhodetta Seward, executive services director of Intercity Transit in Olympia, WA, continued its strong professional development program during this year’s Board Support Employee Development Workshop. The planning committee, co-chaired by Robin Crothers of The Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI, and Necola Pierce of WMATA, developed the workshop’s program for 30 board support professionals, including several first-time attendees.

The workshop focused on the critical role of communication in fostering productive relationships between staff and transit board members to enable them to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities. With the overall theme, “A Healthier and More Successful YOU,” facilitator Tami C. Gaines, principal, Sage Enterprises LLC, Montclair, NJ, addressed leadership styles; how to manage ups and downs; practicing self-leadership; developing and sustaining strong communication skills; and identifying specific sources of stress and strategies to help maintain work and career balance while increasing productivity.

As is the tradition for the workshop, attendees toured the host agency’s board room and participated in a discussion of best practices. The session also included a board portal demonstration, video of a board meeting, tours, and an interactive discussion on preparing the board’s agenda.



Michael Sanders speaks during the “Mobility Management for the 21st Century” session at the 2011 APTA Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop.

Speaking on safety and security concerns for public transit board members are, from left, Brian Michael Jenkins, Christopher Trucillo, presiding officer Crystal Lyons, Deborah Hersman, and Mort Downey. 


‘Jump on Board’ with Online Transit Video

Two APTA committees—Human Resources and Marketing and Communications—are joining forces to create a YouTube video to speak to the next generation of the public transportation workforce, and the committees are asking for members’ help—by Aug. 15—in putting it together.

The video, featuring “Generation Y” members of the public transit workforce telling their career stories, will premiere during the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans.

Only current staff members can share personal stories that will inspire students in high school, two-year or four-year college, or just thinking about a career in public transportation. Transit is cool, green, and takes people where they want to go; it also offers incredible career opportunities.

APTA would like help in identifying younger members of transit organizations who hold various positions and responsibilities and have great stories to share. Please submit a 3-to-4-minute video clip that highlights the staff member’s experience, including information on education and career plans, information about the person’s position and level of responsibility, and what it took to get them where they are, as well as their future plans.

APTA member organizations may submit multiple submissions.

To submit video clips and for more information, click here. Information is also available from Joe Niegoski or Jack Gonzalez.


MTS: Celebrating 125 Years of Transit Operation in San Diego

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is celebrating its 125th anniversary of operation—and the 30th anniversary of the rebirth of trolley service—with activities including a contest for transit-related photos and giveaways at selected stations.

MTS traces its history back to July 3, 1886, when the San Diego Street Car Company introduced service with horse- and mule-driven rail coaches; most of the streets themselves were not paved. Each open-air car could carry up to 32 passengers. Electric streetcars made their debut in San Diego the following year.

Developer John D. Spreckels purchased the streetcar company in 1892 and soon began expanding service and purchasing railways in neighboring towns. A double-track line to Balboa Park entered service in conjunction with the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, and the streetcar system stretched to more nearby communities and the international border.

The streetcar system introduced its first buses in 1922. In 1949, San Diego became the first city on the West Coast to discontinue streetcar use and operate exclusively with buses.

San Diego Transit transferred to city operation as a nonprofit corporation in 1967, and the Metropolitan Transit Development Board was formed about 10 years later.

The bright red vehicles of the San Diego Trolley began regular operations July 26, 1981, along a 15.9-mile line between downtown San Diego and San Ysidro, just 200 feet from the international border. Through the next three decades, the trolley system has grown into three lines covering more than 53.5 miles with 53 stations, including an underground stop at San Diego State University.

Capital Metro in Austin Introduces the ‘Mock Bus’ for Mobility Training

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, has introduced a new tool for mobility training: the “mock bus,” a section from a real bus—including a working wheelchair lift—inside the agency’s downtown customer facility. Agency personnel will use the bus in the MetroAccess eligibility process for persons with disabilities and as part of Capital Metro’s transit training program.

The agency added the mock bus as part of an overhaul of MetroAccess, including creation of a new eligibility department and hiring of four new staff members. This fall, the paratransit service will transition to a new, more thorough eligibility process that will both safeguard public resources and provide a more personalized level of service for participants.

Currently, MetroAccess applicants submit an application signed by a medical professional to become enrolled in the program. The new process includes an in-person interview to discuss the applicant’s travel needs and a comprehensive in-person orientation to MetroAccess services.

“I am so proud of the MetroAccess team that has been working hard for many months to update and enhance a program that is depended upon by so many,” said Linda S. Watson, president/chief executive officer, Capital Metro. “By streamlining processes, getting the right tools and people in place, and maintaining high standards for quality and service, we will ensure that this incredible community resource is sustainable for the growing number of people eligible for it.”


Muriel Bowser, Thomas J. Bulger
WASHINGTON, DC—Muriel Bowser has joined the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors as a principal director and Thomas J. Bulger is a new alternate director on the board. Both represent the District of Columbia.

Bowser, a District of Columbia Councilmember representing Ward 4, succeeds Tommy Wells as a principal director. Prior to her election to the council in 2007, she oversaw a downtown transportation management district where she was responsible for ensuring transportation options for residents, workers, and visitors.

Bulger, president of Government Relations Inc. succeeds Michael Brown. He has been a federal advocate and policy consultant representing private and public clients before Congress and the administration. Bulger also served as policy advisor to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

Dr. James H. Parker, Lynton Erskine
MARKHAM, ON—Delcan Corporation has named Dr. James H. Parker and Lynton Erskine as the first members of the Delcan Emeritus Program. The purpose of the program is to retain some of the firm’s most experienced and knowledgeable professionals for the benefit of its clients.

Parker has 40 years of experience in the rail transit industry, specializing in electrical systems, propulsion systems, magnetic levitation, and high-speed rail technologies. He founded J.H. Parker & Associates Inc. (PAI) in 1986 and served as its president until he retired in 2010. Delcan acquired PAI in 2007 and converted it to Delcan Rail and Transit Group earlier this year.

Erskine began his career with Delcan in Africa, rejoining the company in Canada in 1978 and retiring this year as manager of public transportation services. He has more than 40 years of experience in international transportation consulting and construction.

Albert Leydecker, Mitchel Simpler, Joseph R. Amato, Linda Shumaker, Thomas J. Cascino, Raymond Daddazio, Nicholas Pinto
ALBANY, NY—The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York elected Michael Leydecker, P.E., an associate principal and surface transportation group manager at Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers, P.C., Buffalo, as its chairman. He has served in the civil engineering and transportation field for more than 30 years.

Also elected were Mitchel Simpler, P.E., Jaros, Baum & Bolles, chairman-elect; Joseph R. Amato, P.E., Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP, treasurer; Linda Shumaker, P.E., Shumaker Consulting Engineering & Land Surveying, P.C., secretary; and Thomas J. Cascino, P.E., AECOM; Raymond Daddazio, P.E., Weidlinger Associates Inc.; and Nicholas Pinto, P.E., Barton & Loguidice, P.C., vice chairmen.

Gareth Lifton
DENVER, CO—CH2M HILL announced the appointment of Gareth Lifton, P.Eng., as its global leader for asset management. He is based in the firm’s Calgary, AB, office.

Lifton has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of utility management, including the development and implementation of utility policies, strategies and business plans, long-term capital programs, and asset management/risk management methodologies, tools, and techniques.

As a CH2M HILL senior principal management consultant within the Utility Management Solutions practice, he has directed asset management assignments across North America and Europe.

John Welsh

RENO, NV—John Welsh, a managing principal of Stantec in Reno, was recently named Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Truckee Meadows Branch.

Welsh has worked in the region for the past 36 years, with projects including heavy rail, roadways, airports and aviation improvements, parks, maintenance facilities, water resources, and residential subdivisions.

Anne O’Neil
DENVER, CO—Anne O’Neil, P.E., CSEP, chief systems engineer, capital program management, for MTA New York City Transit, received the Founders Award from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) for her contributions to the organization’s representation of transportation systems engineers.

INCOSE recognized O’Neil for attracting transportation systems engineers to the organizations and establishing a forum for them. This is the first time the group has honored a transportation systems engineer.

Dr. Dennis Christiansen, Keith Parker
WASHINGTON, DC—The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) announced that Dr. Dennis Christiansen and Keith Parker have joined its board of directors.

Christiansen is director of the Texas Transportation Institute and an international expert in high-occupancy vehicle lanes. He is the senior editor of two books and the author of numerous reports and publications about various facets of transportation and traffic engineering.

Parker has served since 2009 as president and chief executive officer of VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, TX. He previously was chief executive officer and director of public transit for the Charlotte Area Transit System in Charlotte, NC.

Yakov Strizhevsky
NEW YORK, NY—Yakov Strizhevsky, P.E., has joined SYSTRA’s Electrical Engineering and Power Group as senior catenary engineer.

He has more than 25 years of experience in heavy rail transit, commuter rail transit, and railroad electrification.