Passenger Transport - April 5, 2013
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NEWS HEADLINES

Obama Proposes Partnership To Rebuild Infrastructure

President Obama reaffirmed his support of “rebuilding the infrastructure that ­powers our businesses and our economy”—and laid out a three-pronged plan to help this ­happen in a speech March 29 in Miami.

Obama’s “Partnership to Rebuild America” brings together federal and private-sector resources to create jobs that will improve U.S. infrastructure. It has three components:

* An independent fund that will attract private investment to infrastructure projects based on their benefits to the economy. “And we’ll better finance projects that involve more than one mode of transportation, or more than one town or state, with less red tape to gum up the works,” he added;

* America Fast Forward bonds, a new infrastructure initiative that will give mayors and governors increased flexibility and power to attract private investment for public projects; and

* Improvements to an existing loan program that has already helped governors and mayors leverage four times the money Washington put into it.

“As president, my top priority is to make sure we are doing everything we can to reignite the true engine of our economic growth—and that is a rising, thriving middle class,” Obama stated in his remarks at PortMiami. “Breaking ground on more projects like this tunnel that I just saw means more good construction jobs that can’t be outsourced. They have to be done right here in America. And they end up giving people good pay and good opportunities to raise their families.”

He cited statistics showing that the U.S. has upgraded more than 6,000 miles of rail over the past four years. During that same period, “construction crews have built or improved more than 350,000 miles of road. That’s enough to circle the globe 14 times. . . . We’ve repaired or replaced more than 20,000 bridges.”

The president continued: “There’s work to be done; there are workers who are ready to do it. Let’s prove to the world there’s no better place to do business than right here in the United States of America, and let’s get started rebuilding America.”

President Obama delivers remarks on infrastructure March 29 at the PortMiami Tunnel project.

Home Values Perform Better Near Public Transit During Recession

The average value of housing performed nearly 42 percent ­better when located near high-frequency public transit during the worst slump in the real estate market in recent years, according to a new study commissioned by APTA in partnership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The study, The New Real-Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation, projected the nationwide average variance among properties by analyzing housing market data for 2006-2011 from a representative sample of cities: Phoenix, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Chicago. It focused on residential property located near a “transit shed”—areas that are one-half mile or less from a transit stop.

It showed that heavy rail, bus rapid transit, and light rail, all of which are characterized by more frequent service and transfer options, had a greater impact on real estate values when compared to homes in the region that were not near high-frequency public transit.

The study, prepared by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, also shows that homes located near high-frequency public transportation provide greater access to more jobs.

“Consumers are choosing neighborhoods with high-frequency public transportation because it provides access to up to five times as many jobs per square mile as compared to other areas in a given region,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Other attractive amenities in these neighborhoods include lower transportation costs, walkable areas, and robust transportation choices.”

He added: “And when I say lower transportation costs, that means lower transportation costs for all—even for individuals who don’t use public transit because these areas are also known for shorter car trips due to close-by amenities. These findings show that communities benefit when they respond to market demand. Clearly consumers are voting with their feet, showing they want communities with more choices.”

The study also suggested that public transportation can serve as an economic catalyst for neighborhoods.

“Transportation plays an important role in real estate and housing decisions, and the data suggest that residential real estate near public transit will remain attractive to buyers going forward,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A sound transportation system not only benefits individual property owners, but also creates the foundation for a community’s long-term economic well-being.”

The five metropolitan regions highlighted in the study repre­sent a sample of the types of high-frequency public transportation systems throughout the U.S., as well as the types of communities served by public transportation. A few specific findings for each metropolitan area follow.

Boston: Residential property in the rapid transit area outperformed other properties in the region by 129 percent. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), a mature public transit system, provides access to almost three times as many jobs per square mile. The number of jobs in the Boston transit area is 170,000, versus 57,000 in the region per square mile.

“We’ve long appreciated the link between transit investment and economic development, including housing production and value retention,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D. “We’re so fortunate that Boston understood this concept decades ago, when neighborhoods developed as transit expanded (‘Streetcar Suburbs’). Today, the transit system continues to improve the quality of life and strengthen our communities with a new generation of urban dwellers who choose to live near public transportation and abandon automobiles.”

Chicago: Home values performed 30 percent better in areas served by ­public transit than the region as a whole. Also, residents close to the city’s public transportation system spent $300 less on transportation per month than the regional average.

“Transit continues to be a cornerstone of economic growth for Chicago, connecting residents with jobs every day,” said Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and I are committed to making the significant investments in the CTA system that allow us to continue to provide affordable, reliable transportation to all, which creates strong neighborhoods and communities.”

Minneapolis-St. Paul: Homes in the transit shed performed 48 percent better than the region, with housing and other development springing up around stations.

“What we’ve seen in the Twin ­Cities is that with our first line—Hiawatha light rail (2004)—transit-oriented development lagged construction and operation. That said, nearly 11,000 residential units have been added near station areas and an additional 4,500 are proposed,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.

“With the Northstar commuter rail line (November 2009) and Green Line light rail (mid-2014), development has been more contemporaneous,” Lamb continued. “Looking ahead to planned LRT and BRT lines, development is beginning to even move ahead of planned transit projects. It is encouraging to see the emergence of a common vision between the public sector at all levels, developers, and the community at large.”

Phoenix: Home values performed 37 percent better than the region. Areas served by Valley Metro, a relatively young public transit system, provide 88,000 jobs per square mile versus 32,000 jobs for the region. Residents who live near high-frequency public transit in Phoenix save $175 per month in transportation costs.

“Transit use is being incorporated into the lifestyles of our local residents as they travel to their daily destinations. Increasing ridership proves there is a greater acceptance of riding bus and light rail for travel to work, school, shopping, and entertainment,” said ­Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. “Businesses are realizing the significance of creating a total transit network that brings customers to their front doors. Whether relocating a business or considering a new home, our diverse, multi-generational residents are considering transit accessibility a top priority in their decisions on where to establish their place geographically.”

San Francisco: In the San ­Francisco public transit area, home values performed 37 percent better than the region. The area hosts a number of public transit systems, with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) serving 44 stations on five heavy rail lines and an average weekday ridership of nearly 384,000.

“Studies show that home buyers are willing to pay a premium to live in a neighborhood where they can walk to reliable public transit,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. “This is especially true in San Francisco, where those who live closer to transit have access to three times as many jobs. It’s no surprise to us that Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller’s January report showed in the counties served by BART—San ­Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo—home prices surged 17.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011 levels.”

To read the report, click here.

FTA Awards $1.4 Billion More for Hurricane Sandy Relief

On March 29, FTA announced an additional $1.4 billion in storm-related reimbursements through the Fiscal Year 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act.

The majority of the funds goes to the four public transit agencies that incurred the greatest expenses while preparing for and recovering from Hurricane Sandy last year: the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, New Jersey Transit Corporation, and New York City DOT. The remainder will be allocated to other public transit agencies that incurred eligible storm-related expenses but have not yet received funds.

“Considering that over a third of America’s transit riders use the systems most heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy, it is imperative that we continue this rapid progress to restore these systems in the tri-state region,” said FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff.

Funding appropriated for the disaster relief effort totaled $10.9 billion, although sequestration cuts that took effect March 1 reduced that amount by $545 million.

FTA will use the remainder of the $10.9 billion for ongoing recovery efforts and to help public transit agencies become more resilient in the face of future storms and disasters. An Interim Final Rule for FTA’s Emergency Relief Program, published March 29 in the Federal Register, outlines general requirements that apply to all the funds allocated related to Sandy and future grants awarded under this program.

In addition to its portion of the $1.4 billion, New York City DOT also received a separate $21.9 million allocation as part of a consolidated request with other entities for various activities prior, during, and after the storm to protect the Staten Island Ferry, its equipment, and personnel, the East River Ferry service, and Governors Island, including the public island’s Battery Maritime Building ferry waiting room.

The remaining $422,895 is being disbursed as follows: Greater ­Bridgeport Transit District, Bridgeport, CT, $21,783; ­Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, ­Boston, $344,311; Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, ­Providence, $1,179; and Connecticut DOT, $55,622 just for ­Connecticut Transit bus-related expenses. FTA previously allocated $2.8 million to MTA Metro-North ­Railroad for commuter rail service ­serving southwestern Connecticut.

More information is available here.

In New York, Building a Sea Wall

As MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) works to restore A Line subway service to Far Rockaway, where Hurricane Sandy caused extensive flooding and track damage, the agency is also pursuing a second line of defense: construction of a seawall.

Using $38 million in federal funds, NYC Transit is installing tall strips of sheet steel along two miles of the A Line right-of-way, on the Jamaica Bay side of the flats along Broad Channel.

“We’re taking 40-foot-long strips of metal and piling them down about 33 feet below ground,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “That leaves seven feet of the wall above ground—not enough to prevent water from coming onto the right-of-way, but enough to prevent washouts of the ground under the right-of-way. The wall also will prevent any type of debris from entering right-of-way and landing on the tracks.”

The reconstruction project also includes restoration of track along the route and installation of rebuilt right-of-way. “Right now, we’re working on signals and, the most labor-intensive piece, replacing cable,” Ortiz said. “Sandy destroyed hundreds of thousands of feet of cable along the right-of-way, all the way to Rockaway Park.” NYC Transit hopes to restore full s­ervice on the A Line by the end of June.

According to Ortiz, Sandy drove water inland over the tracks from two sides—the bay and a man-made pond on the opposite side—and washed out the roadbed underneath the tracks. The major damage occurred between the at-grade Broad Channel Station and the above-ground Howard Beach Station, and four stations remain out of service.

At present, NYC Transit is supplementing local bus service along the corridor with a free bus shuttle and a special shuttle train.

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Kevin Ortiz

NYC Transit employees construct and install a sheet wall along Broad Channel that will protect A Line tracks from future storm surges and debris.

Take Me Out...on Public Transit


METRO light rail in Phoenix provided convenient opening day transportation to Chase Field for baseball fans attending the Arizona Diamondbacks' April 1 game. The home team defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-2.

UTA Breaks Ground for TOD in Layton

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City broke ground March 21 at the site of the Kays Crossing transit-oriented development (TOD) in Layton. The location of this private multi-family development is immediately adjacent to a future FrontRunner commuter rail station.

When complete in approximately 12-14 months, Kays Crossing will offer 156 one- and two-bedroom units just north of the Layton FrontRunner Station platform. The TOD site, comprising approximately 2.75 acres, also includes two levels of covered parking (one underground) and 2,400 square feet of street-level retail.

UTA is one of several partners in the creation of Kays Crossing; the agency owned a portion of the land where the development will be located and worked with the developer, MV Properties, to finalize the reshaping of the property and land sale. Another participant in the process, the Layton City Redevelopment Agency, committed $750,000 in Redevelopment Housing Funds to assist in project financing and bring residential uses to historic downtown Layton.

“This is the first time UTA has been able to reconfigure a park-and-ride to allow a private developer to construct a TOD adjacent to a FrontRunner station and potentially increase UTA ridership,” said Christina Oliver, UTA’s TOD Department manager. “MV Properties and Layton City have focused on the transit accessibility of this site since the inception of this development plan. It has been an unprecedented partnership between public and private entities and now a true transit-oriented development will be constructed, the development which I believe will be a model for future endeavors along UTA’s transit corridors.”

UTA also plans for development of more locations similar to Kays Crossing along both its FrontRunner and TRAX light rail lines.

Breaking ground at the site of the future Kays Crossing TOD are, from left, Layton City Councilmembers Joyce Brown and Jory Francis; Jared Nielson, Kays Crossing developer and manager of MV Properties; Davis Chamber President Jim Smith; UTA General Manager Michael Allegra; Christopher M. Conabee, managing director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development; Councilmembers Scott Freitag and Mike Bouwhuis; and Zions Bank representatives Matthew Marr, commercial loan officer; James Wakefield, senior real estate regional manager; and John Bergstedt, senior vice president.

Transportation Diversity Council Honors Castillo

 
Photo by Don Worthy

APTA Chair Flora Castillo, center, a member of the New Jersey Transit Corporation Board of Directors, was recently honored by the Transportation Diversity Council (TDC) for her efforts to strengthen public transportation’s outreach to women and minorities and for her dedication to the industry. She received the award during the TDC’s Transportation Infrastructure Summit: Focus on Sandy Recovery in New York City. Castillo is a founding board member of TDC, a national not-for-profit corporation that supports a diversified workforce of transportation and construction professionals. From left: back row, Lewis Askew Jr., Graves, Horton, Askew & Johns, LLC; Luis Lugo, the PACO Group; Jeffrey Smalls, Smalls Electrical Construction Inc.; Connie Crawford, the Louis Berger Group; Maria Lugo, I.A.M. Supplies; Jim Harding Jr., former member, MTA Board of Directors; Herman Ross II, National Insurance Consultants Inc.; and Eugene Hucks and Tracy Bowdwin, MTA New York City Transit; front row, Thalia Panton, MTA New York City Transit; Stephanie Dawson, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; TDC President and CEO Dwayne C. Sampson; Castillo; Mysore Nagaraja, Spartan Solutions; and Keith Paris, Westchester Department of Public Works.

N.Y. MTA Introduces Small Business Program

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has awarded the first contract to a company participating in its new Federal Small Business Mentoring Program, created last year to foster small business participation in MTA contracting.

Under the $1.88 million contract, the Urban Group Ltd., an MTA-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) based in Woodhaven, Queens, will build facilities in Grand Central Terminal that will be part of the East Side Access megaproject.

The MTA’s Federal Small Business Mentoring Program is a set of initiatives that provide a supportive framework to help eligible small businesses including DBEs establish stable, long-term ­business relationships with the MTA as they develop and grow. The program’s components provide direct prime contract opportunities, access to small business loans, surety bonding assistance, technical assistance, and classroom construction training.

The purpose of the MTA program, which has received federal approval, is to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses including MTA-certified DBEs. The focus and goal is to develop a larger pool of qualified contractors, reduce MTA construction costs, and ultimately create local middle-class jobs within the small business community.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has established an overall goal of 20 percent participation by minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) for state agencies. The MTA has exceeded that goal, with 26 percent of its $590 million in state-funded contracts awarded to certified MWBEs in the most recent nine-month reporting period.

In addition to expanding opportunities to historically disadvantaged communities, the program expands the overall pool of businesses that are bidding for MTA contracts. It provides direct prime construction contracts up to $3 million.

The New York State-funded Small Business Mentoring program was created in 2010 following enabling legislation introduced in the New York State Senate by John L. Sampson and in the New York State Assembly by Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright.

Bragdon Is New Executive Director of Transit Center Inc.

Transit Center Inc. has named David Bragdon its new executive director.

Bragdon is a specialist in urban and regional planning, urban transportation, and sustainability issues. He served two four-year terms as the president of the Metro Council, the elected metropolitan planning organization for the Portland, OR, region, from 2003-2010. More recently, he directed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, managing the update of the city’s sustainable growth and ­infrastructure strategy, PlaNYC.

Transit Center Inc., founded at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the mid-1980s as an incubator and provider of pre-tax commuter benefits, sold the TransitChek program to Wage Works in January 2012. Its board of directors is committed to using the resources from that transaction and its national contacts within the public transit industry to expand the organization’s mission to support the growth of sustainable mobility and transit ridership.

Burke Dies; Past CEO of Los Angeles Metro

Julian Burke, 85, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (now Los Angeles Metro) from 1997 to 2001, died March 30.

Burke had been a corporate turnaround specialist with Victor Palmieri Associates for more than 20 years when he came to the agency as interim CEO in August 1997. He accepted the position on a permanent basis the following spring.

During Burke’s tenure, Los Angeles Metro shored up its finances and worked closely with its funding partners in ­Sacramento and Washington. The agency also overhauled its bus system and completed the final leg of the Metro Rail subway within budget and six months ahead of schedule.

At the time Burke announced his plans to step down in 2001, Yvonne ­Brathwaite Burke (no relation), then LACMTA board chair, said: “I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Julian Burke transformed the MTA. This is a much more stable agency and one that has a much better customer focus than the MTA that existed before Julian became CEO.”

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

Bendix Welcomes Sen. Brown

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC welcomed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to its headquarters in Elyria, OH, on March 29. Brown is a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees public transit issues.

During his visit, the senator met with members of the Bendix senior leadership team, spoke with more than 70 employees in a round-table dialogue, and experienced some of Bendix’s technologies firsthand in an on-road demonstration.

“It was our pleasure to host Sen. Brown and we appreciate his support of our manufacturing and technology innovations. The senator is also a true safety advocate who shares our passion for increasing the safety of all those who share our busy North American highways,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president and chief executive officer. “We welcome the senator’s interest in our operations and our technologies, as well as his continuing commitment to issues shaping today’s business environment and, in particular, issues impacting the safety of trucks, tractor-trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles.”

Fred Andersky, left, Bendix director of governmental affairs, drives Sen. Sherrod Brown during an on-road demonstration at the Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems headquarters in Elyria, OH.

L.A. Metro Safety Event Focuses on Suicides, Distracted Behavior

Officials of Los Angeles Metro joined suicide prevention experts, law enforcement, and passenger safety ambassadors March 15 at the Metro Blue Line Vernon Station to host a special event focusing on suicides and accidents on the light rail line. Many of these incidents involve pedestrians who ignore or go around gates and other safety warning devices, with tragic consequences.

According to the agency, the Metro Blue Line carries about 27 million boarding passengers annually along a 22-mile alignment that stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. Train versus motor vehicle accidents have shown a steady decline over the past 23 years since service began, but pedestrian incidents remain a stubborn problem with suicides becoming a major concern: In 2012, four people committed suicide by jumping in front of Blue Line trains.

As a result, Los Angeles Metro entered into a partnership with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center to handle the increase by ramping up community ­outreach and intervention.

Law enforcement and safety officials at the event also urged the public to pay attention when approaching train stations and crossing the tracks and to stay behind the safety gates when they are lowered. They said they often observe pedestrians along the alignment texting, listening to music through headphones, making phone calls, drawing their hoodies low across their faces, and otherwise not being aware of their surroundings.

Los Angeles Metro recently conducted a special event to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and suicides on its Blue Line and call attention to distracted and dangerous behavior around the tracks. One such activity is this "Heads Up!" safety wrap along the length of the train.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Art Leahy!

Art Leahy
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
APTA Board of Directors
Member, Authorization Task Force
Chair, Bus Standards Policy and Planning Committee

How many people do you employ?
Los Angeles Metro employs 9,291 full-time staff, including 4,449 operators, 2,211 mechanics and maintenance people, 753 clerks, 652 transportation and maintenance supervisors, and 79 security guards, as well as 1,147 non-contract employees and 437 L.A. County sheriffs, who oversee security on our system.

How long have you worked in public transportation?
I’ve been in public transit for my entire career, spanning 42 years. I began working at Metro as a bus operator in my early 20s. I eventually was hired to study the efficiency of bus routes for the Southern California Rapid Transit District, which evolved into Metro. Later I was in charge of operating the Metro bus and rail system. Still later I was CEO of the Minneapolis-St. Paul transit agency before returning to California to become CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority in 2001. In 2009, I joined Metro as CEO.

How long have you been an APTA member?
Metro has been an APTA member forever—even before it became APTA!

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I needed a job. My father was a bus operator and Metro was hiring, so I signed on. After finishing college, I did community relations, operational analysis, and budgets and gradually got hooked by the work’s complexity and importance. I realized that Metro was a great place to work—one where I could have an impact on the organization and the area.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA resource?
In these days of limited funds and increased need, agencies across the nation must coordinate efforts to keep transit in front of the public and legislatures. APTA provides that opportunity. Through APTA, we can keep the lines of communication open, exchange ideas, make plans, and create a consensus-based message for federal advocacy. I’ve also developed friendships over the years that I treasure. And frankly, when it comes time to push a transit agenda, who better to turn to for unvarnished feedback than a friend?

What do you like most about your job?
I love everything about it—even the long hours! The work we’re doing is essential to our region’s future, largely due to something I can’t take credit for because I wasn’t here, but I’m grateful to have. Voters passed Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation, in 2008 during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It’s an exciting time to be in transit. We’re building a 21st-century system for a city we hope our children and their kids will find workable and comfortable, with clear skies and moving freeways, trains, and buses. I find this very exciting and I’m proud to be part of it.

What is unique about your agency?
L.A. is unique in that we serve as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for the entire county. Not only are we in the business of buses and trains, we fund highway projects, pedestrian amenities, and paratransit operators throughout the county.

We’re building a seamless network of travel through alliances with our transit partners, including Metrolink (the suburban rail carrier that covers Los Angeles County and four other counties) and 16 municipal operators. In the last 20 years, ridership on Metro and our partners has grown by more than 10 percent to two million-plus boardings daily.

We’ve funded hundreds of miles of bikeways, all of our buses have bike racks, and we provide bike racks and lockers at many rail stations. We’re collaborating with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to advance the statewide HSR system, with facilities at Union Station. With highway and other projects we’re helping goods move freely through our region, especially from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest in the nation. We run the most successful vanpool network in the country—1,200 vans and growing. And did I mention that to complement our fleet of 2,200 buses, we built 88 miles of rail in just over 20 years? That’s pretty good for a region that until 1990 had no rail at all.

Make sure you see Art Leahy’s video, now that you've read this!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Jeremy Rueter!

Jeremy Rueter
Web Manager
Corporate Affairs Department

What are the three job elements you focus on the most—what are your primary responsibilities?
I provide tech support for APTA’s websites. That means I create new sites, like for meetings, develop new sections for our existing sites, and help other staff members update or add new content to their sections. I’m there to help.

I’m also migrating some of APTA’s older sites to SharePoint, which is our website and content management system. APTA has several different websites. A few of the ones I work on are our main site; for the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF); our advocacy site for the general public; and for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP).

I’m also taking a look at our main site to make it an even better resource for members. I’m trying to look at it through their eyes.

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I don’t have a lot of direct contact with members, but sometimes I’ll get phone calls or e-mails from members asking a question about the website. It’s always nice to talk to members and get their insights on the website. I really appreciate their feedback.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
This February, I was part of a team that launched a website specifically for veterans. The site is a great resource center, especially for careers in public transportation. It’s been pretty heavily used so far. The first month it launched, we had about 1,000 visits.

We feature a good selection of links to other resources and they get a lot of attention; we spotlight a public transit agency once a month, and that gets a lot of hits; and we have a calendar of events that tracks career fairs around the country, and that’s really well used. I’m also working with other staff members on improvements to the websites for TCRP and APTF.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I was working at an international development consulting firm, but I was looking for something better—a new job with more responsibilities and challenges. I saw the job opening at APTA and immediately after reading the job description, I knew I wanted this job. I’ve been with APTA for about five months. I feel lucky that I got the job, and I’m very happy to be here.

Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
This is my first job in public transportation, so I learn something new every day. I helped out at the APTA Legislative Conference, so that let me have a look at some of our government affairs and advocacy issues and gave me a chance to meet more members. I also learn a lot about public transportation by working on the website every day. There’s a huge amount of content online, so I get exposed to all kinds of information. I’ve definitely learned a lot in a few months.

And since I started working at APTA, I’m much more aware of all the “moving parts” of public transportation—all its complexity. Before, I just used the Metro and didn’t give it another thought.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I’m terrified of ice skating. I tried it a few times as a kid and then again later with my wife, but I realized that I’m happy just to watch. I’m a big soccer fan and I’ve been watching the qualifying matches for the World Cup on television. I grew up in Texas, and I love Mexican food and Texas football.

Make sure you see Jeremy Rueter's video, now that you've read this!

APTA NEWS

Youth Summit, Career Day: Telling Young People About Public Transit

APTA is reaching out to students with two programs designed specifically to introduce them to the importance of public transportation to a community: the 2013 APTA Youth Summit to Advance Public Trans­portation and National Public ­Transportation Career Day.

The deadline is April 22 for high school students with an interest in ­public transportation to participate in the five-day Youth Summit in ­Washington, DC. Participants will explore the industry’s environmental benefits, how communities can prosper with increased services, the role of local and federal policies, and career opportunities.

Summit activities will include meetings with lawmakers and congressional leaders, hands-on tours of local public transit facilities, information about careers, and educational sessions showing how public transportation is helping shape a brighter future.

Find the application here. Completed applications should be e-mailed or faxed to (202) 496-4323.

May 16 is National Public Transportation Career Day—a national workforce development initiative that will introduce students in kindergarten through 12th grade to public transportation careers. APTA invites all public transit agencies, private transit companies, and business members to host activities that will showcase industry talents and expose young people to the broad array of career opportunities in the field.

Here are a few suggested activities for bringing public transportation careers to young people in communities around the country:

Elementary School ­Students
Interactive career fair – onsite/off-site, take your child to work, giveaways

Middle School Students
Career awareness programs, career fairs, interactive ­demonstrations, job shadowing, public ­transit facility tours

High School Students
Career awareness programs,  occupation discussion, information on training programs/internships; job fair – onsite/off-site, job shadowing, mock interviews/expectations for public ­transit employees, ­materials giveaways to schools, bus/rail route schedules for student travel, job listings/descriptions

More information on both the ­summit and National Public Transpor­tation Career Day is available from Cheryl Pyatt.

Register Now for ASME 2013 Joint Rail Conference

APTA is among the sponsors of JRC2013, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Joint Rail Conference, April 15-18 in Knoxville, TN.

“Next Generation Railroads, Next Generation Railroaders: Innovations and People for the Future” is the theme of the conference.
The conference includes educational sessions in the following tracks:

Railroad Infrastructure Engineering;
Rail Equipment Engineering;
Signal & Train Control Engineering;
Service Quality & Operations Research;
Planning & Development;
Safety & Security;
Energy Efficiency & Sustainability;
Electrification; and
Special Sessions.

Registration also includes breakfasts and luncheons throughout the conference; the April 16 Welcome ­Reception; and the April 17 reception and ­banquet featuring a keynote address by Charles W. (Wick) Moorman, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of ­Norfolk Southern Corporation.

More information is available here.

Calling All Students: Apply by May 31 for 2013 APTF Scholarships

Do you know a promising college junior, senior, or graduate student who’s interested in public transportation? If so, it’s time to encourage these up-and-comers to apply by May 31 for a 2013 American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) scholarship.

Click here to get a scholarship application. Winners will be announced at the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Chicago. APTF will award a minimum of 14 scholarships this year, including the new APTF BMBG/Janie Wulkan Memorial Scholarship, which will be conferred on a female student pursuing a career in public transportation.

APTF awards scholarships annually to assist students in public transit-related fields with tuition or other educational expenses. Each application must be accompanied by an endorsement from an APTA agency or business member. For details, contact Yvette Conley.

Receiving an APTF scholarship can make a difference. Marie P. Louis received the APTF Shirley A. DeLibero Scholarship at the 2012 APTA Annual Meeting and, less than a month later, was hired by the engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM). She is a third-year doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado and, with HMM, a design engineer working on projects with Denver’s Regional Transportation District.

“HMM is a long-standing member of APTA and a supporter of APTF,” said Nicholas DeNichilo, president and CEO. “We encourage a variety of young professionals via scholarship donations, new hires, intern positions, and mentorship within HMM. Marie is a very talented young engineer, and we are delighted to have her join us.”

New, Revised Standards Published

The APTA Standards Program announces the publication of four new and six revised standards during the first quarter of 2013.

The new standards documents cover fixed workstation tables in passenger rail cars, developing a gap safety management program, the process of transit procurement, and modern streetcar vehicle guidelines. The revised standards are for a continuity of operations plan, security and emergency management aspects of special event service, transit incident drills and exercises, developing a contagious virus response plan, shelter of transit vehicles and non-revenue equipment during emergencies, and why urban design matters for transit.

APTA is accepting public comments on 15 second-quarter standards until April 30. Information is available online.

COMMENTARY

Bikes and Public Transit: A Complementary Relationship

BY STEPHANIE JORDAN, Managing Editor, Transit California

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials say that in the last nine years, the number of passengers taking bicycles on board its trains has risen almost 65 percent—despite the fact that bikes are banned during peak commute times. As more customers figure out how to integrate bike and public transit travel, agencies are looking for ways to accommodate the trend. Promoting the combination of bicycling and transit is a great way for riders to make last-mile connections to work, school, and entertainment ­destinations.

For Sacramento Regional Transit (Sac RT), legislation introduced this year will help. If passed, it will allow Sac RT to replace two-position bike racks with three-position racks on its fleet of 40-foot transit buses.

“Under the vehicle code, a bicycle rack cannot extend more than 36 inches from the body of a bus (where the bus length is 40 feet) when deployed,” explains Sac RT Chief Operating Officer Mark Lonergan. “The commonly used three-position bike racks extend about 40 inches from the body of the bus. The rack we are looking at is a standard three-position rack commonly used by other transit systems in the state. We believe that three-position bicycle racks violate the vehicle code in California, when installed on a standard 40-foot transit bus, despite their widespread use in the state.”

California Vehicle Code 35400, which defines maximum allowable lengths for city buses and bike racks, already has similar exceptions for ­Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and Gold Coast Transit.

Sac RT regularly turns away bicycles when the existing two position racks are full. “We have not kept statistics on bicycle usage, but by observation I can tell you that we have a lot of use on our system by bicyclists, and that the three-position racks are supported by the local bicycle advocacy groups,” says Lonergan.

Lonergan notes that the pairing of transit and bikes is not a new trend for the agency. “In my opinion, the demand has been high and remains high for additional bicycle capacity on both our buses and our light rail trains,”  he said. He is quick to say that bicycle capacity issues on RT trains raise an entirely different set of problems, for which the proposed ­legislation will not help.

If the legislation is successful, ­Lonergan reports that the agency has funding for the three-position racks and is ready to make the switch.

Have Bike, Will Travel
Last December, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) invited media and the public to a showcase featuring the latest advances in folding bicycles. The Capitol Corridor carries over 1.75 million passengers each year and rider surveys show about 10 percent of its customers ride a bike to access trains. Folding bikes figure prominently in the CCJPA’s future plan to address safe bike storage on its trains. These bikes are encouraged on other transit systems as well.

This month [March] BART is in its second phase of “bikes on board” testing. ­During the week of March 18, ­bicycles were allowed in all stations and on all trains, all day during the test week. This is a change from the current policy that ­limits bicycle access to BART ­during commute hours. BART launched the first test phase of a modified bike access program in August 2012, when bikes were allowed on trains and in stations at all hours every Friday that month.

“Our first pilot offered us great insight, but Fridays in August tend to be slow, and another round of testing and customer feedback is required before permanent changes to our bike access policy are considered,” explains BART Board President Tom Radulovich.
Responding to input from some customers following its first pilot, BART is changing one rule during the new test period this month: No bikes are allowed in the first three cars of each train during commute hours. This rule gives more options to riders that want to avoid bikes all together. BART says for safety reasons at no time will bikes be allowed in the first car.

Other BART bike policy rules enforced during the test week include no bikes on crowded cars, yielding to disabled and senior passengers, no blocking aisles, and no bikes on escalators.

“Expanding access and parking for bicyclists encourages riders to ditch their cars, freeing up car parking spaces for those who have no other option than driving,” adds BART Board Member ­Robert Raburn.

Bike Sharing
Success­ful bike-sharing programs in ­Washington, DC, Montreal, and ­Boston complement existing transit systems by expanding the reach of transit stops and destinations, while providing locals and visitors alike with more options.

“San Francisco and the Bay Area are ready for bike sharing,” believes Ed Reiskin, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation. “Bicycle use continues to grow in San Francisco and bike share is a great way to get more people on bikes in a convenient and fun way.”

Unlike traditional, individual bike ownership or rental, public bike sharing offers users 24/7 access to bicycles for short trips without the worry of maintenance, theft, or storage. Advocates say it is ideal for short distance point-to-point trips, providing users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike station and return it to any bike station located within the system’s service area.

For the Bay Area program, bicycle stations will be located near transit hubs, high-density residential areas, and key destination points, such as employment centers and universities, making it easier to quickly and conveniently connect to and from transit and to make short-distance trips by bike. The first phase of the pilot project will launch with approximately 700 bicycles at 70 kiosk stations deployed throughout the five participating service areas for a period of 12 to 24 months of testing.

Transit plus bike enthusiasts are encouraged by the recent efforts to make the complementary relationship even easier to manage, and bike coalitions are actively promoting the transit programs and in many cases are helping with the endeavor.

Transit California is a publication of the California Transit Association. © 2013. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This version has been excerpted for length.

CLARIFICATION

Clarification

Due to an editing miscalculation, Passenger Transport Express reported the age of the London Underground as 100 years. The storied public transit system recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Also, Hector Garcia was misidentified in a caption showing APTA members participating in a White House briefing on public transit. ­Passenger Transport regrets the error.