Passenger Transport - April 19, 2013
MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D., and Richard Davey, secretary and chief executive officer, Massachusetts DOT, manage the situation April 19 in the MBTA control center.
The FBI released photos of the two suspects on April 18. Published reports indicate that the suspects robbed a convenience store later that night, then shot and killed an MIT police officer as he sat in his car. The suspects later carjacked an SUV at gunpoint and headed toward Watertown, MA, with a large number of police including the MBTA officer in pursuit. Ten other officers in the chase reported that the suspects threw grenades from the window of their vehicle.
One published report stated that Boston police have taken charge of some MBTA buses as a way to move large numbers of officers.
Public Transit Agencies Respond to Boston Bombing
In the aftermath of the near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) previously resumed rail service on the Green Line—except at Copley Station, which is located in the incident zone, where the agency has a “strong law enforcement presence,” with National Guard troops and state and local police joining transit system police.
The agency stepped up security throughout the system and on vehicles, as did many other public transportation agencies in cities across the U.S.
Following the bombing, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s police department announced an increased police presence on the MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad commuter rail systems. In addition, the New York Police Department reported that it would have an additional presence in the MTA New York City Transit subway system.
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) said both uniformed and plainclothes NJ Transit Police officers would increase their presence throughout the system.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority said its police department was working directly with federal, state, and local agencies to stay current with any potential threats. Its proactive measures included communication with local emergency management offices.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority called on all day-shift police patrol officers to remain on duty through the evening rush hour to increase the security posture of the system.
Los Angeles Metro intensified patrols following the incident and reminded passengers to be aware of their surroundings. In addition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launched a website that provides updated information on safety and security enhancements.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District mobilized additional officers throughout the system.
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City introduced TRAX light rail service to the Salt Lake City International Airport April 13 with a community celebration of the opening of the Airport TRAX Line. Regular service began April 14.
Visitors who donated non-perishable food items to the Utah Food Bank could ride free that day on the six-mile line, which begins in downtown Salt Lake City and terminates at the airport. Free activities at each of the six new stations included live performances by local artists, face painting, a petting zoo, children’s activities, and food from area restaurants. The grand opening ceremony was held in a parking lot adjacent to the North Temple FrontRunner Station.
UTA reported that the project, budgeted at $235 million, came in under budget and was completed two months ahead of schedule. The Airport Line is part of UTA’s Green Line, traveling from West Valley City, through downtown Salt Lake City and then along North Temple to the Salt Lake City International Airport.
In addition to the airport, the line will provide service to the Utah State Fair Park, the Jordan River Trail, as well as many retail businesses, offices, and neighborhoods along North Temple. It also provides a direct connection to FrontRunner commuter rail.
Airport TRAX also incorporates energy-saving features. A Blue Sky Grant from Rocky Mountain Power allows for the installation of solar panels on the platform canopies of four of the stations. The canopies were specially designed so the panels could be installed. All street light improvements and lighting for the station platforms are energy-saving LED lights.
Photo courtesy of Utah Transit Authority
What is your public transportation agency or business doing to celebrate Earth Day on April 22? It’s so easy being green!
Many APTA members are reporting several green initiatives related to vehicles, fuel, buildings, and business operations. Here are a few examples.
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority will become the first public transit agency in the U.S. to launch a bike-share program on Earth Day as citizens ride 200 bikes to bike stations located throughout the city.
King County Metro’s vanpool fleet of 1,283 vans in Seattle now includes 20 all-electric, zero-emission Nissan Leaf sedans.
The Milwaukee County Transit System is updating its bus fleet to clean diesel, near-zero-emission vehicles. The agency will add 55 new buses this year, bringing the total to 235, more than half the fleet.
CityLink (the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District) in Peoria, IL, operates all its buses with B20 biodiesel, which is partially made of soybean oil. New buses use a catalytic technology that enables the engine to clean the air as the buses travel.
Due to the temperate climate in Pompano Beach, FL, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail can use biodiesel all year.
Solar panels at select Los Angeles Metro facilities reduced energy costs by approximately $1 million and the agency’s carbon footprint by about 16,500 metric tons in 2010.
In Urbana, IL, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District uses geothermal heating and cooling systems for an administration and operations building, resulting in a 67 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction of 97.2 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually.
Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) completed energy retrofits for about 50 facilities in the past two years for a savings of nearly 7.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and just under $1 million in annual operating costs for electricity.
The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, Ann Arbor, MI, is building a new transit center that will serve as transportation hub and welcoming destination in the downtown area. It will be certified LEED Gold status when it is completed this fall.
Commuter Advertising provides environmentally friendly signage on buses and trains by leveraging existing onboard passenger information equipment to broadcast onboard waste-free messages.
By using Masabi’s JustRide mobile ticketing system on its commuter rail, MBTA has transitioned more than 15 percent of its fares away from physical tickets, reducing the environmental impact of wasted paper and plastic, eliminating litter from punched tickets, and eliminating the need to maintain ticket vending machines.
As a young woman, 100-year-old Anna “Roberta” Tolliver, right, rode Cincinnati’s streetcars; later she commuted daily on Cincinnati Metro buses for 35 years before she retired from her job at the Town Club of Cincinnati. She still rides Metro about three times a week for shopping and doctor appointments. In recognition of Tolliver’s devoted ridership, Metro Chief Executive Officer Terry Garcia Crews recently presented her with a pass good for free rides for a year.
Women leaders—those with a leadership title and those with a leadership temperament—stay in organizations that value their talents and support their careers, APTA Chair Flora Castillo said at “Articulating the Business Case for Women in Transportation,” a recent White House forum that focused on developing strategies to increase the number of female executives in the industry.
“Many public transit agencies and businesses are implementing succession planning strategies to promote and retain CEOs and other C-suite positions, and they should be commended,” Castillo said. She noted that women are chief executive officers or chief operating officers in public transit agencies of all sizes, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA Long Island Rail Road, Charlotte Area Transit System, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Miami-Dade Transit, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Sound Transit, Southwest Regional Ohio Regional Transit Authority, and San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, among others.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, a longtime champion of women in transportation, hosted the invitation-only event. Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented opening remarks.
“We face a wave of retirements, including at senior levels,” Castillo said. “At all levels, we must recruit and retain the next generation of public transit workers, create career paths that retain new workers, and take bold actions to engage diverse individuals in our industry.”
Castillo discussed APTA’s initiatives to support up-and-coming public transit leaders, including Leadership APTA; the new Early Career Program, which will launch in conjunction with the Rail Conference, June 2-5 in Philadelphia; and scholarships awarded through the American Public Transportation Foundation.
As a longtime board member of New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit), Castillo described the value of having a chief diversity officer at the agency, a position she helped create. “Since hiring our chief diversity officer, we have focused more on enhancing the culture of diversity as a business strategy,” she explained. Castillo also pointed to other NJ Transit efforts to promote and support women executives, such as ensuring that women serve on the executive management team and awarding contracts to women-owned businesses.
Senior-level women in transportation agencies and businesses, government, and non-profit organizations attended the forum, including many from APTA public transit agency and business members. Among those in attendance were Executive Committee member Rosa Navejar, president, the Rios Group; board member Evalynn Williams, president and CEO, Dikita Engineering; LIRR President Helena Williams; Cathy Connor, senior vice president, federal government affairs, Parsons Brinckerhoff; and Nancy Butler, vice president, government and federal affairs, AECOM.
In conjunction with the forum, DOT launched its “Women In Transportation” video series on YouTube featuring Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, APTA member and president and CEO of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, and a collage and timeline.
Participants at the White House forum on women in transportation, from left: LIRR President Helena Williams; Joan McDonald, commissioner, New York State DOT; Karen Hedlund, FRA deputy administrator; Susan Kurland, DOT assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs, and APTA Chair Flora Castillo.
Energy efficiency experts from the public and private sectors will gather May 20-21 in Washington, DC, for EE Global 2013, a forum that will address some of the most pressing questions related to the global economy and the environment, including strengthening investments in energy efficiency technologies, climate uncertainty, and the role of emerging markets in energy policies. The forum is hosted in part by the Alliance to Save Energy, a longtime APTA partner.
The agenda features high-level plenary sessions, breakout workshops and programs, and “executive dialogues”—interactive discussions with corporate executives, senior government officials, and industry experts. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy will discuss the role of public transportation in “Cities of Tomorrow,” an executive dialogue scheduled for May 21.
Other forum presenters include U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus; Kandeh Yumkella, executive director, United Nations Industrial Development Organization; Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and chief executive officer, Whirlpool Corp.; Carol Eicher, business president, Dow Buildings and Construction; Abdullah Al Shehri, governor of the electricity and co-generation authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Ashok Sarkar, senior energy efficiency specialist, World Bank; Elizabeth McDonald, president and chief executive officer, Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance; Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA); Jon Powers, White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Roger Flanagan, director of energy solutions, Lockheed Martin.
For more details on the forum, click here.
A recently released report from the Federal Highway Administration addresses the importance of bringing together design professionals from all modes—including public transit—when planning and developing major transportation projects.
The report, Designing for Transportation Management and Operations: A Primer, focuses on “designing for operations”: the collaborative and systematic consideration of management and operations during the project design and development process. This effort involves developing and applying design policies, procedures, and strategies that support transportation management and operations, including Intelligent Transportation Systems, traffic incident management, and freight practitioners from multiple agencies.
The full report is available here.
MTA New York City Transit resumed service April 4 on the 1 subway line to South Ferry Station by reopening a closed loop platform while the main station continues repairs necessitated by Hurricane Sandy.
“Reopening the ‘new’ old South Ferry Station means that our customers who live on Staten Island have an easier time to connect to the No. 1 subway rather than walk half a mile up to Rector Street,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer, who was on hand for the reopening. “We don’t want to leave any of our customers behind. This was an important thing to do.”
The return of service to the southern tip of Manhattan is expected to ease commutes for more than 10,000 daily riders, including Staten Island Ferry passengers, while rebuilding efforts continue.
The reopened old station, which was taken out of service in 2009, is located directly above the damaged “new” station. It is on a sharp curve, requiring movable platform edge extenders to bridge gaps between the platform and the cars, and it can accommodate only five cars of a 10-car subway train.
Work to reopen the old station included opening a new connection point between the new station mezzanine and the old loop station. Work crews also restored two escalators and installed electrical feeds, closed-circuit television systems to monitor the platform, customer assistance intercoms, security cameras, and radio communications in the dispatcher’s office. They restored lighting in the station, repaired and repainted the station walls, and created a new fare control area.
Sandy’s storm surge in October 2012 sent 15 million gallons of salt water into the new South Ferry Station, destroying all electrical and mechanical systems and components and flooding the structure from the track level to the mezzanine, a depth of 80 feet.
Photo courtesy of New York MTA
Wendel, a design and construction firm headquartered in Buffalo, NY, has named Stewart C. Haney, P.E. LEED AP, PMP, as its president/chief executive officer.
In addition, former Chief Executive Officer Anthony W. McKenna, P.E., will assume the role of chairman of the board this summer and the current chairman, David C. Duchscherer, P.E., will become chairman emeritus. McKenna has led the firm for more than 20 years and will continue to be active.
Duchscherer will remain on Wendel’s board and will continue his involvement on projects.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Board of Directors in Providence has selected Raymond B. Studley to serve as its chief executive officer.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee placed Studley, a 22-year veteran of the Rhode Island State Police and its former deputy superintendent chief of field operations, in charge of RIPTA in August 2012. The previous CEO, Charles Odimgbe, left the agency earlier this year.
Helen L. Callier
Member, APTA Business Member Board of Governors; Business Member Small Business Committee; and Sustainability Committee
How many people are employed in your business?
Bradlink, a technical services firm in business for more than 10 years, provides program management, operations and maintenance, automated fare collection, and facilities design services. It employs 25 team members.
How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I’ve worked in the public transportation industry for more than 20 years. This includes my indirect experience while working as a technical services manager with GE Plastics, producing resins for bus and rail vehicle components, and then as president of Bradlink working directly for public transit agencies and private clients.
How long have you been an APTA member?
I’ve been involved with APTA since 2004.
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
Some consider it a career, but I think of it as part of my DNA. Playing a role in the transportation industry is a natural progression for me after growing up in a family auto-repair business that included working on public transit agency vehicles.
As a kid, I followed my Dad around with a wrench in my hand. Later I worked on cars and then, subsequently, obtained my bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.
After many years in corporate America, and now running Bradlink for more than 10 years, it is no surprise that our key focus and revenue generation comes from public transportation.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—the one that helps you run your business more effectively?
Being involved in the Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) provides the greatest benefit to our firm because it provides us with keen market insights, information on legislative changes, and—most important—it allows us to nurture relationships with the transportation industry organizations and corporations in North America and around the globe. The value of these longtime industry relationships is priceless. The information shared offers a unique perspective on industry standards, needed legislation, and creative transportation solutions.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
As the president of Bradlink and the firm’s chief leader of business development, sales, and marketing efforts, the connections I make during BMBG meetings have assisted in growing our business in the transportation industry.
What do you like most about your job?
It is more than a job. Running a small business in the transportation industry is as exhilarating today as it was when I was a kid learning to fix vehicles. It is exciting to know and see projects that we have worked on help make our communities a better place to live, work, play, and pray.
Also, I enjoy listening to riders, developing strategies to solve challenges, and leading a team of dedicated people who help to move our nation, continent, and the world.
What is unique about your business—what would readers be surprised to learn?
We live and breathe the transportation marketplace! This immersion enables us to be a highly valuable resource to our clients and serve as their go-to resource.
Also, the firm’s team members are repeat users of public transit, which gives us keen insights and a creative edge on solving the transportation challenges that ultimately improve our quality of life across communities. We also use game-changing tools such as social media as an additional way to listen to passengers’ experiences. Subsequently, we’re able to leverage this information with our know-how and project experience to quickly serve our public and private transportation clients.
Make sure you see Helen L. Callier’s video, now that you've read this!
Member Services Department
What are the job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
I manage the logistics for a variety of APTA meetings and conferences. That is, I work with the conference hotel and oversee setups including reservations, beverage service, audio-visual requirements, and contracting. I’m onsite for all major APTA meetings—Bus & Paratransit, Rail, and the Annual Meeting—and some of the smaller ones.
At the major meetings, every member of the meetings staff has a distinct role. For example, I’m doing the logistics for the Bus Conference and Heather Rachels is in charge of registration. For a smaller meeting, I might spend most of my time in registration during the first day, then check room arrangements and beverage setups on the subsequent days.
We also have some responsibility for the Products and Services Showcases at the major meetings: taking booth reservations, making sure the exhibitors have the support they need.
As a meeting planner, I learned early in my career to be ready for unexpected surprises, to think quickly, and to be flexible to changing conditions. At the Light Rail Conference last November in Salt Lake City, it began snowing really heavily for most of the three-day meeting. We got a foot or so of snow by the time it stopped, and flights were being canceled and delayed at the airport. We had about 350 people attending that conference, and I began working with several hotel employees and our members to make sure that we could arrange for hotel reservations for anyone who needed to stay an additional night because their flight was canceled. To my knowledge no one was turned away if they had a reservation.
Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about recent times you’ve helped out a member.
Absolutely, every day. We take the calls that come in asking questions about various meetings. Callers might want to know the basics of where and when the meeting will be held, how to register, how to book hotel rooms, the overall schedule, what the meeting itself is about, and what sort of public transit professionals will attend. I see a lot of familiar faces at the meetings where I work.
What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
Personally, I try to be as paperless as possible in preparing for a meeting. In the old days, members of the meetings staff would travel with a huge binder with all the necessary materials, specs, banquet event orders. I try to do as much of that electronically as possible, so I can keep track of everything on my iPad.
I just finished working on the Fare Collection/TransITech conference. I was pleased with this year’s conference because it was even better attended than last year. I was able to do that meeting from A to Z and didn’t have to worry about any surprises.
How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I had been working for a consulting firm for 10 years and was looking for an opportunity to return to working in an association environment. I’ve worked for APTA for just over a year and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the industry and my co-workers.
Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
I haven’t worked in public transportation before, but I’ve spent my entire career in the meetings industry. I worked with 15-20 different accounts at the consulting firm: mostly associations, but also a few federal contracts and corporate clients. That company provided a variety of meeting planning services, contracting, and logistics.
What professional affiliations do you have?
I am a member of the Professional Convention Management Association and a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional).
Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I have a tattoo on my right arm of my favorite soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur. Earlier this month, I went to London just for the weekend to see them play.
Make sure you see Marcus Eng’s video, now that you've read this!
In anticipation of the St. Louis Cardinals’ new baseball season, Metro in St. Louis recently dedicated an 18-foot-long aluminum sculpture with a baseball and Gateway Arch theme at the MetroLink light rail Stadium Station.
Metro installed the artwork, “Out of the Park,” as part of a commitment to upgrade light rail stations in the original part of the alignment. The design—created by Jennifer Andrews and Gregg LeFevre from the Andrews/LeFevre Studios in New York City—shows a baseball bouncing down the median between the Stadium Station MetroLink tracks, leaving a pattern of bounces that echoes the shape of the Gateway Arch.
“We are very excited about the new artwork at the Stadium MetroLink Station,” said David Allen, director of the Metro Arts in Transit Program. “It absolutely nails the public art trinity of time, place, and action for the thousands of baseball fans at the Stadium Station.”
Andrews said, “One of the things we found over and over while researching the history of baseball in St. Louis is the devotion of its fan base. St. Louis is a city that really supports her home team, and baseball is tightly woven into the thread of civic life in a deep and historic way."
The $50,000 sculpture is the second of 10 Metro Arts in Transit projects scheduled to be created and installed at Metro Transit locations over the next few years.
Posing in front of “Out of the Park,” the new artwork at St. Louis’ Stadium Station, are, from left, John M. Nations, president and chief executive officer, St. Louis Metro; artist Jennifer Andrews of Andrews/LeFevre Studios; and Dan Farrell, St. Louis Cardinals senior vice president, sales and marketing.
The SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, CA, recently broke ground for its new Administration Building and Transit Hub. The 25,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2014.
Funds for this project come from FTA, the California Transportation Development Act, and California Proposition 1B.
The construction project will bring jobs to the Coachella Valley. The bid required that the winning bidder—Doug Wall Construction—perform at least 10 percent of the work, which amounts to slightly more than $1 million for the firm. Firms throughout the valley are expected to see $5.7 million in subcontracted work.
Breaking ground for the SunLine Transit Agency’s Administration Building and Transit Hub are, from left, Jaqueline Lopez, representing state Assemblyman Manuel Perez; Marc Troast, district director for Assemblyman Brian Nestande; Joseph Pradetto, legislative assistant to Supervisor John J. Benoit; SunLine General Manager C. Mikel Oglesby; Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks, also vice chair of the SunLine Board of Directors; Greg Pettis, a member of the Cathedral City Council; and general contractor Doug Wall.
Local workers make up the bulk of employees building the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s (BART) Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), and—thanks to a newly awarded BART grant—some of those workers will come from an apprentice program aimed at training young Oakland men and women looking to learn a trade.
The agency presented the grant of almost $34,000 to the Oakland-based Cypress Mandela Training Center to employ a young and diverse workforce made up of the city’s residents.
“Most faces behind the columns and infrastructure being built right now along Hegenberger Road are from Oakland or one of the surrounding communities,” said BART Board Member Robert Raburn, whose district includes Oakland. “This apprentice program isn’t just about hiring local, it’s about training our future workforce and following through on our commitment to the community.”
To date, the OAC project has met or exceeded nearly all local hiring goals. The project contract calls for 50 percent of the hours to be worked by “local residents” (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties) and 25 percent from residents of Oakland. As of Jan. 31, 984 people have worked more than 339,426 hours building the connector; 69 percent of those hours were worked by local residents and 26 percent by Oakland residents.
“The BART grant will help the Cypress Mandela Training Center fulfill its mission to connect the community with local projects,” said Art Shanks, director of the training center. “We will collaborate with community partners to identify potential clients who want to join the workforce and those already in the unions who need assistance reinstituting themselves for future, skilled jobs.”
The grant is a product of a Project Stabilization Agreement negotiated when BART awarded the contract for the OAC project. The agency’s partners include the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and OAC contractor Flatiron Construction & Parsons Transportation Joint Venture.
The agreement required that the contractor fund an account to support local workforce development, placement, and retention.
Five public transportation-related companies—ABB, AECOM, CH2M HILL, Cummins Inc., and Parsons Corporation—are among the 145 “2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies” (WME) recently announced by the Ethisphere Institute. The annual list, now in its seventh year, highlights companies from around the world that outperform industry peers when it comes to ethical behavior.
“Not only did more companies apply for the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition this year than any year in the past—which demonstrates that ethical activity is an important part of many of these companies’ business models—but we are also seeing more companies be proactive and create new initiatives that expand ethics programs and cultures across entire industries, such as industry-based ethics associations and other activities,” said Alex Brigham, executive director of Ethisphere. “We are excited to see the 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies take these leadership positions, and embrace the correlation between ethical behavior and improved financial performance.”
Ethisphere reviewed nominations from companies in more than 100 countries and 36 industries. The methodology for the World’s Most Ethical Companies includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation, and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers, and customers.
The complete list is available here.
Long Beach Transit (LBT) held a customer appreciation event in honor of the system’s recent 50th anniversary.
The event at Promenade Park in downtown Long Beach, CA, featured LBT memorabilia on display, giveaways, refreshments, a DJ playing music from the past 50 years, and live entertainment.
“We are a much different bus company than we were 50 years ago. We have quadrupled the number of passengers we serve while maintaining some of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry,” said LBT Board Chair Barbara Sullivan-George.
The program also included staff demonstrations on how to ride the bus, including the step-by-step process of using the bike racks on the front of the vehicle.
BY JARED GREEN, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects
For the daily subway, rail, or bus rider, accessibility is a huge issue. If a public transit system is difficult to use, then people simply stop using it unless they have no other options. This is equally true for those walking or biking to mass transit.
At the recent American Planning Association (APA) conference in Chicago, transportation planners Daniel Goodman and Roswell Eldridge, Toole Design Group; Adrienne Smith-Reiman, city of Boston; and Matthew Zych, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), discussed ways to create better systems for people who access public transit on foot or bike.
In Boston, explained Smith-Reiman, Connect Historic Boston, a program in its early planning stages, aims to make all the historic National Park Service sites in downtown Boston and Charlestown more easily accessible to tourists and locals. Downtown Boston can be intimidating, with its mess of tiny streets and lack of signage. To encourage navigation and “discovery” of the area, the National Park Service, the city of Boston, and local organizations are trying to understand the current problems and deal with them.
Tourists can get around via the T, ferries, water taxis, trolleys, or the local bike-share system. However, a tourist can get out of the T line one block from Faneuil Hall and totally miss it. One project will “reactivate” the spaces around the station, making transit to historic sites easier.
The Connect Historic Boston team plans several improvements, including developing a set of guidelines that can guide preliminary design improvements, a comprehensive physical and digital plan to develop a kit that can be distributed to the city agencies involved, street art, a transportation quest (a kind of game), transportation-related curricula for kids, and websites to show people how to access the area.
In Durham, North Carolina, Eldridge described a pilot study for the Department of Transportation that yielded new guidelines and design for bus stops and identified the importance of coordinating all the different government agencies that deal with aspects of the system. One agency is in charge of plotting where stops are, while another deals with streets, and yet another is in charge of sidewalks. With all these different groups involved, system planners had to address conflicting standards and policies and, with a shared vision, different agencies were able to reconcile conflicting approaches.
The team then conducted a users survey, getting the best data out of “on-board intercepts.” Through the survey, they found that 74 percent were using the bus to go to work or home, 16 percent were going shopping, and 10 percent were going to school. Some 84 percent of riders didn’t own a car. Their issues were safety, access, and comfort. To improve safety, riders wanted more lighting at bus stops and shelters. To improve access, they wanted sidewalks they could use and stops free of utility poles and other impediments. To make waiting more comfortable, riders wanted shelters with seating.
The next step was surveying the system to identify fixes. Given tight budgets, only $5 million could be spent on access improvements. But still, now there’s a model in place that all vendors building bus stops must replicate for new stops.
To improve pedestrian and bicycle access for D.C.’s Metro system, the second largest subway system in the U.S., it’s important to understand capacity and convenience.
Metro provides about 750,000 trips a day, the city’s 1,500 buses provide 450,000 trips daily, and paratransit another 8,000 trips. During the morning peak where about 250,000 trips occur, 37 percent of riders walk to the Metro, 26 percent park and ride, 24 percent take the bus to a station, and only 1 percent bike to a station. Given that WMATA wants to increase the number of bicycle commuters to 2 percent by 2020, the system needs to improve its bicycle access while making it still easier for pedestrians.
Zych said there are system-wide goals but different stations have different issues. A bicycle census in the district found that bike riders live in certain neighborhoods, so some stations will need ample bicycle parking while others won’t need any at all.
Some $25 million in pedestrian and bicycle access improvements were identified, but only $7 million in financing was available, so again, tough decisions had to be made about priorities. Asking stakeholders about their priorities, Metro found that 60 percent of riders want improved safety and security, so the system created safer crossings for some stations to separate vehicles from pedestrians and installed new raised sidewalks. For bicycle security, one station created an enclosed, limited access space bicyclists can use to secure their bikes. In addition, system planners retrofitted some stairs with a bike channel running alongside the steps. This means no more lugging bicycles up stairs. Bicyclists can simply roll it up the incline while walking up the stairs.
Eldridge encouraged public transit planners and designers in other communities to make pedestrian and bicycle access improvements. Given that the federal government only requires that 1 percent of transportation project funds go to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, those interested in access clearly have to get creative in creating access and finding money to do it.
The Dirt is a blog published by the American Society of Landscape Architects. © 2013. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This version has been edited for length.
The 2013 APTA Rail Conference, June 2-5 in Philadelphia, features several new sessions this year focused on training for frontline employees, passenger rail safety, careers for veterans, and funding strategies for public transit.
On June 4, the conference will feature “Investing in Technical Training for Frontline Employees,” which builds on APTA’s adopted training standards for rail maintenance occupations including elevator and escalators, vehicles, signals, and traction power.
This interactive session highlights a new program recently funded by FTA. Under this program, the Transportation Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that offers training partnerships to improve organizational and workforce performance, will collaborate with a consortium of APTA member rail transportation agencies and unions to develop courseware for rail signals training.
Another new session, “All Aboard! FRA’s New Clear Signal for Action (CSA) Program for Passenger Railroads,” on June 5 explores risk reduction methods for addressing accidents due to human factors, the largest category of accidents in the railroad industry. The CSA program could help develop commuter railroads’ System Safety Plans, which are required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
The Mineta Transportation Institute’s (MTI) National Transportation Finance Center will host a pre-conference summit on June 1, “Mineta National Policy Summit on Transportation Finance: Catching Up With the Rest of the World.” This program will focus on the most recent results of MTI’s public opinion poll to assess how Americans feel about various federal funding mechanisms for transportation infrastructure. (See last year’s report.)
The conference also features a Veteran’s Job Fair June 4 at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, starting at 3 p.m. The job fair, co-sponsored by APTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, will highlight career paths in public transportation including management, operations, maintenance, engineering, and manufacturing. The Hiring Our Heroes program has hosted more than 430 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with more than 18,400 veterans and military spouses obtaining employment. The job fair is an outgrowth of APTA’s Military/Transportation Cooperative Initiative Task Force. Employers and job seekers can find registration details here.
The June 1 opening reception, sponsored by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the host agency for the conference, will be held in the Great Stair Hall of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Conference attendees will have private access to two galleries.
In other conference news, APTA will apply for continuing education units/accreditation for several sessions.
For additional details, go to the conference website.
A new publication from the APTA Business Member Board of Governors, Open for Business: The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation, focuses on the issues critical to private investors as they consider the public transportation industry as an investment destination.
Public transportation is a $57 billion industry in the U.S. and an attractive market for both public and private investment. The report looks at the steady growth of public transit in recent decades and suggests that long-term economic and social trends—population, energy, public choice, and a generational shift in travel behavior—point to more rapid growth in the future.
The report also stresses increasing interest in high-performance intercity passenger rail, including high-speed rail, in the U.S.
The brochure is targeted to the business community and may have particular interest from a number of entities that include local Chambers of Commerce, architects, small businesses, and those interested in investing in sustainable communities.
The report, in PDF format, is available here.
The APTA Standards Program is seeking comments on several new and revised standards covering a wide range of issues and topics.
The program is accepting public comments until April 30 on these topics:
* Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
* Rail Transit Vehicle Pre-Departure Inspection
* Battery Systems Periodic Inspections and Maintenance
* Third Rail Current Collection Equipment Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
* Pantograph Current Collection Equipment Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
* Troubleshooting Transit Bus Air Systems
* Transit Bus In-Service Brake System Performance Testing
* Transit Bus Brake Shoe Rebuild
* Creating a Transit Asset Management Program
* Defining a Transit Asset Management Framework to Achieve a State of Good Repair
* Equipment and Technology for Public Transit
* Securing Control and Communications Systems in Rail Transit Environments
* Sensitive Security Information Protocols for Transit Systems
* Public Security Awareness Programs
* Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects
For details and to leave comments, click here.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is accepting proposals through May 10 for the Transit IDEA Program, which supports the development and testing of innovative concepts and methods for advancing transit practice. The Transit IDEA Program is funded by FTA as part of the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), a cooperative effort of FTA, TRB, and APTA.
IDEA stands for Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis. The program provides funds of up to $100,000 at an early stage of the development process for promising but unproven innovative concepts or methods.
TRB particularly suggests proposals that address any of these high-priority focus areas: improving public transit safety or security, improving transit capital or operating efficiencies, increasing ridership, or protecting the environment and promoting energy independence.
The program announcement, which includes instructions for preparing and submitting IDEA proposals, is available here.
More information is available from Harvey Berlin.
ARLINGTON, VA—Sandy Bushue, president and owner of B&I Transportation Consulting LLC, has been named to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. She is one of two board members appointed by the governor, serving alongside mayors/chairs of the nine cities and counties encompassed by the authority and legislators from the Virginia House and Senate.
Bushue has more than 25 years of experience in the transportation industry. She was FTA acting administrator and deputy administrator and special assistant to the undersecretary of administration with the Department of Homeland Security.
She also held private sector executive positions at Siemens USA, last serving as vice president for business development, transportation, and homeland security.
For APTA, she is a member of the High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Committee, Legislative Committee, and Public-Private Partnerships Committee.
LOMBARD, IL—Veolia has named Ryan Larsen president of its new IntelliRide division, which covers paratransit, medical services, and other shared ride human services.
A 28-year transit veteran, Larsen joins Veolia’s IntelliRide after serving as president of Ecolane, a firm providing web-based software for managing paratransit. Earlier he was president and founder of Local Motion ITS Inc. and vice president of DynTek.
Larsen also has held several jobs with public transit agencies, from service lane worker and driver to general manager.
He is a member of the APTA Access Committee and APTA Older Adults Transportation Subcommittee.
ROSEMONT, IL—Sapa Extrusions North America has named Matthias Kapp automotive application engineer at its North American Technical Center. He will be based in Detroit.
Prior to joining Sapa, Kapp served as senior application engineer at -Schaeffler Group, where he developed a new product, was awarded numerous patents related to Variable Camshaft Timing design, and led a cross-functional international team of 15 to coordinate and build a new plant in the United States.
PASADENA, CA—Maintenance Design Group LLC announces the hiring of Kai Fishman, RA, CLARB, LEED AP, as senior facility designer.
Fishman has more than a decade of experience in transportation architecture and planning projects.
Ron Tober, Diane O'Keefe, Newel Jensen, Ronald L. Freeland, Lane Fernandes, Brett Wallace, Peter Denitz
NEW YORK, NY—Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has announced the following appointments:
Ron Tober, chief executive officer of the Charlotte Area Transit System from 1999 to 2007 and APTA chair in 2000-2001, has joined PB as a senior advisor, based in the firm’s Charlotte office.
Tober has 43 years of experience in public transportation, most recently with InfraConsult LLC. He has held leadership positions at public transit agencies including Sound Transit in Seattle, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, King County Metro Transit in Seattle, and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in Springfield, MA.
For APTA, Tober is a current member of the Legislative Committee, Rail Transit Committee, and Streetcar Subcommittee and an honorary member of the APTA Board of Directors. He served eight years on the APTA Executive Committee and received APTA’s Outstanding Public Transit Manager of the Year award in 2005.
Diane O’Keefe has been named vice president and Illinois area manager, based in PB’s Chicago office. She joins the firm after a 30-year career with Illinois DOT, most recently serving as deputy director of highways for Region One, which consists of six counties, 265 municipalities, and 100 townships.
Newel Jensen has been named a senior transit and highway design engineer in the company’s Murray, UT, office. He is a former design manager for a consulting firm and a design engineer with Utah DOT.
Ronald L. Freeland, executive secretary/chief executive officer of the Maryland Transportation Authority from 2007 to 2010, has joined PB’s strategic consulting group as a principal consultant.
He will also continue to serve as chief executive officer of Detroit DOT, a role he has held since February 2012 as a subcontractor under a PB contract. Freeland has worked in the transportation industry for 25 years.
Lane Fernandes has been named a senior principal technical specialist in the San Diego office of PB. He served 17 years at the North County Transit District in Oceanside, CA, most recently as chief operations officer.
Brett Wallace has been named a senior supervising planner in the firm’s Charlotte office. He is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2010 who worked at other national consulting firms for 15 years before joining PB.
Peter Denitz is rejoining PB as manager-special projects in the firm’s Transit and Rail Technical Excellence Center in -Philadelphia. He has more than 30 years of experience as a transportation and -public transit planning professional, serving in government and as a consultant on behalf of public and private clients. Most recently he was a vice president and director of planning for the Northeast Region of a major engineering consulting firm.
Sam A. Hout
DENVER, CO—Sam A. Hout, P.E., has joined CH2M HILL as senior vice -president for transportation in Southern California. He will be based in the company’s Santa Ana, CA, office.
Hout brings more than 30 years of experience to his new post. He has previously worked as vice president of business/project development with nationally and internationally recognized firms and as chairman and chief executive officer of his own company, specializing in program management and design oversight for public and private clients.
FARIBAULT, MN—ABC Companies announced the appointment of Mike Richardson as parts territory sales manager for the Southern Region. His territory will include Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Richardson has more than 33 years of experience in the coach industry. He began his career with Carrollton Bus Company as a driver and mechanic. He then spent the next 25 years with Motor Coach Industries, starting out as shop manager and ending his tenure as parts and service manager for the South Central Region. Most recently, he was driver training and maintenance manager for the -Tornado Bus Company.
CINCINNATI, OH—First Transit has promoted Jeremy Brown to director of business development, based in Las Vegas.
Brown has been with First Transit since 2002 and has worked in the transportation industry since 1998. In his new position, he will focus on expanding the company’s shuttle services.
Prior to this position, he was general manager in Las Vegas, managing the overall operations of the McCarran Rent-a-Car Shuttle System at McCarran International Airport.