Passenger Transport - July 26, 2013
(Print All Articles)

BREAKING NEWS

Obama: Funding Public Transit 'the Smart Thing to Do'

President Barack Obama referenced the importance of public transportation infrastructure in remarks July 25 in Jacksonville, FL. Obama cited “a bipartisan bill in the Senate to fund critical improvements in our highways and our bridges, our transit and rail systems, and our ports like this one” as he spoke at the Port Terminal Building.

He called on the House to take quick action on the bill, adding: “Let's get more Americans back on the job doing the work America needs done. That will be good for middle-class families. That will be good for middle-class security. That will be good for homeownership. That will be good for education. That is the smart thing to do. Let's get past politics and do it.”

The speech was part of a series of speeches on the economy the president is giving around the U.S.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama talks with DOT Anthony Foxx aboard Air Force One during the flight to Jacksonville, FL, on July 25.

Congress Schedules Action on THUD Appropriations

The Senate will continue consideration of S. 1243, that chamber’s version of the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, on Monday, July 29.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that the House will take up H.R. 2610, its version of the THUD bill, on  July 30.

NEWS HEADLINES

Foxx, Trottenberg Testify at Congressional Hearings

New DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and Polly Trottenberg, DOT undersecretary for policy, testified on ­transportation funding issues last week before separate ­Congressional hearings.

Foxx Speaks to Senate ­Environment Committee
Foxx’s July 24 testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was his first appearance before Congress since he was sworn in as secretary. He testified at an oversight hearing held to examine improvements to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

“The TIFIA program’s flexible terms and low interest rates make it possible to obtain financing for critical projects that otherwise would have been delayed or deferred because of their size and complexity,” Foxx told the committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) as ranking member.

TIFIA, which Foxx called “a truly multimodal program,” began as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century in 1998. The secretary reported on improvements to TIFIA included in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), which funds the program at $1.7 billion over two years. The legislation also streamlined the loan application process to make it easier for cities and states to apply for the funding.

Foxx reported that TIFIA has extended more than $11 billion in credit assistance to support almost $44 billion in rail, bus, highway, and bridge projects since its founding. “This year we expect to obligate TIFIA funds for seven or more projects—a record number—and Fiscal Year 2014 promises to be even busier,” he said.

Arthur T. Leahy, chief executive officer, Los Angeles Metro, also testified at the hearing. “TIFIA helps our national economy expand,” he said. “TIFIA is a job generator, allowing projects to move from the drawing board to construction.” He noted the importance of the program in helping finance major improvements to the Los Angeles system.

Trottenberg Addresses T&I Subcommittee
On July 23, Trottenberg testified about Highway Trust Fund revenues and surface transportation programs before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. While the fund has worked well since its inception in 1956, she noted, over the past five years “investment needs and authorized funding levels have outpaced the available highway-user revenues,” meaning the fund “has come perilously close to being insolvent.”

She cited the President’s FY 2014 Mid-Session Review, which estimates $4.6 billion in the Highway Trust Fund and $300 million in the Mass Transit Account by the end of FY 2014. However, she said, “there is little doubt that another funding shortfall will soon be upon us.” She called on Congress to work with the Obama ­Administration “to find a bipartisan solution to this urgent challenge.”

Trottenberg emphasized: “The state of good repair of our public transit network is a matter of safety, efficiency, and reliability. If we do not make the tough decisions now, we will be compromising the safety of our ­riders and the strength of our economy as the movement of people and goods slows.”

Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI) chairs the subcommittee, with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) as ranking member.

COMTO Collaborates with APTA


APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, ninth from left, and several APTA staff recently joined 500 attendees at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ (COMTO) annual National Meeting & Training Conference in Jacksonville, FL, “Expanding the Routes of Transportation: Infrastructure Investment and Job Creation.” Among the meeting sessions was the second COMTO-APTA Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Assembly, a series of three sessions scheduled for 2013. The COMTO assembly focused on mentor-protégé programs. The third session, set for the APTA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, will address the role of public transit agencies in successful DBE programs. Speakers and special guests at the meeting included Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), sixth from left; COMTO President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Cunningham, tenth from left; Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, ninth from right; Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, seventh from right; and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, second from right. Others pictured include members of the COMTO Board of Directors. The conference also included a session with public transit CEOs, moderated by Roland Martin of TV One, and Michael Blake, former director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, who delivered the Scholarship Luncheon keynote.

Board Members, Support Staff Focus on Governance, Policy at Workshop

BY LYNNE MORSEN, APTA Director-Program Management

Public transit board members and staff members learned about legislative goals at the federal level, institutional models for providing mobility in a region, strategic planning, and other topics of importance during APTA’s Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop, July 20-23, in Austin, TX.

The Capital Metropolitan Transpor­tation Authority was host system for the program, attended by 116 people representing 44 public transit agencies.

APTA Chair Flora M. Castillo told attendees: “The resources and insights gained at this seminar and the advantages of connecting with colleagues from all over the country inform board members about best practices, so when they return home, they are able to provide the best guidance and policy development.”

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy spoke about the association’s ongoing commitment to tackle federal legislative and policy issues, such as Buy America, public transit security, and ­patent trolls. “We have provided FTA with industry input on circulars, policy guidance, and rulemakings associated with the law, and we continue to prepare consensus views on pending issues,” he said.

Melaniphy and Castillo also led an interactive roundtable discussion with workshop participants on the federal role in public transportation, workforce development, and APTA.

Additional topics addressed by seminar participants included MAP-21, the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act; hiring a chief executive officer; procurement and construction management oversight; and safety initiatives. Discussions covered issues of funding, financing, and revenue sources including public-private and public-public partnerships and tax increment financing.

Professional development training sessions examined resolving conflicts by understanding factors that motivate people and building strong teams by ­creating a shared vision.

In small groups organized by APTA-designated regions comprising several states, board members shared their experiences in succession planning and integrating of all modes of transportation, including bicycle and high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Open discussions focused on the challenges of rebuilding infrastructure while meeting increasing ridership demand and the dynamics of redesigning governing bodies.

Because hiring a chief executive officer is a board responsibility, board members from small, mid-size, and large or multi­modal systems spoke about how they determine the qualities needed in a new chief executive. One agency representative cited a “wish list [that] included vision, leadership, listening, and people skills; knowledge of technology; ­public transit experience; ability to handle ­problems head-on; union negotiating experience; and experience working with the Federal Transit Administration.”

Attendees also discussed whether to use an internal hiring process or work with a recruitment firm for the process and strategies a new CEO can use to begin involving employees and the community.

In a session on the board’s role in procurement and construction management, speakers described methods to manage risk, especially between contractors and subcontractors, and suggested questions that board members might pose during the process, including those related to capacity and capabilities, risk tolerance, and reasons for choosing a procurement model.

 

Photos by Huelon Harrison

Frederick L. Daniels Jr., second from right, chair of the Transit Board Members Committee and board chairman, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, at the seminar with, from left, Norm Chafetz, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX, host system; Don Hartman, Denton County Transportation, Lewisville, TX; and Andre McEwing, Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Investments in Public Transit Key to Economic Growth and Job Creation; Voters Support Bus Rapid Transit

Voters in Boston, ­Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh say investments in public transit are key to community development, economic growth, and job creation, according to a new survey commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation and conducted by Global Strategy Group.

A significant majority of those surveyed agree that it is important to invest in public transportation to ensure that communities continue to grow and thrive: Boston, 91 percent; Chicago, 71 percent; Nashville, 63 percent; and Pittsburgh, 89 percent.

The vast majority also agree that good public transportation helps improve the economy and create jobs: Boston, 90 percent; Chicago, 88 percent; and Nashville and Pittsburgh, 85 percent each.

In addition, a majority of voters support bringing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to each of the four cities surveyed: Boston, 52 percent; Chicago, 59 percent; Nashville, 77 percent; and Pittsburgh, 66 percent.

“The survey findings illustrate a growing awareness among residents that, in order to achieve a strong, vibrant economy and improve access to employment opportunities, there must be greater investment in public transportation,” said Benjamin de la Peña, associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation. “As city planners and elected officials evaluate mass transit options in their communities, BRT should be on top of the list because it’s one the fastest and most cost-effective ways to expand and modernize public transportation.”

According to the survey, more than six in 10 voters in each city said they would use BRT instead of driving or take other forms of public transit if it made their commute faster, and a majority of survey participants said they would pay an additional 10 cents a day for better, more reliable public transportation options that reduce their commute. Survey participants in all four cities said reliability and accessibility are the top benefits of BRT, followed by faster travel times.

“If done right, the benefits of BRT can go beyond improvements in transportation speed, reliability, and accessibility,” de la Peña said. “High-quality BRT systems can also make communities more livable by enhancing overall quality of life for transit riders and drivers, improving air quality, and connecting more people to more jobs and services.”

Global Strategy Group conducted a public opinion survey among 2,000 ­registered ­voters in Boston, ­Chicago, Nashville, and ­Pittsburgh between Feb. 20 and June 5, including 500 live telephone interviews with representative samples of registered ­voters broken down by geography, ­gender, age, and ethnicity.

The Rockefeller Foundation supports work around the world that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health, and environmental challenges.

More information about the survey is available here.

Winter Dies; Longtime Disability Advocate

Michael Winter, a disability advocate since the 1960s and longtime DOT employee, died suddenly July 11. He was a lifetime wheelchair user born with osteogenesis imperfecta, known informally as “OI” or “brittle bones.”

Winter joined the ­Berkeley Center for Independent ­Living in California as an intern in 1977 and then was its client service manager for four years. After two years directing a similar facility in Hawaii, he returned to the Berkeley center and served 12 years as its director.

While in Berkeley, Winter served six years on the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District Board of Directors. He also was president of the National Council on Independent Living from 1991-1995.

Winter joined DOT in 1994 as a special assistant to the associate deputy secretary and director of the Office of Intermodalism. From 1997-2000, he was FTA associate administrator for ­budget and policy. Beginning in 2001, he had responsibility for the full range of federal civil rights issues at DOT as they applied to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and environmental justice issues.

He was active with the National Council on Disability and an advisor to Easter Seals Project ACTION (ESPA).

“Michael was a lifelong champion for people with disabilities and a true advocate for accessible public transit,” said APTA President & CEO Michael ­Melaniphy. “We are a much better industry because of him.”

“Michael’s passing leaves an enormous void in accessible transportation policy, as well as the perspective of a transit advocate who understood transit policy and financing combined with a user’s perspective,” said Donna ­McNamee, chair, APTA Transit Board Members ADA Subcommittee, and past chair, ESPA National Steering Committee. “He will be seriously missed by the disability community and in the transit industry for his keen insight and leadership relative to accessibility, as well as his advocacy efforts fostered by his passionate understanding of the needs of passengers with disabilities.”

FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff said: “During Michael’s years of service at FTA, he made significant contributions to advancing transit access for all ­Americans and ensuring that the nation’s public transit systems fully complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act. His expertise, commitment, and good humor will be missed by all of us. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife and to all his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”

In an 2007 interview with ­Independence Today, Winter described himself as “a father, son, civil rights activist, former president of the National Council on Independent Living, director of an agency in the federal bureaucracy . . . and a Chicago Bears fan.”

In 2011, Winter was interviewed in Eric Nuedel’s documentary Lives Worth Living, which chronicled the rise of the U.S. disability rights movement. He recounted an incident when disability activists gathered in the U.S. Capitol protesting inaction on ADA, and were approached by a tour guide. “I have to tell you something,” Winter told her—and viewers of the film later. “I don’t think these people are here for a tour.”

MBTA Officially Opens Four Corners Station

Massachusetts Gov. Deval ­Patrick joined Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, ­Massachusetts DOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Beverly Scott July 17 to officially open the Four Corners Commuter Rail Station and celebrate recent improvements made along the entire Fairmount Commuter Rail Line. The new stations and other improvements along the line are expected to improve public transportation in the neighborhoods of ­Dorchester, ­Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Later in the day, MassDOT and MBTA held additional official openings at two other stations along the line. The new Talbot Avenue Commuter Rail Station opened to customers in November 2012 and the Newmarket Commuter Rail Station opened July 1. Work on the fourth new station of the improvements project, Blue Hill Avenue, is expected to begin later this summer.

“We all know that reliable public transportation translates into jobs, economic opportunity, and a higher quality of life,” Patrick said. “I am proud of the tremendous progress we have made in improving the Fairmount Line, but there is more to do to give our residents the 21st-century transportation system they deserve.”

“I am proud to say that the MBTA has been working hand in hand with the many dedicated and focused community organizations that serve this area to bring better service to the people and help increase ridership levels that will help maintain the line,” Scott added. “The years this project has been developing were spent carefully listening, planning, and building an integral new piece of this community and I look forward to continuing that important conversation for years to come.”

The overall goal of the Fairmount Line Improvements Program is to provide residents with a direct and convenient mode of public transportation that will improve opportunity and increase ridership on the line.

 

Photo: Nathan Ouellette/Governor's Office

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the MBTA Fairmount Line Four Corners/Geneva Station.

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

Murphy Is New Head of MBCR

The Massachusetts Bay ­Commuter Railroad Co. (MBCR) which operates commuter rail service under contract to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, has named Bonnie Murphy its new general manager. She succeeds Hugh J. Kiley Jr., who had served in the position since 2010.

Murphy has worked in the transportation industry for more than 30 years, most recently as FRA deputy associate administrator, safety compliance and program implementation.

Before joining FRA, Murphy was chief operating officer of Trinity Railway Express in Dallas/Fort Worth. She began her career as assistant transportation manager with Amtrak in Chicago and later oversaw Amtrak commuter rail ­service in San Diego as senior transportation manager.

VIA Enhances Paratransit Service with Taxi Subsidy Program

VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio has introduced a new Taxi Subsidy Service to support VIAtrans paratransit service for persons with disabilities who cannot use the agency’s regular bus service.

The subsidy program covers up to $9 of a Yellow Cab taxi trip taken by a registered VIAtrans customer on a weekday. To participate, the customer needs only to call the cab company to request a trip 30 minutes to 24 hours in advance. Customers using this service need to provide their VIAtrans ID numbers when booking the trip, and they need to let the cab company know if they use a walker or a mobility device.

When the taxi arrives, customers still need to pay the standard VIAtrans fare of $1.95 to the driver, but there is no additional cost if the meter rate fare at the end of the trip is $10.95 or less.

Dahl Dies; Veolia GM for Sprinter

Richard (Rick) Dahl, 55, general manager of the North County Transit District’s Sprinter rail operation for Veolia Transportation in Escondido, CA, died July 15 of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident the previous day.

Dahl joined the Connex subsidiary of Veolia in 2005 as a trainmaster for Metrolink commuter rail in Southern ­California and moved up the ranks as a senior transportation manager and assistant general manager before being appointed Sprinter general manager in 2009. He worked in the rail industry for 22 years.

“Rick was greatly respected and loved by his colleagues, friends and family. He was a true railroader and a man of great integrity. He had an open heart and a helping hand for those who needed it. We all grieve at this tragic loss,” said Don Saunders, Veolia’s chief operating officer for rail.

Gilles Dies; Safety, Security Expert

Wayne Gilles, 48, a public transit safety and security expert with CH2M HILL in Los Angeles, died June 25.

Gilles dedicated his 22-year career to improving safety in transportation.

He worked on safety analyses, safety culture assessments, certification, operating and emergency procedures, testing, human factors, reliability demonstration testing and studies, maintainability, and procurement specifications for public transportation vehicles and systems.

At the time of his passing, he was working with Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix, implementing and managing an internal rail safety and security audit program.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Ron L. Brooks!

Ron L. Brooks
Vice President, Paratransit and IntelliRide Development
Veolia Transportation
Member, APTA Access Committee, Mobility Management Committee
Member, APTA Diversity Council

How many people are employed at your organization?
Veolia has about 20,000 employees in North America. I personally don’t supervise anybody. My responsibility within the company is to lead our efforts to secure ­paratransit contracts and promote our business approach to paratransit projects.

I develop relationships with clients. I’m involved in everything from developing proposals to working with our team to put together the right package to contract negotiations. I’m also often involved with the start-up phase to make sure we’re off to a good start and that we keep the promises we make. I help make sure we put our best foot forward.

How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I started in 1993 as a transportation planner with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). I stayed there for three years and then spent four years in Palm Beach County in Florida directing the county’s accessible transit and ADA paratransit programs. In 2000, I joined one of Veolia’s predecessor companies as a project manager for a small paratransit brokerage in Albuquerque, NM. I’ve been in various roles in corporate support since 2001, and I’ve been in business development since 2006.

How long have you been an APTA member?
I attended my first APTA conference in 1996. I’ve been really involved with APTA for about 10 years.

What drew you to a career in public transit?
I’m totally blind. While I was a graduate student at San Francisco State University, I got involved with a community organization that was ­engaging BART on transportation issues. The ­organization needed someone to attend meetings, so I volunteered.

I felt like the advocates were asking for reasonable things, and BART was trying to do the right thing, but they were sort of “lost in translation.” I worked to bring the two groups together. I saw the potential to bring something new to the industry—at least to BART—and I never looked back.

I saw how good, reliable transit can make a real difference. It certainly did with me, especially in terms of my safety and mobility. I had the chance then—and still do—to work on issues that were personally important. This is really appealing.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Please explain why or how this has helped.
For me, it’s the conferences. I love talking to my peers, hearing about what they do, and having the opportunity for real information sharing, for networking. Two or three times a year, I leave my normal routine (for the most part) to go to a place where I can really engage with my peers from across the country. I love that.

What do you like most about your job?
When Veolia wins a contract I’ve been involved in, it reminds me why I got involved in public transit. I can see something I’ve worked hard on turn into something real—something that benefits people and public transit agencies. I take great pride in that.

I try to take the long view when I have a project I’m working on—to really probe. What does the client really want and need? What keeps the manager awake at night? I strive to tailor responses to their needs. It’s very rewarding.

Also, Veolia has let me stay involved in policy, like being on the APTA Access Committee and being part of the wider debates about where the industry is headed.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
Veolia is a big company, but I know the CEO and he knows me. He knows my wife and he asks about my kids. There’s a real sense that we’re on the same team.

When I get together with other blind people, we talk about the 70 percent unemployment rate and chronic underemployment among us. But as a vice ­president at Veolia, I have substantial responsibilities, a good job, and a good ­salary. ­Veolia has allowed me to remain involved in the things I’m interested in, and they’ve invested in the technology I need to do my job. They let me excel in work that matters to the industry and to me personally.

Make sure you see Ron L. Brooks' video, now that you've read this!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Samantha Smith!

Samantha Smith
Program Manager-Technical Services
Member Services Department

What are the top job elements you focus on the most—your primary responsibilities?

The majority of my work involves various aspects of the APTA ­Standards Program. Mainly, I serve as the document manager, making sure that each document goes through all the required steps and meets all ­pre-set deadlines. Each one must undergo a public comment period, during which anyone is welcome to review and provide feedback.

Next we send it to APTA agency chief executive officers, so they can have the appropriate parties within their agencies review its content. Finally, the APTA Planning and Policy Committee gives its approval, going through due ­process. I maintain records of these steps and filing of previous revisions of our older documents.

The other major aspect of my job involves interacting with our members and other volunteers through working groups and other forums to address industry issues and, if needed, draft a document under the Standards Program.

Do you have direct ­contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the most recent times you’ve helped out a member.

I have some contact with ­members, mostly attending various meetings to discuss industry issues. Most recently, I was able to present my preliminary research at the 2013 APTA Rail Conference regarding changes in passenger weights and how they affect rail car designs. I was thrilled to see a large turnout and get the discussions going on how we need to address these issues collectively.

I really enjoy listening to and participating with these experts. It gives me great insight into how the various aspects of public transit work and how we can continue to enhance it as long as we keep the open forum discussions going.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?

My training and passion is in the area of continuous improvement, so I always get a great deal of satisfaction when I can take something people are using now and make it more efficient, helping to make their day-to-day lives both easier and more productive. I’m currently working to revamp and improve the Standards Program website. While it’s not finished just yet, I love the challenge of learning a new software platform, Microsoft SharePoint.

The project also addresses the ­various nuances that arise with ­creating and processing a document as it becomes a published standard. Each working group has a unique style of how to approach the creation of a document, and individual APTA staff members may want to track different aspects.

We work together to make sure we are using the best practices of a Standards Development Organization and that the balance between data collection and tracking never overtakes the end goal of the program: to ­provide our industry with standards and ­recommended practices.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?

I’ve been with APTA a little less than a year now, and the association is my introduction to the public transit industry. I found APTA through a job site while I was working on my graduate degree in engineering and technology management—a combination of program management, systems engineering, and business administration—and jumped at the opportunity to work in a position that would let me apply what I was studying.

What professional affiliations do you have?

I’m a lifetime member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

I’m a major foodie, and this has only gotten worse since I have moved to D.C. I’m always ready to try a new restaurant or cuisine with my friends. I’ve been adventurous and willing to try unique foods all my life. I’ve had the chance to eat jellyfish in ­Wisconsin, kangaroo in Atlanta, and crickets here in DC . . . I wouldn’t ­recommend jellyfish.


Make sure you see Samantha Smith’s video, now that you've read this!

APTA NEWS

APTA Honors Systems and Organizations for Sustainability Excellence

APTA will recognize nine public transportation systems and organizations for their high-level achievements in sustainability initiatives at a July 29 luncheon during the Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop in San Francisco.

Los Angeles Metro will be honored as the first and only North American public transportation system to earn the Platinum Recognition Level in the APTA Sustainability Commitment program. Three public transit agencies—Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), Hampton, VA; King County Metro Transit, Seattle; and the San ­Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)—have attained Gold status, along with Visual Marking Systems, Twinsburg, OH, which earlier this year became the first public transportation business in North ­America to reach Gold recognition.

APTA will also honor CDM Smith for attaining the Silver level for its ­Cambridge, MA, headquarters, and three Bronze ­honorees: Amtrak; Interurban Transit Partnership, Grand ­Rapids, MI; and ­Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Los ­Angeles Metro, HRT, King County Metro Transit, SFMTA, CDM Smith, and Amtrak all were founding signatories of the Sustainability Commitment program in 2009.

The Los Angeles agency has put in place a full-scale sustainability program that has significantly reduced its ­environmental footprint. These gains led L.A. Metro to achieve Platinum-level recognition from APTA for significant reductions in areas such as energy, water use, and waste.

Measures taken by the agency include converting all its vehicles to clean fuel operation, implementing an ISO 14001: 2004 certified environmental management system, and introducing a green construction policy to reduce air emission from construction equipment and related activities. The sustainability program has saved the agency more than $2 million per year, with additional cost savings expected in the future.

HRT’s efforts reduced air pollutant emissions by 58.8 percent and vehicle energy use by 9.7 percent per transit vehicle mile traveled from 2008-2011—a period during which the agency procured multiple hybrid buses while building and opening its first light rail line. HRT also expanded its internal recycling program, increasing the waste diversion rate from 27.3 percent (2008) to 94.1 percent (2011).

King County Metro Transit saved the equivalent of 2.1 millions of gallons of fuel since 2007 by replacing its diesel buses with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. The agency hopes to convert its entire bus fleet to hybrid buses and trolleys by 2018. It also operates the largest public vanpool program in the nation and, more recently, added 20 zero-emission electric vehicles to its rideshare fleet.

SFMTA encourages and provides alternatives to the private automobile by operating the city’s transit vehicles, regulating taxis, managing parking and traffic, and making bicycle and pedestrian improvements city-wide. The agency operates the largest municipal biodiesel fleet in the country, displacing roughly one million gallons of diesel fuel annually, as well as the largest zero-emissions (trolley) bus fleet. As a result, from 1990-2010, the agency has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23.2 percent per passenger mile traveled.

VMS has focused on green production and procurement policies as a certified Sustainable Green Printing Partnership member, achieving a 15 ­percent reduction in electricity use per line item produced, a 15 percent reduction in water use per line item, and a 9 percent reduction greenhouse gas emissions per line item from 2010-2011. Solid waste has seen a 4 percent reduction per line item and, additionally, VMS has instituted a recycling policy (no policy existed previously), saving nearly $75,000 in 2011 thanks to a new focus on reducing use of raw materials.

Since the inception of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009, 105 public transit agencies and businesses have joined as signatories, pledging to implement processes and actions that will lead to continuous improvement on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Only 17 organizations have achieved one of four higher levels of recognition—Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—as determined by specific measured achievements.

Only four other organizations have received Gold level recognition: Intercity Transit, Olympia, WA; Sound Transit, Seattle; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia; and TransLink, Vancouver, BC.

For more information on the Sustainability Commitment program, click here.

Addressing Energy Issues


Speakers and panelists gather July 23 at “Energy2030 on the Road” in Seattle. Energy2030, a set of bipartisan policy recommendations being advanced by the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, focuses on investing, modernizing, and educating people about the benefits of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030. APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy served on the commission. From left: Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy; Richard Genece, vice president of energy efficiency, Bonneville Power Administration; Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Jorge Carrasco, superintendent, Seattle City Light; Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien; Alex Laskey, president, Opower; Melaniphy; Brian Geller, executive director, Seattle 2030 District; and Bob Stolarski, director, Customer Energy Management, Puget Sound Energy.

COUNTDOWN TO 2013 ANNUAL MEETING

APTA Invites Members to Attend Meeting; Variety of Topics Addresses Needs of Industry

Make plans now to attend the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting, Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Chicago—only two months from now!

APTA has designed a program that offers numerous informational and networking opportunities for public transportation professionals at all levels. Sessions will cover a broad range of topics, from partnerships and improved productivity to nontraditional revenue sources and service during high-profile events.

APTA committees, including the Board of Directors, will convene during the weekend of Sept. 28-29. The schedule also will include the Mid-Level Managers Welcome and Orientation Breakfast Meeting, This Is APTA, Business Members Board of Governors meeting, and the Sunday evening Welcome to Chicago Reception at the Products & Services Showcase. Exhibitors will display their newest and most innovative products and technologies.

Monday’s Events
The meeting itself kicks off the morning of Sept. 30 with the Opening General Session, “It’s All About the People.” FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff and representatives of the Chicago Transit Authority, host system for the meeting , will join outgoing APTA Chair Flora M. Castillo, incoming Chair Peter Varga, and President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

The Products & Services Showcase will reopen at 11:30 a.m. The day’s activities also include three series of ­concurrent educational sessions, including the Host Forum, “Leveraging Innovation in Transportation Investments;” a session on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings; “Towards More Inclusive, Productive Board Meetings and Public Hearings,” featuring Sarah E. Merkle, J.D., certified professional ­parliamentarian; and a joint session on DBEs for APTA members and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

Also on Monday is the 34th Annual AdWheel Awards Ceremony honoring the best in public transit marketing efforts, and a reception in honor of the recipients of this year’s American Public Transportation Foundation scholarships.

Tuesday Schedule
Internationally known livable cities ­consultant Gil Penalosa will headline the morning General Session on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Penalosa is executive director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities and a former commissioner for the city of Bogotá, Colombia. His efforts there included the establishment of the “new Ciclovia,” a program that brings together more than one million people to walk, run, skate, and bicycle along the 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday.

More educational sessions will follow, including a presentation by Rogoff on FTA priorities.

APTA will honor “the best of the best” at the Awards Luncheon. Once again, the event will include presentation of awards for APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, Business Member, and Board Member; Local Distinguished Service Award; Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Awards in three size categories; and the two newest members of the Hall of Fame. (See related story.)

Tuesday afternoon includes more concurrent sessions, including the Mineta Transportation Institute Summit, “Transit Feeder and Distribution Systems for High-Speed and Intercity Rail;” the Leadership APTA Class of 2013’s project presentations and graduation ceremony; and technical tours organized by CTA, Chicago DOT, Amtrak, and Metra commuter rail.

APTA is conducting its second jobs fair for veterans that afternoon in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Hire a Hero” campaign. This event will give Chicago-area veterans an opportunity to meet and interview with local transportation-focused organizations. APTA conducted its first jobs fair for veterans at its recent Rail Conference in Philadelphia, attracting more than 30 employers and 110 veterans and resulting in an on-site hire.

What’s on Wednesday
On Wednesday morning, Oct. 2, participants in the APTA/WTS Breakfast will hear from a business leader on the theme “Inspiring Leadership—Getting Extraordinary Things Done.”

The final series of concurrent sessions will follow, examining such topics as working with the media, strategic workforce development partnerships, and industry standards and best practices.

The famed Second City Communications will present a customized comedy revue, “Riffing on Life in Transit,” at the Closing General Session. This program will feature original scenes on taking public transit and offering services, plus “best of” Second City sketches and improvisation.

For additional details and to register, click here.

Chicago Transit Authority: At the Heart of the City’s History and Regional Development

BY FORREST CLAYPOOL, President, Chicago Transit Authority

The city of Chicago and the ­Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) are delighted to host the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting, and we look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues to our great city.

Our industry faces myriad challenges, from the need to address aging infrastructure within the confines of the current funding environment to finding ways to create a 21st-century transit experience.

But we also have countless opportunities to strengthen the role public transportation plays in our cities and towns, from transit-oriented development to new technologies that can improve daily commutes.

Efficient and affordable public transportation has a direct correlation not only to our economic competitiveness and reduced energy dependence, but to our communities’ quality of life. Our main challenge as transportation professionals is to make a good product even better.

The APTA Annual Meeting provides a great forum. A look at the list of general sessions, meetings, and technical tours shows that the meeting will cover a number of timely and relevant issues. The Annual Meeting is a chance to connect one-on-one with our public transit colleagues to share best practices and hard-learned lessons, to swap stories and to engage in conversations that spark ideas and inspiration.

For those of you visiting Chicago for the first time, we hope you are able to enjoy some of the many attractions for which our city has earned international distinction. From our vibrant, diverse neighborhoods and innovative culinary experiences to our world-class cultural institutions and unparalleled Lake ­Michigan shoreline, Chicago has a great deal to offer.

And of course, we also hope you’ll find time to experience and learn more about public transportation in and around Chicago. Our three regional service boards—the CTA, Metra (commuter rail), and Pace (suburban bus)—carry more than two million passengers on an average weekday, with more than 75 percent carried by CTA trains and buses.

Some of you may arrive downtown via the CTA’s Blue Line from O’Hare International Airport or the Orange Line from Midway Airport. We hope you’ll also experience firsthand the steps CTA is taking, under the leadership of transit-focused Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to modernize and improve Chicago’s public transit, including our fleet of new and refurbished buses, our state-of-the-art 5000-series rail cars, our popular Train Tracker and Bus Tracker screens and mobile apps, and our modern and architecturally significant Morgan Street ‘L’ station and rehabbed/expanded Grand Avenue Red Line subway station. And we invite you to enjoy an iconic Chicago experience: a trip on our historic Loop elevated structure—the ‘L’ made famous in countless movies and TV shows.

I look forward to meeting many of you personally and to a productive and informative 2013 Annual Meeting. See you in September.

2013 Annual Meeting Program-at-a-Glance

This schedule is preliminary and subject to change. Last updated July 1, 2013.

Saturday, Sept. 28
7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Committee Meetings*
12 – 4 p.m.: APTA Board of Directors Meeting
 
Sunday, Sept. 29
7 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Committee Meetings*
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Legislative Committee Meeting
1:30 – 3 p.m.: This Is APTA
3:30 – 5:30 p.m.: Business Member Board of Governors
6 – 8 p.m.: Welcome Reception at the Products & Services Showcase
 
Monday, Sept. 30
8 – 9:30 a.m.: Opening General Session
10 – 11:30 a.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Host Forum: Leveraging Innovation in Transportation Investments
 Financing New Projects in the U.S.
 The Boston Marathon Attack and the Key Role of the MBTA
 Capturing a New Transit Generation
 Public Trust—Transit’s Fiduciary Responsibilities
 Local Policy Development: ­Ensuring Your Transportation ­Service Is Open & Accessible to All
11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Products & Services Showcase (includes lunch)
2:30 – 4 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Equity and Debt: ­Opportunities for Using Private Capital in ­Transportation Finance
 AdWheel Awards Ceremony
 The Human Factor—Transit’s Greatest Asset
 Service Innovations that Enhance the Value of Public Transportation
 Congress and the Federal Transit Agenda
 Toward More Inclusive, Productive Board Meetings & Public Hearings
4:30 – 6 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Small Operations: Advancing Policy Initiatives & Best Practices
 Big Transportation Infrastructure Projects Worldwide
 APTA/COMTO DBE Assembly—Transit Board Members’ Roles
 The Role of Research in Transit Operations
 Mobilizing Citizens to Advocate for Public Transit
 Transit and Metropolitan Planning Organization Partners in Advancing Multimodal Solutions
7 – 9 p.m.: APTF Reception 

Tuesday, Oct. 1
8:30 – 10 a.m.: General Session: APTA Business Members Present Gil Penalosa
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 State of the Federal Transit Administration with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff
 The Local Realtor: A Friend of Transit
 Current Issues in Technology
 Arts in Transit . . . Why Design Matters
12 – 2 p.m.:  APTA Awards Luncheon
2:30 – 4 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Innovative Approaches to Public Involvement
 Safety Policy
 Public Transportation, Access to Health Services and Healthy Living
 After the Audit: How DOT Is Responding to the Inspector General’s Audit of Transportation
 DBE Programs
 Making Sustainability a Guiding Priority for the Transit Agency
Afternoon: Technical Tours
 Chicago Transit Authority Control Center
 Amtrak Control Center
 Chicago DOT Bike Share/Protected Bike Lanes
 Metra 47th Street Rehab Facility
2:30 – 5 p.m.: Mineta Transportation Institute Summit: Transit Feeder and Distribution Systems for High-Speed and Intercity Rail
3 – 5 p.m.:  Veterans Job Fair
4:30 – 6 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Leadership APTA—Celebrating Our Graduates; Welcoming the Incoming Class
 Public Transportation Revenue Initiatives at the Local and State Levels
 Partnering with High Tech: Transit’s Role in Supporting High Tech Job Growth
 
Wednesday, Oct. 2
7:30 – 9 a.m.: APTA/WTS Breakfast
9:30 – 11 a.m.: Concurrent Sessions
 Working with the Media: Staying on Message
 Regional Economies: What Governance Model Is Right for Your Area?
 Industry Standards and Best Practices
 Strategic Workforce
 Development Partnerships—Transit Organizations, Private Businesses, andAcademia
 Complete Streets in Constrained Corridors
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Closing General Session: Second City Communications Improv . . . Riffing on the Best (and Worst) Days in Transit!
 1 – 5 p.m.: New Starts/Small Starts Workshop

(*APTA members are welcome at most committee meetings.)

Educational Sessions Cover A Broad Variety of Topics

The following is an overview of the concurrent ­sessions scheduled during the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Small Operations: Advancing Policy Initiatives & Best Practices. APTA’s Small Operations Committee will present an interactive dialogue on funding, legislative, and regulatory issues specific to the challenges and opportunities of small public transit operators.

The Human Factor—Transit’s Greatest Asset. MAP-21 provides $7 million in FTA grants for innovative workforce development projects, with an emphasis on promoting training opportunities in emerging technologies and encouraging young people to pursue careers in public transportation.

Integrated Urban Mobility and the Future of Public Transportation. Mobility management is a strategic approach to service coordination and customer service that, when implemented, moves public transit agencies away from their roles as fixed route service operators and toward collaboration with other transportation providers.

Financing New Projects in the U.S. Private sector financing and the concept of public-private partnerships have come to play an important role in the launch of intercity passenger and high-speed rail lines around the world, and the U.S. can learn from these experiences.

Innovative Approaches to ­Public Involvement. This session presents innovative techniques that are changing the way organizations are approaching increasing participation in public involvement, using new technologies while saving time and money.

Capturing the Transit Generation. New APTA research illustrates why Millennials take public transportation and offers strategies to ensure that this generation continues not only to use public transit as they age, but to advocate for public transit funding as well.

The Local Realtor: A Friend of Transit. The recent APTA and National Association of Realtors joint research study showed that residential real estate values ­performed 41.6 percent better during the last recession if they were located near fixed guideway public transit.

Partnering with High Tech. Recent APTA research shows that hundreds of thousands of tech jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity from the tech sector are at stake due to inadequate investment in public transit.

Service Innovations that Enhance the Value of Public Transportation. Across the nation, cutting-edge service innovations both large and small—such as flexible bus routing, real-time customer information, and express bus corridors—are helping to create new ways to better serve riders.

Big Transportation Infrastructure Projects Worldwide. Many of the largest infrastructure projects in the world are public transportation projects that will help transform their communities and position public transportation as a key for shaping communities and serving future generations.

Public Transportation, Access to Health Services, and Healthy Living. APTA is improving its relationships with various associations and groups in the health care community to demonstrate public transportation’s role in providing access to health care and healthy food.

Public Transportation Revenue Initiatives at the Local and State Levels. In 2012, voters approved 49 out of 62 public transit ballot measures across the U.S. In 2013, state legislatures across the country have stepped up their consideration of transportation legislation.

Regional Economies: What Governance Model Is Right for Your Area? Across the country, many public transportation operations have taken the form of transit districts, regional transit authorities, or joint power authorities. Some regional authorities have taxing powers, while individual communities in some regions can decide whether or not to participate.

Congress and the Federal Transit Agenda. Congressional staff from key committees will share their views on the public transportation industry’s legislative priorities.

Public Trust—Transit’s Fiduciary Responsibilities. Decreasing public resources and escalating operating costs, combined with a general aversion to tax increases, have all contributed to increased public scrutiny of public funds and assets and of those entrusted with the fiduciary responsibilities to manage them.

Industry Standards & Best ­Practices. Public transit systems are relying more and more on industry best practices to help in procurement, design, operations, safety, maintenance, and sustainability.

Private Sector Participation in Financing Transit Development & Operation. Speakers representing a variety of perspectives on public-private partnerships will examine when private participation can be used most effectively in financing projects through creative leveraging of local, state, and federal revenue sources.

APTA/COMTO DBE Assembly—Transit Board Members’ Roles. This year’s Assembly will focus on best practices in the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs and the role of the public transit board member in effective programs.

After the Audit: How DOT is Responding to the Inspector General’s Audit of Transportation DBE Programs. This session will follow up on the recent audit of DOT’s DBE programs and will include a review of the department’s response.

Boston Marathon Attack and Key Role of MBTA.
Immediately after the April 15 attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority joined in the response effort with Boston area first responders and the entire Boston community.

AdWheel Awards Ceremony. Join in the excitement as we honor the first-place winners and announce the grand award winners in the 34th Annual AdWheel Awards competition honoring the best in public transportation marketing and communications.

Staying on Message. For a better understanding of messaging and sound bites, join this session on the art of maintaining control of media interviews.

Toward More Inclusive, Productive Board Meetings & Public Hearings. This session will help public transit board members better focus discussion, encourage participation, stay on task, and make strategic motions.

Local Policy Development: Ensuring Your Transportation Service Is Open & Accessible to All. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets the ground floor for knowing how to provide people with disabilities with equal access to transportation services. Looking beyond the ADA, however, transportation providers can shape the experience riders have on their systems through the policies they set.

Mineta Transportation Institute Summit: Transit Feeder and Distribution Systems for High-Speed and Intercity Rail. This program will feature a keynote presentation plus case studies from around the world with direct application to the nation’s ­public transit systems feeding high-speed and intercity rail stations.

Host Forum: Leveraging Innovation in Transpor­tation Investments. The ­Chicago metropolitan region is home to one of the largest and oldest public transportation systems in the country, moving nearly two million bus and rail riders a day. Operators are increasingly relying on innovation to grow ridership, improve efficiency, fight congestion, expand access, and serve residents more effectively.

Leadership APTA—Celebrating Our Graduates; Welcoming the Incoming Class. Members of the graduating class will make presentations on five topics. In addition to the graduation ceremonies, officials will introduce members of the incoming Class of 2014.

Strategic Workforce Development Partnerships—Transit Organizations, Private Businesses, & Academia. Transit executives, business leaders, and academics are forging new partnerships as they realize that each has a major stake in developing a highly qualified workforce.

Current Issues in Technology. As public transit’s commitment to technology evolves, issues related to management, planning, and finance as they relate to technology must evolve as well.

The Role of Research in Transit Operations. In the face of increasing demands from many perspectives on management and operations, where can public transportation professionals turn for guidance and assistance?

Mobilizing Citizens to Advocate for Public ­Transit. By and large, citizens support public transportation, but how do we turn them into strong and vocal advocates?

Complete Streets in Constrained Corridors. Complete streets strive to balance bikes, transit, cars, trucks, and pedestrians, often creating tension among competing modes and interests. Public transit agencies and municipalities must work together to moderate the conflicts and prioritize users for select corridors without sacrificing safety or the intent of the project.

Transit and MPO Partners in Advancing Multimodal Solutions. With the passage of MAP-21, public transportation has an increased opportunity to play a role in transportation planning and programming decisions and working with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO).

Making Sustainability a Guiding Priority for the Transit Agency. Hear from APTA Sustainability Commitment Platinum and Gold-level recipients as they explain how developing a sustainability plan has led to improved service, satisfied customers, happy employees, and stronger communities.

Arts in Transit/Why Design Matters. The integration of public art and the emphasis on design excellence is a global phenomenon in the industry. Design in transit planning addresses the threefold challenge of a successful development project: aesthetics, function, and durability.

APTA Awards Committee Announces 2013 Honorees

APTA has selected the winners of the 2013 Awards. Honorees will be recognized at a Oct. 1 ­luncheon during the APTA Annual ­Meeting in Chicago.

Individual Awards
Outstanding Public Transportation Manager: During his 14 years as general manager and chief executive officer of Denver’s Regional Transportation District, Phillip A. Washington has overseen an unprecedented number of innovative, cost-effective, and customer-focused initiatives. For example, FasTracks is the largest voter-approved public transit expansion in the nation—a project incorporating the Eagle Public-Private Partnership and redevelopment of Denver Union Station.

Washington serves on the APTA Executive Committee and has been named a White House Innovators Champion of Change.

Outstanding Public Transpor­tation Board Member: Randall D. Chrisman has served 11 years on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors, including terms as chair and vice chair. During his tenure, DART completed the longest rail expansion in North America, spurring extensive development along the rail lines. He is also secretary of the Transit Board Members Committee and co-chair of the Authorization Task Force, among other APTA volunteer positions.

Local Distinguished Service Award: The late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) supported public transit in Hawaii throughout his career and, for more than 40 years, was a champion of rail transit for Honolulu. With Inouye’s help, the city received a $1.55 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Honolulu Rail Transit project, which will be the first driverless light rail system in the U.S. when it enters service.

Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member: Charles R. (Chuck) Wochele has served on the Business Member Board of Governors since 1999, including two-year terms as chair, first vice chair, and second vice chair. He served on the Standards Development Oversight Committee since its inception in 2003.

Wochele has worked to keep business member companies engaged in APTA and bring their message to ­Capitol Hill.

Two public transportation professionals are being named this year to the APTA Hall of Fame. Richard J. Simonetta, APTA chair in 1994-1995, is a 42-year industry veteran who has promoted diversity and supported his employees while holding top executive positions at agencies in Harrisburg, PA; Denver; Ann Arbor, MI; Columbus, OH; Atlanta (transporting more than 25 million passengers during the 1996 ­Olympic Games); and Phoenix. In the private sector, he worked for Prima Facie, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and his ­current employer, The Burns Group.

William W. Millar served as APTA president for 15 years, beginning in 1996, as part of a 40-year career in public transportation. He has worked to expand public transit access for rural communities, small urban areas, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

Millar helped create the Transit Cooperative Research Program and, as chief executive officer of the Port Authority of ­Allegheny County for 19 years, led the development of an integrated paratransit system. He was a member of the APTA Board of Directors for 13 years.

System Awards
APTA will present the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award in three size ­categories: agencies that provide fewer than four million annual passenger trips, those that provide more than four million but fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips, and those that provide more than 20 million annual passenger trips.

The winner in the first category, the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, Flagstaff, operates Mountain Line fixed route service and Mountain Lift paratransit. The agency has worked to enhance its customer service, developing Facebook and Twitter presences, while introducing hybrid-electric vehicles to service, installing Intelligent Transportation Systems on board, and implementing driver training to help improve safety.

APTA will honor the Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI, in the second cate­gory. In working toward its goal of continuous improvement, the agency has opened two LEED-certified facilities and introduced real-time information and trip planning on its website—while dealing with a 50 percent increase in vehicle revenue miles since the agency entered service in 2000.

The agency is nearing the end of its 20-year Transit Master Plan, which served as the foundation for a service enhancement package approved by voters in 2011.

GO Transit, Toronto, won the third category. The agency operates all Tier 2 locomotives, the newest fleet in North America—including commuter and freight rail. Other innovations include an electronic service guarantee that credits the passenger’s farecard if a train is delayed more than 15 minutes, and implementation of technologies to enhance safe rail operations while expanding bus operations, including Bus Rapid Transit. The agency introduced green technologies such as photovoltaic panels, a green roof, and water recycling in its newest bus maintenance facility.

The 17-member APTA Awards Committee met earlier this year to review nominations and select recipients.

Chicago Agencies Schedule Tech Tours

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), host system for the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting, has scheduled the following technical tours for Tuesday, Oct. 1, and Wednesday, Oct. 2. Attendees can sign up at the host desk in the registration area during the meeting.

Oct. 1 Tours
Chicago DOT Bike Share/­Protected Bike Lanes. The Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 sets forth a strategy to achieve Mayor Rahm ­Emanuel’s goal of making Chicago the best big city for bicycling in America. Since 2011, Chicago DOT has built more than 60 miles of new bikeways, half of which are protected with barriers or ­buffers. Divvy, a Chicago DOT initiative, is the city’s new bike sharing system, planned to grow to more than 400 planned stations. Participants will get on bikes for this tour.

CTA Control Center Tour. This facility houses the communications equipment CTA uses to interact with and monitor all rail and bus routes. Inside the control center, CTA staff ­coordinates service restoration, emergency response, and day-to-day services.

Amtrak Control Center. Tour Amtrak’s Control Center, where system employees manage and dispatch Amtrak and other rail traffic in the city. Center operations involve interconnections with territories owned by Metra, and the Norfolk Southern, Burlington ­Northern Santa Fe, and Canadian National railways.

Metra 47th Street Rehab Facility. Visitors will see how Metra performs complete gut rehabs on 40-year-old rail cars at this facility.

Historic Chicago El Tour. Explore Chicago’s architecture from the unique perspective of the elevated trains and station platforms. Participants in this evening tour will learn about the history of the famous “L” system and how it has shaped the development of the Loop.

Oct. 2 Tour
Pace Bus on Shoulder. For more than 20 years, Pace Suburban Bus has offered express bus service from the southwest suburbs to downtown via I-55—a ­heavily traveled road with high levels of congestion and slow travel speeds. Pace has operated its buses on the I-55 highway shoulder since November 2011, reporting steady improvement in travel times and increasing ridership.

The technical tour of the CTA Control Center will allow visitors to see the communications equipment the agency uses to interact and monitor all its bus and rail routes.

AdWheel Celebrates 34th Year of Awards

APTA will honor the best and most creative public transportation marketing and promotional efforts during the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting at the 34th annual AdWheel ceremony, Monday afternoon, Sept. 30.

APTA has received more than 500 entries in this year’s competition, which is currently in the judging phase. First-place award recipients will  be notified by late August. The AdWheel Grand Awards, selected from among the first-place honorees, will be made public at the Annual Meeting.

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

New in 2013 is a mobile apps subcategory added to the electronic media category. It recognizes mobile applications with the best overall design, functionality, and clarity. 

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

More information is available from Laticia King.

Discounts for Travel to the APTA Meeting

American Airlines
Promotion Code: A5993BD
Valid for Travel: Sept. 26-Oct. 5, 2013
Eligible Airports: O’Hare

APTA has partnered with American Airlines to provide meeting attendees a 7 percent discount off any published airfare at the airline's website for travel to Chicago.

To make a reservation, click here to book your flight. Place the Promotion Code in the code box and your discount will be calculated automatically.

You may also call 800-433-1790 to book your flights. Please refer to the Promotion Code above when you call. Please note there is a reservation service charge for all tickets issued by phone.

Please note: This special discount is valid off any applicable published fares listed for American Airlines, American Eagle, and American Connection. International originating guests will need to contact your local reservation number and refer to the Promotion Code. Please use our preferred partner, American Airlines, when you can because of the benefits provided to you as a traveler and to our organization for extended partner value.

United Airlines
Valid for Travel: Sept. 26-Oct. 5, 2013
Eligible Airports: All Chicago Airports

APTA has partnered with United to provide meeting attendees a discount of 2 to 10 percent off published fares.

To make a reservation, click here and save an additional 3 percent off your fare. Choose flight times and access your meeting discounts by inserting ZQBS167749 in the Offer Code box.

You may also call United Meetings at 800-426-1122 for reservations. Refer to Z Code ZQBS and Agreement Code 167749. There will be a $25 service fee collected, per ticket, for all tickets issued through United Meetings Reservations.

Delta Airlines
Ticket Designator: NME25
Valid for Travel: Sept. 26-Oct. 5, 2013
Eligible Airports: O’Hare, Chicago Midway

APTA has partnered with Delta to provide meeting attendees a discount of up to 10 percent off round-trip fares for travel to Chicago.

To make a reservation, click here to book your flight. Enter your Meeting Event Code and enter your Meeting ID in the box provided on the Search Flight page.

Call Delta Meeting Network reservations at 1-800-328-1111. Please note that a Direct Ticketing Charge will apply for booking by phone.

Please note: Discounts apply to U.S./Canada originating passengers and to round-trip travel only. Not valid with other discounts, certificates, coupons, or promotional offers.

Amtrak
Amtrak Fare Code Number: X67N-968
Valid for Travel: Sept. 26-Oct. 5, 2013

Amtrak is offering a 10 percent discount off the best available fare for travel to Chicago.

To make a reservation, call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 or contact your local travel agent.

Make sure you refer to the fare code when making your reservation.

This discount is not available for online reservations.

Please note: This offer is not valid on the Auto Train and Acela service. Offer valid with Sleepers, Business Class, or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. Fare is valid on all Amtrak Regional departures seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.

APTF to Name Scholarship Winners at Gala

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF), the charitable affiliate of APTA, will honor 14 scholarship recipients at its 2013 Gala, 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, during the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The ceremony, hosted by the APTF Board of Directors, will feature the scholarship presentations and informal comments from the winners regarding their career aspirations in public transportation.

This year, APTF will award its newest named scholarship, the Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG)/Janie Wulkan Memorial Scholarship, for the first time to a female applicant committed to a career in public transportation. The BMBG and Alan ­Wulkan, senior vice president HDR/InfraConsult, and member of the APTA Executive Committee and BMBG, each contributed $50,000 to co-establish the scholarship, named in honor of Wulkan’s late wife.

The cost is $100 per person. To purchase tickets, visit the APTF website and click on “Get Your Tickets Here” under APTF Gala 2013. Proceeds benefit the APTF scholarship fund and are tax deductible to the legal extent allowable.

Founded in 1988, APTF has as its mission to increase and retain the number of young professionals pursuing careers in public transportation. It has awarded more than 125 scholarships to date.

For more information, contact Pam Boswell.

COMMENTARY

Homes Near Public Transit Are Less Likely to Go Into Default

BY KAID BENFIELD, Natural Resources Defense Council

An exhaustive analysis of 37,000 mortgages on multifamily rental properties has found that, when other factors are appropriately controlled, those properties in smart locations are substantially less likely to incur default on payments than those in average locations. Specific locational factors found to reduce the risk of default include reduced commute time, use of rail transit, walkability, the presence of retail uses, the integration of affordable housing, and proximity to parks and open space. Proximity to a freeway was found to increase the risk of default, as was increased commute time.
The research was performed by Gary Pivo of the University of Arizona and supported and published by Fannie Mae. An excellent synopsis was published earlier this month by ­Laurence Aurbach in his blog PedShed.

The numbers are quite impressive:

* Close-in locations matter. Every additional minute of commute time raises the risk of default 3.7 percent. (Put another way, every five minutes of additional commute time raises the risk 18.5 percent.)

* Transit matters. If 30 percent or more workers in a location commute by rail transit, the risk of default is reduced by 58.4 percent.

* Walkability matters. Every one percent increase in the share of workers who walk to work decreases the risk of default by 3.1 percent.

* Mixed uses matter. If there are 16 or more retail establishments nearby, the risk of default is reduced by 34.4 percent.

* Affordability matters. If the ­multifamily building qualifies as affordable housing under Fannie Mae criteria, the risk of default is reduced by 61.9 percent.

* Parks matter. If the property is located within one mile of protected green space, the risk of default is reduced by 32.5 percent.

* Distance from freeways matters. If the property is located within 1000 feet of a freeway corridor, the risk of default goes up 59 percent.

Pivo examined Fannie Mae’s database of loans to owners of multifamily rental properties, so his study was a look at “wholesale” patterns of default, not a “retail” examination of individual homes. But we already had significant evidence that individual owners are less likely to default in inner, urban locations than in outer, suburban ones. We already had strong evidence that property values of individual homes have proven more resilient in inner, urban locations well-served by transit than in outer, suburban ones that are automobile-dependent. Pivo’s new examination shows that urban markets are stronger for multifamily rental properties as well and bases the finding on a particularly strong mortgage database.

In the new study, the total number of defaults was small when compared to the total number of loans (less than one percent), but the massive size of the database was still able to produce sufficient numbers to produce telling results with regard to the geo­graphy of the loans that were and were not in default. The average age of the loans was six years, though many reflected refinancing of mortgages on older properties.

In the early 1990s my NRDC colleague David Goldstein hypothesized that buyers of homes in urban areas would have lower transportation costs and thus more income to spend on mortgages than would buyers in suburban, automobile-dependent locations. David and NRDC hired transportation researcher John Holtzclaw to look into the issue and found strong evidence that the hypothesis was correct. Since then the issue has been much more thoroughly examined and refined by a number of researchers, most notably by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and its amazing Housing + Transportation Affordability Index.

CNT’s online tool can take almost any address in a metropolitan area and tell you how much people spend in its neighborhood, on average, for both housing and transportation. (The website will also give details on driving and carbon emission rates.) People who live in urban “location-efficient” neighborhoods save money on transportation by driving less and owning fewer vehicles than people in the same metro regions taken as a whole.

CNT, David, and their partners have long believed that taking locational ­factors into account would strengthen mortgage lending decisions. Pivo’s research demonstrates it, albeit by ­looking at factors other than driving rates. The full study can be downloaded here.

Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, co-founder of Smart Growth America coalition, and author of several books on cities, smart growth and sprawl.

Reprinted with permission from NRDC © 2013. All rights reserved.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who's Doing What in the Industry

James Polk, Art Bell, Don Shay, Sharon McBride, Maxine Wortham
PEORIA, IL—The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink) Board of Trustees selected James Polk as chairman. He previously served as vice chair and succeeds Don Shay, who was the board’s chairman for nine years.

Polk, president of Balance Stone Strategy Group, joined the CityLink board in 2004. He is a former member of the Peoria County Board and was a ­Peoria city councilman from 1985 to 1993.

Also appointed were Art Bell, vice chair; Shay, treasurer; Sharon McBride, member of APTA’s Executive Committee, secretary; and Maxine Wortham, chairperson of program development.

Bill Spraul
SAN DIEGO, CA—The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has named Bill Spraul, a 30-year veteran of the transportation industry, as chief operating officer of its Transit Services Division, responsible for all bus operations. He succeeds Claire Spielberg, who is retiring after serving in that post since 2004.

Spraul most recently served as chief executive officer of the South Bend Transportation Corporation, South Bend, IN, and consultant with Veolia Transportation. Earlier he was director of transportation options for Cincinnati Metro, where he began his career in 1982.

Steven L. Abrams, Bruno Barreiro

POMPANO BEACH, FL—The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) re-elected Palm Beach County Mayor Steven L. Abrams chair of its governing board. He has served on the board since August 2010.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, a SFRTA board member for more than a decade, was re-elected vice chair.

Abrams, a former mayor of Boca Raton, was named mayor emeritus when he stepped down in 2008 due to term ­limits. He has served on the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners since 2009.

Barreiro has served four terms as SFRTA chair. He has served on the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners since 1988, representing constituents in parts of Miami, Miami Beach, Little Havana, downtown, and South Beach.

Robert Ryan
CHICAGO, IL—Robert Ryan has joined TranSystems as market sector leader for its national passenger rail and transit practice areas.

Ryan has worked in transportation for more than 30 years, including on projects for the Chicago Transit Authority, St. Louis Metro, the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, and the Ann Arbor-to-Detroit commuter rail project.

Steve Kratzer
ST. EUSTACHE, QC—Steve Kratzer has joined Nova Bus as regional sales manager serving the western U.S.

Kratzer has 16 years of experience in the transportation industry. He previously was business development manager-public sector for a motorcoach manufacturer.

Wes Coates
NEW YORK, NY—SYSTRA has named Wes Coates vice president and sector manager, planning and operations analysis.

Coates has 35 years of experience in managing public transportation programs, including MTA Capital Construction’s East Side Access and Amtrak’s Empire Corridor. He has worked for transportation consulting firms as well as rail agencies including New ­Jersey Transit Corporation, Amtrak, and Conrail.

Cynthia Roberts
CINCINNATI, OH—First Transit has appointed Cynthia Roberts manager, national call center operations, based in Hartford, CT. She will be responsible for supporting and advising the company’s specialized transportation centers across the country.

Roberts joined First Transit in 2001 as general manager of the company’s non-emergency medical transportation location in Connecticut and has worked in other roles including the management of brokerage operations.

John Seber, Robert Ruzinsky
DAYTON, OH—The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA) has named John Seber chief maintenance officer and Robert Ruzinsky to the newly created post of chief capital officer.

Seber comes to GDRTA with more than 25 years of maintenance management, working most recently as vice president of maintenance, Central Region, for MC Transportation. He succeeds John Thomas, who retired.

Ruzinsky originally joined GDRTA in 1987 as a member of the accounting group, progressing to serve as capital controller and interim manager of human resources. He left the agency in 2002 and started a transit consulting business, which he continues to operate on a limited basis. He returned to GDRTA some years ago as finance manager on a part-time basis and also was chief financial officer of the ­Butler County Regional Transit Authority, Hamilton, OH.

Diane DuBois
LOS ANGELES, CA—City of ­Lakewood Councilmember Diane DuBois is the new chair of the Los ­Angeles Metro Board of ­Directors, succeeding Los ­Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

DuBois was elected to the board in 2009. She represents the 28 cities of southeast Los Angeles County collectively known as the Gateway Cities Council of Governments. She served as mayor of Lakewood in 2008 and 2012 and, before being elected to the ­Lakewood City Council in 2005, she was a member of the city’s Planning and Environment Commission for 28 years.

Rohan Sadhai
ORLANDO, FL—Rohan Sadhai, AICP, has joined Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. as a member of its transportation team in Florida.

Sadhai has more than 12 years of experience, most recently as a senior transportation planner working on long-range transportation plans, FTA funded transit feasibility studies, and comprehensive transit master plans.

Melvin Jones
ALEXANDRIA, VA— Operation Lifesaver Inc. has announced that Melvin Jones, Virginia Operation Lifesaver state coordinator since 2005, has been named coordinator for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Before joining Operation Lifesaver, Jones spent 30 years as a law enforcement officer and executive level administrator with the Petersburg, VA, Bureau of Police and Virginia State University’s Department of Police & ­Public Safety.

Steph Stoppenhagen
DENVER, CO—CH2M HILL sustainability expert Steph Stoppenhagen has been named to the Expert Advisory Council of Smart Grid Oregon, a trade association committed to promoting the smart grid industry and infrastructure in Oregon.

Stoppenhagen is recognized as an expert in global sustainability, renewable energies, and smart cities technology.

Khalid Bekka
OMAHA, NE—HDR has named ­Khalid Bekka managing director, Gulf Arab States, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Bekka has worked for HDR since 1998, serving most recently as its economics and finance director based in Silver Spring, MD.

Pam O'Connor, Mike Bonin
LOS ANGELES, CA—Santa Monica Mayor and Los Angeles Metro Board Member Pam O’Connor is the new chair of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board of Directors.

Newly elected Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin is the new vice chair.