Passenger Transport - January 10, 2014
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NEWS HEADLINES

2014: A Look at the State of Public Transportation--Milestones and Markers

BY MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY, APTA President & CEO

A new year is a time for celebration, a time for reflection, and a time to envision the forthcoming year. APTA always aims high. And the key to achieving success is vision. Dreams precede accomplishments. Imagination is the cousin to ambition.

The year 2013 was yet another strong one for APTA. And 2014 promises to be even better. For the public transportation industry, it will be a year of growth, improvement, and success. Here’s just one reason: Americans are supporting our industry like never before.

Voter Support
This past year, citizens once again overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for smart spending on public transportation. Eleven of 15 measures in eight states were given the thumbs-up by voters, making for a success rate of more than 70 percent. Many of these measures were affirmed by huge margins. Initiatives passed in Kalamazoo, MI; Perrysburg, OH; and statewide in Maine. Many of the 2013 voter initiatives were concentrated in smaller communities, indicating public transportation’s growing importance in these areas. Our country may be divided on some matters, but when it comes to supporting public transportation, Americans are united. The new year will provide even more opportunities for Americans to endorse public transportation initiatives.

Ridership numbers tell the same story. Ridership has been up nine of the last 11 quarters. In 2012, Americans took ten and one-half billion trips on public transportation. That’s 154 million more trips than the previous year--and the seventh year in a row that we topped 10 billion. That growth continues. In the third quarter of 2013, ridership nationally was up 1.5 percent.

Clearly, our riders are putting their faith in us. Now we must continue to hold up our end of the bargain by providing the reliable, accessible, high-quality services that our riders have come to expect from us. And show that we can spend public investments wisely. We have a long history of doing just that.

Return on Investment
This year will see the opening of new projects all over the country. Streetcar projects in Washington, DC, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Seattle will be unveiled and promise to transform those communities. Subway extensions will open in Manhattan, the Bay Area, and Minnesota. Commuter rail extensions are opening in Massachusetts, Denver, and Dallas. BRT will be unveiled in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Austin; and San Diego, among other places. Electric buses have been ordered for systems in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and other cities will follow suit in the upcoming year. And these are just some of the projects beginning across America in 2014.

That builds upon successful inaugurations of similar systems in 2013. Groundbreakings took place in every region in the country, from Seattle to Texas to Chicago to New York. Those projects have already paid dividends in their communities.

By every measure, riding one of our vehicles is among the safest travel methods, and the industry is unequivocally committed to implementing innovative safety technologies. In 2014, we will continue to move aggressively to implement Positive Train Control. Our industry will also continue to work with FTA as it implements MAP-21 and move forward with rulemaking for safety and transit asset management.

The upcoming year will also be another year of technological progress. Innovations from block rail to energy storage technologies and  connected vehicles are transforming our landscapes. Among the most exciting advancements is the expansion of Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology in mobile devices, which will add incentive to use mobile phones as fare media for gated transit systems. With NFC, we will be able to tap our phones at the gate like we tap our transit cards today. Today, mobile phones can already act like Ticket Vending Machines (TVM,) allowing riders to purchase tickets with their phones and show proof of payment using the phone’s display. NFC will add to that capability.

New technologies require new training, as do systems expansions and career advancements. That’s why workplace development is so crucial to our industry. Increasing outreach to young people is vital, with the promotion of new public transit curricula offerings to higher education institutions being one such initiative. APTA will host front-line-workforce conference sessions, technical programs, and career workshop sessions at our upcoming Bus & Paratransit Conference, Rail Conference, and Annual Meeting & EXPO. In fact, APTA has training initiatives for everyone, regardless of where they stand on the career continuum. And recruiting veterans will always be a priority for our industry—leadership skills developed in the military are easily transferable to the public transportation field.

Planning Ahead
The federal government’s funding didn’t backslide last year due to MAP-21 authorization levels. At a time when many industries saw huge cutbacks, this was no small feat. But we have even greater aspirations for 2014. This year truly will be one of engagement on Capitol Hill.

First, we need to ensure that Congress restores the full commuter tax benefit to its previous levels. The new year brought a regrettable reduction in benefits for public transit riders at the same time that this tax benefit was adjusted upward for auto drivers, diverging from a balanced federal tax policy that treats different modes of travel equitably. Reversing that is one our top priorities.

We also have our eyes firmly focused on the expiration of MAP-21 on Sept. 30. Last month, APTA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved our recommendations on MAP-21 to be made to Congress. The results reflect months of hard work undertaken by our Authorization Task Force, and the proposals are based on hard data, not simply broad aspirations. We are calling on the federal government to

* increase dedicated federal revenues to the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund;
* increase current motor fuels taxes to a rate that would support growth of the federal surface transportation program;
* diversify longer-term revenue solutions beyond motor fuels taxes to provide more resilient, sustainable revenues; and
* retain and increase the longstanding General Fund component of the federal public transportation program. We are also calling for a restoration of funding for bus and bus facilities, and for balance across the programs.

But not all the work will take place in Washington, DC. The most important thing that APTA members can do this reauthorization year is share their local stories with their congressional delegations. Take your local, state, and federal government officials to your systems and businesses. Show them—don’t just tell them—how public our industry creates well-paying jobs and builds flourishing communities. Doing so is instrumental in helping our elected officials understand that public transportation matters not just to the present but to the future.

Indeed, young people are changing the face of ridership on our systems and in our businesses. They are calling for convenience and accessibility whenever they move around. A report we released in 2013 called Millennials and Mobility found that those between the ages of 18 and 35 are more fluid with their transportation choices than were previous generations. They’ll walk, bike, drive, take the bus—sometimes all on the same trip. And public transit is the backbone of that multimodalism.

According to the study, Millennials find public transit the best travel method for digital socializing and for engaging with the community. Young people also value the ability to work while riding public transit. Leveraging these competitive advantages is fundamental to the future of our industry.

And when those young people decide to settle down and buy homes, public transit will continue to be essential to their lives. A report conducted by the National Association of Realtors and APTA found that residential property values performed 42 percent better when located near high-frequency public transit corridors. Public transit is valued so highly because riders know that it is about more than just moving people from Point A to Point B. It’s about connecting communities, about uniting the urban core with the periphery.

It’s also about creating wealth. Public transportation has been proven to do just that. A report we released in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association in November showed that from 2006-2013, hotels in the ­cities with direct rail access brought in 10.9 percent more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without. Simply put, attracting tourists in larger numbers requires stronger investments in public transportation.

Bringing in those visitors is part of what is making our cities great again. Indeed, cities across the country are being revitalized as baby boomers return to urban communities. Mayors and governors understand that public transit is a major competitive advantage for any city. Our industry must meet the needs of these rapidly growing cities.

Trends
That’s why we are consistently experimenting with innovative ways to finance new projects. Among the ways in which APTA accomplishes this is to learn from our many international partners. One of the best practices our industry has adopted from abroad is value capture. What this means is that a portion of the enhanced value of property when it is adjacent to public transit infrastructure is used to help fund the transit investment. In Northern Virginia, for example, the extension of Metrorail to Dulles Airport that is opening in 2014 is funded in part through special fees to properties adjacent to the rail line.

In 2014, we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to environmental sustainability. Twenty years ago, just two percent of our vehicles used alternative fuels for power. A decade ago that number was up to 13 percent. Today that number has increased to 40 percent. In addition, we will work on advocating for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Alliance to Save Energy’s Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, of which I am a member. The commission calls for a doubling of U.S. energy productivity by 2030. Its recommendations include creating and extending tax breaks for energy-efficient public transportation. This will help the environment across the board, but especially in congested cities.

Long-Term Plans
Cities are the engines of economic growth. As our recently-released report on high-growth business clusters put it, “the role of U.S. financial and scientific leadership in the global economy will depend in part on our success sustaining the growth of financial and scientific sectors in U.S. cities, and the viability of clusters in which these firms are most productive.” And public transit is an essential component in keeping these cities and economic clusters globally competitive.

But challenges lie ahead. There are very real transportation access constraints looming that will affect the growth of all our businesses and the competitiveness of U.S. firms. New public transportation services need to be built to maintain the economic edge in these cities, according to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, among other studies.

That’s why APTA will redouble its efforts in Washington, DC, and around the country to ensure that public transportation stays high on the list of priorities of governments and citizens all across America.

Under the leadership of our Chair Peter Varga and with assistance from the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, our staff here at APTA works for you, our members, every single day.

Happy New Year!

Public Transportation’s Legislative Issues for ’14; Crowded Agenda Features MAP-21, Highway Trust Fund

BY CHRISTIAN RICHARDS, APTA Legislative Analyst

Happy New Year! The new year presents a number of challenges to our industry, but at the same time also affords us an opportunity to shape public transportation policy for years to come.

As Congress reconvenes, members will immediately need to tackle several pressing issues: the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bills, the Commuter Tax Benefit, and the debt ceiling. The Senate began work late last year on a package of tax extenders, including an extension of the Commuter Tax Benefit. However, because the House was already out of session for the year, the Senate’s efforts were ultimately moot.

Extending the Commuter Tax Benefit at the same level as the parking benefit has been a popular topic in the news recently, and APTA is working to persuade Congress to act quickly to restore parity between the Transit Commuter and Parking Tax benefits. With the expiration of the most recent extension last Dec. 31, the commuter benefit plunged to $130 per month from $245 per month, while the parking benefit actually increased to $250 per month.

Since it is administratively impossible to enact the commuter benefit retroactively at the higher level—in fact, it can take up to two months to process changes—it could be months before public transit riders see the restored benefit even if Congress acted today. While there might be room in a new surface transportation authorization bill for a permanent extension of the commuter benefit, APTA continues to urge Congress to immediately restore the commuter benefit and blunt the effects of increased out of pocket expenses for public transit commuters.

The public transportation industry has also urged Congress to extend the Alternative Fuels Tax Credit. While this credit also expired Dec. 31, it can, and should, be restored retroactively. Transportation providers depend on the credit to help offset the cost of transitioning their vehicles from diesel to compressed and liquefied natural gas. Without the credit, many—if not all—public transportation providers would be unable to afford the changeover.

While Congress passed a two-year budget resolution in December, which sets spending limits for the remainder of FY2014 and for FY2015, final appropriations legislation must also be passed prior to the Jan. 15 expiration of the current Continuing Resolution. No major details on appropriations have been released, but Congress is expected to approve an omnibus appropriations act prior to the deadline. With the budget resolution providing relief from sequestration cuts, APTA is confident that Congress will pass a spending bill to fund the federal government through the remainder of FY2014.

Congress must also address the newest debt ceiling crisis. The debt ceiling—the limit on debt accruable by the U.S. Treasury—is expected to be breached this February. The path to solving the debt ceiling problem is murky and will require the bipartisan efforts that saw the budget resolution successfully pass. Conversations are underway, but details are scarce.

In early December, APTA’s members successfully adopted a new set of guiding principles and recommended programmatic changes for the next surface transportation authorization bill. MAP-21 expires at the end of the current fiscal year, but APTA is prepared to recommend key changes for the next authorization bill. As Congress begins working on a new bill, APTA members and staff will contact key congressional committees to express the industry’s views on MAP-21 and actively advocate for modifications that will have positive impacts on public transportation.

Of the major issues related to the next authorization, none has been more talked about, and likely none is more important, than funding the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). While the exact timeline is unknown, sometime in early FY2015, the HTF and the Mass Transit Account will run out of money.

Numerous factors got us to this point, but unless a funding solution is found, neither the highway nor the public transportation program would be able to fund any new spending beyond current obligations in FY2015. This would likely mean a cessation of large numbers of bus and rail routes and all new construction projects. This would have dire effects on both the public transportation industry itself and related industries.

With the new budget agreement giving Congress room to maneuver, APTA continues to urge Congress to find a funding solution for the HTF sooner rather than later. Like the Commuter Tax Benefit, this is an issue that cannot wait until the last minute, nor can it be fixed retroactively. APTA is working with its members, industry partners, and Congress to find a workable solution that not only can fund existing federal public transit and highway programs, but also support their expansion, improvement, and innovation.

The final major item we face this year—the mid-term elections—is largely out of our hands, but they will surely alter how Congress approaches finding solutions to the issues facing public transportation. Our industry depends on stability, and, given the magnitude of these issues, we urge Congress to find workable, bipartisan solutions quickly.

To lend their voice to APTA’s advocacy efforts, public transit advocates can join the Voices for Public Transit campaign or they join the National Alliance for Public Transportation Advocates.

Industry Leaders Share Top Priorities

Passenger Transport asked public transit agency general managers and business executives to share their top priorities for their organizations in 2014. Their thoughts follow.

Launching State’s First BRT
Peter Varga
Chief Executive Officer, The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI
APTA Chair

The most significant priority for The Rapid is the successful implementation of our new BRT service, the Silver Line. More than 10 years in the making, it will be the first BRT line not only for the Grand Rapids region, but in the state of ­Michigan. We have already built 30 of the 33 stations and are tracking on schedule and under budget, but there is still much work to be done between now and Aug. 25, opening day.

Internally, we will be hiring additional staff, training bus operators, and exploring the development of park-and-ride lots at key locations. Externally, we have to develop tools to explain operational aspects of the project that are new for our community, like the ticket vending machines and how traffic will interact with the dedicated lanes. We will also be developing promotional outreach to create excitement and get existing and potential riders looking forward to this new line. We’ve already had some interest from developers looking at opportunities around stations, and we will include this in our messaging to show the economic development value of such projects to the community.

We also have a study underway on the potential for a second line. Much of the future growth of BRT in the region—and potentially in the state—hinges on how well the Silver Line measures up to expectations. Our board and staff are committed to the success of this project for many reasons, especially as this is the last piece of a plan that was approved by area voters in 2011. Our practice since our first local tax initiative was on the ballot in 2000 is to lay out a clear plan for voters and once it is approved, follow through and deliver services as promised. We successfully passed four local funding increases in 11 years, and we believe keeping our promises to the community is a critical factor in the amazing growth we have seen over the past several years and to our continued success.

Enhancing Worker Mobility
Tina Quigley
General Manager, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas

As the Las Vegas valley continues to grow and diversify economically, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is focused on providing a public transit system that enhances mobility for its growing workforce. In 2014, we will continue improving the RTC transit system so it connects people from their neighborhoods across the expansive Las Vegas valley to their workplaces in the most efficient and convenient manner possible.

In pursuit of this goal, we will launch a new route in the southwest portion of the valley in spring 2014. Over the past several years, the southwest valley has seen tremendous growth, and the new Route 120 (Fort Apache/Buffalo) will serve numerous residential communities as well as major employers such as hospitals, office parks, and shopping centers. The new route will further enhance workforce mobility by offering more transit choices to this growing area and decreasing transit travel times by reducing transfers.

Similarly, we will be increasing our service to McCarran International Airport. As Las Vegas looks forward to welcoming even more visitors in 2014, the demand for transit from tourists and our residents using or working at the airport increases, too. As a result, we will extend two express routes to serve the airport’s Terminal 3 in 2014.

Making transit reliable and convenient for our workforce will remain my top priority. We work hard to provide one of the most efficient and on-time systems in the nation. We recently unveiled the RTC’s Frequent Service routes: eight routes that operate every 15 minutes or better on weekday afternoons and every 20 minutes or better during daytime hours on the weekend.

We are pleased to begin 2014 with continued economic growth in Southern Nevada and a decline in unemployment, which is now at 9.6 percent, down from 12.8 percent just two years ago. At the same time, we are witnessing a consistent increase in ridership showing that transit service is necessary as the economy recovers. To support our continued economic recovery in 2014, we will work to provide a transit system that enhances the mobility of our growing and diverse workforce.

Adapting to Markets
C. David Dickey
Vice President-National Director, Transit & Railroads, URS Corp., NY

URS is one of a few firms within the industry capable of leveraging cradle-to-grave expertise—the ability to plan, design, construct, as well as operate and maintain transit systems. The most significant priority we face in 2014 is proactively positioning and adapting to the ever-changing market to best serve our clients in these challenging economic times. To accomplish this, we must efficiently leverage our collective resources to tackle new challenges, bring innovation to our clients, and advance cost-effective solutions.

URS strives to bring nationally recognized experts to our clients through our well-established regional leadership network and existing relationships throughout the industry.

We have demonstrated this on several recent projects: Our planners bringing innovative ways to reduce the project development timeline like the All Aboard Florida program, where we developed an aggressive stakeholder response plan that allowed us to complete an Environmental Analysis in 111 days; our engineer’s latest design for the city of Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar that incorporates streetcar, auto, and bus operations, along with a European-style, “cycle-track” for bicycles; our Transbay Transit Center program managers controlling cost, schedule, and scope, overseeing design including safety and security design guidance for California’s first multimodal high-speed rail hub; or our public-private partnership (PPP) and engineering teams that saw Ottawa’s Confederation Line PPP procurement—the largest in Canadian history—achieve commercial and financial close this past February.

To achieve our priorities in 2014, we will focus on the following areas:

* supporting streetcar and BRT systems across America, as we believe that these are integral to a healthier urban lifestyle as well as a more sustainable model for land use and growth;
* bringing innovative cost-effective solutions to the design-build and PPP market;
* applying sustainable principles of design to conserve energy and protect the environment;
* assisting our partners in optimizing their infrastructure assets and achieving the greatest return on investment through State of Good Repair initiatives; and
* leveraging our active participation in APTA committees.

We look forward to another challenging year, confident that our collective resources can continue bringing innovation and success to our partners in 2014.

Investing in State of Good Repair
Beverly A. Scott
General Manager/CEO, MassDOT Rail & Transit Division, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston

Like its peer sister ­legacy systems, the MBTA has years of under-funded maintenance to catch up on, and also the need to invest in basic infrastructure to ensure that buses, trains, ferries, and paratransit vehicles are available to serve our customers. State of Good Repair (SGR) investments in infrastructure, systems, facilities, and employees are and will continue to be at the top of my priority list. To not invest in ourselves is to break the covenant that we as stewards of this—the oldest system in the nation—have not just with our current customers and stakeholders but also with generations past who gifted this system to us as well as future generations who will thrive, or fail, based on what we leave behind.

In 2014 one of our most important priorities will be ensuring that our procurement for Red and Orange Line cars proceeds smoothly and quickly. We are seeking bids to replace 66 Red Line cars that were entered into service during 1969-1970 with 74 new vehicles. We are also seeking bids to replace the entire 120-car Orange Line fleet with 152 new vehicles. This fleet of cars entered service between 1979 and 1981 and has never undergone a mid-life overhaul.

These new fleet vehicles will be featuring wider doors, modern more fuel efficient propulsion systems, and reconfigured ADA-complaint seating and standing areas. These new cars, together with planned investments in signal, power, dispatch, and employee training, will remake our busiest heavy rail lines and bring about improved reliability and more frequent service for our customers.

As we invest in SGR and procure new vehicles for our existing customer base, it is important that we not lose sight of the promise of strategic expansion. Our current plan for expanding the Green Line north will unlock millions of dollars of economic opportunity for citizens living just north of Boston, and expand the potential for hundreds of thousands of citizens to connect to jobs, education, and opportunity throughout the region. Our priority in 2014 will continue to be moving this project toward completion.

Developing People
George Furnanz
President, Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., CA

A significant priority for Stacy and Witbeck (SWI) in 2014 is the continued development of people and relationships. Our leadership group understands the value of good people who possess the necessary technical skills to perform in this industry, but also the “soft” people attributes, such as good communication—both honest and truthful—which help get the job done. Our history has shown that the construction industry is more than just building railroads, bridges, and streets; it is also about building strong relationships where, when we work together as a “true” team, anything can be accomplished. One of our goals as a company for 2014 is to mentor, train, and challenge our current employees to further develop these relationship skills as we mobilize into new areas of the United States. We will also look to hire more young talent that possess these traits so we can continue this commitment to our company and the industry as we move further into the future.

At Stacy and Witbeck, we have always known that a project is not just about how the contractor‘s bottom line is affected, but how the owner’s and outside stakeholders’ success can be measured in the end. We believe all owners who have worked with us understand that this is a real priority to us and our past successful projects have shown that success for all involved. At Stacy and Witbeck we make an internal commitment to all our employee owners that we will keep our family approach to business, treat all owners and stakeholders fairly and honestly, and strive to be the number one choice for general contractor of all transit owners in the United States.

As we move into 2014, we realize each project will bring different challenges and risks to the table, but as we bring these experienced and talented people to each project, we, SWI owners and stakeholders, will all benefit with the continued workload and success we have all benefited from over the past 15 years.

Improving Rider Experience
Michael Allegra
General Manager, Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) recently completed the FrontLines 2015 program of projects, which included four new light rail lines and a commuter rail line totaling 70 miles. The expansion program came about from the support of UTA riders, the local business community, elected officials, and the voters; UTA was able to complete the program two years ahead of schedule and under budget. UTA’s rail network has created a backbone for the larger transit network that spans over 120 miles north to south and is fed by many bus routes, flex routes, and vanpools.

Now that UTA has completed that program, we have refocused our efforts on improving the customer experience. This means UTA will increase frequency of service on bus and rail lines, making transit even more convenient. Transit riders in Utah have already shown that they are willing to leave their cars at home and ride transit. In fact, nearly 80 percent of UTA riders have access to a vehicle but instead choose to ride transit.

UTA is also looking to improve the customer experience by implementing new and innovative technologies. These include electronic fare collection systems based on open payment programs that allow customers to easily pay fares using smart phones, electronic farecards, and credit cards. UTA is also implementing advanced uses of real-time fleet information, which allows customers to know exactly where their bus or train is, will accurately predict departure and arrival times, and help the agency improve service planning. UTA’s real-time data are also made available to private developers to create innovative mapping and route finding apps.

In addition to UTA’s customer focus, the agency is embarking on a new program to implement alternative energy. This includes the development of a fleet of compressed natural gas-powered buses, which will reduce overall emissions as the agency retires older vehicles. UTA is able to find significant fuel savings using CNG through partnerships with local providers that extract and process CNG in Utah. UTA is also partnering with local developers of electric buses. These buses are able to recharge along their route at wireless transfer charging stations.

Reorganizing for Growth
Marvin L. Thomas
President, Triunity Engineering & Management Inc., CO

As a fast growing engineering services company, the most significant priority for our business in 2014 is reorganizing to maintain momentum and overcome growth pains. In looking at our organizational structure, the leadership team considered a few key questions:

* How do we better serve our existing customers?
* How do we acquire new customers?
* What services do we want to provide to our customers?
* How do we grow our existing team members?
* How do we attract talented, new team members?
* What support structure do we need to do the above?

The resultant organizational structures emphasizes a focus on treating our highest growth accounts as if they are a vertical on their own, providing regional managers to service them.

The regional managers maintain strong, positive relationships with our team members and existing key clients. They look to leverage existing client relationships in order to provide new and/or increased services. Our future business depends on our strategic focus on the three business verticals of engineering, project controls, and construction management. For these three verticals, we have assigned SMEs who have a long history with the company and understand the culture we have built and want to foster. Their primary role is capability development of the team, client feedback on our services, and a keen focus on developing the necessary resources and materials to market the vertical. And lastly we balanced roles between the centralized functions of human resources, accounting, information technology, and quality with needed regionalized functions of project coordinators to support our project managers.

A company’s organizational structure will and should change as it grows and as its corporate focus realigns with the size and life cycle of the company. We believe for Triunity that our current alignment adequately positions us for the growth that we desire.

Delivering Proven Products
Laura Chasse
General Manager, North American Bus Business, Cummins Inc., IN

Cummins will strive to continue providing customers with reliable, fuel-efficient, and industry-leading high-performance engine systems backed by North America’s largest and most capable service and support network. As we continue to invest in research and development, our focus will center on meeting our customers’ needs by delivering products built upon proven technology with a reliability that has been tested over millions of miles in bus applications.

Cummins is the only engine manufacturer to design and develop our engine components in-house from air handling to exhaust aftertreatment, and it is our commitment to implement continuous improvements to these subsystems in 2014 and beyond. These continuous improvements will ultimately lead to products that are more fuel-efficient for customers while also maintaining near-zero emissions and a reduction in overall greenhouse gases. Continuing to deliver products with proven reliability will help deliver increased fleet uptime while helping to reduce the overall operating costs of bus authorities.

Customer support will remain a top priority in 2014 as well. Our industry-leading support network will remain focused on delivering excellent customer service for our bus customers across North America. Our commitment to customer care means providing support throughout the life cycle of the engine system and focusing that support across the entire channel from OEM to dealer and on to the end customer. We are continuing to concentrate our efforts to improve the capability of our service and support channel. This includes implementing improvements to our parts and service network, maintenance information accessibility, and engine diagnostic tool capability. Cummins is also working to continue providing the necessary training and tools for maintenance professionals across all of our channels within the bus industry.

Cummins is excited to work diligently in delivering an excellent lineup of diesel and natural gas products for our customers and maintain our market leadership in 2014 and beyond. We are fully committed to continuing to provide fuel-efficient, high-performance, and reliable products that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers, all backed by industry leading service and support.

Advancing First BRT Line
Jeff Hamm
Executive Director/Chief Executive ­Officer, Clark County Public ­Transportation Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN), Vancouver, WA

It’s dangerous to speak of a transit agency’s “most significant priority.” Twists of fate routinely blow them to dust or shuffle them deep into the deck of cards we play.

Don’t get me wrong. Goals and ­priority setting are necessary endeavors that help organize our future and focus our energies. But “free will” is in pretty short supply for us bureaucrats who run transit agencies. To make matters worse, I’m superstitious. If I call out my most significant priority for 2014, do I jinx it?

One must have faith to work in this wonderful business, however, so just this once for Passenger Transport . . .

C-TRAN, as a mid-size bus operator in southwest Washington state, has been teetering for years over the question of what it wants to be when it grows up. Most of that teetering has been over the role that high-capacity transit should play in this growing but mostly suburban community. The agency finally crossed a threshold in 2013 when the board narrowly approved participating in the extension of Portland, OR, TriMet’s light rail line into Vancouver, and then giving the green light to proceed with project development of the agency’s first bus rapid transit line. Much of Vancouver is tailor made for BRT, and the successful launch of the first corridor will absolutely redefine public transit in this community. Advancement of that BRT line through design and environmental to a funding agreement with FTA has to be this agency’s most significant 2014 priority.

While all is under control at the local level for now, progress on C-TRAN’s most significant 2014 priority requires federal funding. All the more reason for C-TRAN to be a member of and to participate in APTA, lest we surrender to one more twist of fate.

The Real Polar Express: Transit Recovers from Arctic Blast

A blast of record-breaking frigid air—a “polar vortex”—affected about 240 million people in an area from North Dakota to Texas and the Great Lakes to Maryland, temporarily closing public transit agencies or curtailing service on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 6-7, and further complicating public transit travel following a recent major blizzard. Most public transit systems returned to normal schedules and hours as temperatures rose during the week.

The following summarizes some actions taken by agencies to continue operating during the deep freeze.

Cleveland. The rail lines of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) experienced delays and cancellations starting Jan. 6. The agency began restoring limited service on the Blue and Green lines on Jan. 7, but sections of the Red Line remained closed, with shuttle buses providing some service to closed sections. Agency officials also reported that a number of buses were out of service because they wouldn’t start or had frozen air systems. Crews worked around the clock during minus-11-degree temperatures (with a wind chill of minus 40 degrees) to warm up rail switches and signals and thaw frozen buses. All agency routes returned to service by Wednesday morning, Jan. 8.

Indianapolis. IndyGo suspended bus service Jan. 6 and 7 but continued to honor reservations made for transportation to medical appointments on its paratransit service for certified riders needing to travel to dialysis appointments. In addition, the agency was minimally staffed with fixed route operators to support emergency management. (In emergency situations, IndyGo is set up to support evacuation efforts by transporting disaster victims to shelters and serve as mobile warming stations for victims and first responders.) The agency returned to normal service Jan. 8, with some delays and detours due to bad road conditions.

Chicago. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) continued to operate virtually all its bus and rail service throughout the record cold, with only a handful of routes disrupted. Jammed switches and stuck doors caused some interruptions in rail service with delays of five to 15 minutes. Bus service remained mostly on schedule, however. Operations, repair, and infrastructure staff manually threw switches and worked around the clock to maintain or restore service. During the two coldest days, CTA provided more than 36,000 bus trips and about 4,000 rail trips. Normal schedules for all routes resumed on Tuesday afternoon.

About 80 miles west of Chicago, more than 500 Amtrak passengers spent the night of Jan. 6 aboard three trains stopped because of snowdrifts that reached five and six feet and minus-5-degree temperatures. The trains—staffed by Amtrak crews—were equipped with food and beverages (which the rail agency provided as a complimentary service), heat and light, restroom facilities, and train-side emergency support, including EMTs. On the morning of Jan. 7, Amtrak shuttled passengers from two trains back to its Princeton, IL, station, and transferred the remainder by charted buses to the Galesburg station. All passengers arrived in Chicago by early afternoon. No injuries were reported.

Toronto. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) took 61 streetcars—about one-third of its rush-hour fleet—out of service on Jan. 6 when ice coated overhead wires and plunging temperatures froze pneumatic air systems. To restore service, the agency dispatched buses to supplement streetcar routes and sent 10 “storm cars” along all 11 downtown streetcar routes to thaw and repair switches. Some workers stood on trucks and used sticks to knock the ice from the overhead wires. As for its subway service, the TTC ran de-icing trains in the outdoor portions of the system and stored trains in tunnels overnight.

 
Photo courtesy of GCRTA
This train, operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, was stopped dead in its tracks by ice and snow during a “polar vortex” that blanketed the nation’s midsection with record-breaking frigid temperatures and high winds.

Third Quarter Ridership Up 1.5 Percent

U.S. public transit ridership during the third quarter of 2013 totaled nearly 2.7 billion trips, a 1.5 percent increase over the same quarter in 2012, according to APTA statistics. The increase represents more than 39 million trips.

Ridership increased in all public transportation modes, led by 3.1 percent among light rail systems.

Noting that ridership has grown in nine of the last 11 quarters, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said: “Public transportation ridership continued to grow across the country in large, medium, and small communities during the third quarter of 2013. This continued demand for public transportation demonstrates the value of public transit to individuals and to the communities they live in, regardless of size.”

Melaniphy also cited other factors affecting ridership such as high gas prices and recovering local economies.

Half of the 28 light rail agencies that contributed data to the report had ridership increases, led by New Orleans, LA, 71.2 percent; Denver, CO, 25.3 percent, with a new line opened earlier in the year; Salt Lake City, UT, 13.4 percent; and Pittsburgh, PA, 10.2 percent.

Heavy rail systems showed growth of 2.4 percent, led by Miami, FL, at 11.1 percent.

Among commuter rail agencies, 22 of 28 systems experienced increased ridership, with an overall increase of 1.9 percent, led by Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City, which saw a triple-digit increase due to a new line opening in December 2012.

Bus ridership increased nationally by 0.7 percent, while demand response grew 2.2 percent. Trolleybus ridership increased by 2.6 percent.

For details, click here.

Houston Launches North Light Rail

Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) reported 4,500 boardings on its Red Line light rail extension on its recent opening day. Passengers rode free all day for the entire Red Line, including the existing 7.5-mile section as well as the 5.3-mile extension, and ridership on the whole line totaled 22,054.

METRO hosted ceremonial events at both ends of the North Line on opening day. Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) cut a ­ribbon at the last station stop, Northline Transit Center/HCC. Other elected officials gathered at the start of the North Line, UH-Downtown station, where they boarded the special train. The inaugural bash culminated with food, public activities, and live music at Moody Park.

“Light rail is successful in ­Houston and it’s expanding,” said METRO Interim President & CEO Tom ­Lambert. “Northside residents can now board a train from their community and take a one-seat ride into downtown Houston and beyond, and vice versa. The North Line not only extends our existing Red Line, its bridging communities. We have reason to celebrate. Our work is not done; two more lines in 2014.”

METRO also celebrated another landmark on Jan. 1: the 10th anniversary of the opening of the original Red Line. The agency noted that the line has hosted nearly $4 billion in public-private development from 2004 to 2011.

“The success of the Main Street Line validates the importance rail plays in the city’s transportation landscape,” said METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

Photo by Tom Callins
Cutting the ribbon for Houston’s Red Line extension are, from left, Rep. Gene Green and his wife Helen Green, METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia, Interim METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert, and METRO Board Member Christof Spieler.

$5 Billion for MTA Weather Improvements

A year after Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has allocated $5.1 billion in federal and state emergency funding to implement the most comprehensive reconstruction of MTA New York City Transit’s subways in its 110-year history. The funds are part of $7.1 billion to also replace 100 at-risk bridges, renovate roads, and provide severe weather support for city airports.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, announced these projects during a Jan. 7 event in Albany to unveil “Reimagining New York for a New Reality,” a $17 billion effort designed to better prepare the nation’s largest city for weather emergencies.

“The new reality in New York is we are getting hit by ‘100-year storms’ every couple of years. We have to wake up to that new reality by completely reimagining our state to be ready for any future disaster,” Cuomo said.

The subway reconstruction will ­comprise all facets of the system, including technologies to seal ­hundreds of subway and tunnel entrances and station stairways, increase pump capacity in stations and tunnels, and protect bus and train yards. It also will include consideration of projects to rebuild six under-river tubes used by one million people each day.

In other Hurricane Sandy news, DOT recently announced the availability of an additional $3 billion for public transportation systems in states impacted by the storm. FTA funds will go to projects that protect critical public transit infrastructure from being damaged or destroyed by future natural disasters.

Giulietti Named Next President of Metro-North

MTA Metro-North Railroad has announced that Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach, will become Metro-North’s president following the Jan. 31 retirement of Howard Permut.

Giulietti joined Tri-Rail in 1998 as deputy executive director and became executive director two years later. He was a Metro-North executive for 15 years, beginning with the creation of the railroad in 1983 as superintendent of transportation. He began his transportation career with Penn Central in 1971 while attending Southern Connecticut State University, and he then joined Conrail in 1978.

He is an at-large member of the APTA Executive Committee and serves on numerous APTA committees.

“Having worked at Metro-North when it began operations 31 years ago, I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead a railroad that is such a vital part of life for the people it serves,” Giulietti said. “Metro-North’s customers have learned to have high expectations of their railroad, and I want to ensure it always performs safely, efficiently, and effectively for the future.”

Permut has been a senior Metro-North executive since he helped found the railroad in 1983. He has served as its president for more than five years. He began his career with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1979.

Trottenberg to Head New York City DOT

Polly Trottenberg, under secretary of transpor­tation for policy at DOT, has been nominated New York City transportation commissioner by new Mayor Bill de Blasio. She earlier served DOT as assistant secretary.

Trottenberg also was the inaugural executive director of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan nonprofit organization supporting increased investment in infrastructure and major transportation policy reform.

The new mayor supports expanding bus rapid transit in the outer boroughs, increasing bicycling, reducing traffic ­fatalities, and boosting the efficiency of city streets.

New and Interim Chief Executives Named

Amrhein, PARTA
The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), Kent, OH, has promoted Assistant General Manager Claudia Amrhein to general manager. She succeeds John Drew, who is retiring.

Amrhein joined PARTA in 2004 as director of human resources and served as assistant general manager since July 2013. In addition to directing the Human Resources Department, she has overseen the Training and Safety Department and was the lead facilitator for policy development and records management, labor negotiations and contract administration, safety and security programs, as well as for the 2011 Triennial Review, a three-year federal audit.

“I am happy that the board selected Claudia as my successor. I’m sure she’ll do an excellent job guiding PARTA in the years to come,” Drew said.

Redden, Chicago RTA
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors in Chicago has approved a resolution naming Leanne Redden as acting executive director of RTA, effective March 1. Redden has served as the agency’s senior deputy executive director of planning since 2005.

During her tenure with RTA, Redden has been instrumental in developing strategic long-range planning initiatives for the region’s public transit system and was a key player in the 2008 funding reform legislation.

“Leanne has been a leader in the transportation community for 24 years, specifically in transit for eight, and I have every confidence she will succeed in this job. Her knowledge and extensive experience with the region’s service boards and transit agencies will truly be an asset to the agency,” said RTA Chairman John S. Gates Jr.

Duffy, Marin County, CA
The Marin County Transit District, San Rafael, CA, has named ­Barbara Duffy as interim transit manager, effective Jan. 31. She will take office following the departure of Chief Executive Officer David Rzepinski; he is relocating to Santa Barbara with his wife, Mona Miyasato, who was recently appointed county administrator for Santa Barbara County.

Duffy joined Marin Transit as grant manager in 2011 and was subsequently named chief of operations and planning. Earlier she was general manager of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority and interim general manager for Petaluma Transit, both in California.

Rzepinski served as the district’s general manager since June 2008. Previously he worked 19 years for the city of Los Angeles, most recently as director of transit operations for Los Angeles DOT.

Fox, Memphis
The Memphis Area Transit ­Authority (MATA) Board of Commissioners has named Deputy General Manager Tom Fox interim president and general manager.

This appointment follows the retirement of ­William Hudson, MATA general manager since 1993, at the end of 2013.

Fox joined MATA in ­September 1990 and became deputy general manager in April 2011.

His other positions with the agency include director of planning and deputy director for administration and planning.



LaHood Joins BAF

Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has joined Building America’s Future (BAF) as a new co-chair, joining former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

BAF is a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials committed to raising awareness about the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.

“I am delighted to join Building America’s Future as a co-chair and am excited to work together with some of the nation’s most innovative public leaders,” LaHood said. “While there is widespread agreement that our nation’s aging roads, bridges, transit, and aviation systems are woefully inadequate, Washington has failed to show leadership in making the tough decisions to increase revenue to fund these critical investments. With the Highway Trust Fund just months away from insolvency, it is time for action.”

LaHood succeeds former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a founding co-chair of BAF who will continue working with the organization through the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California.

New Capital Projects for 2014: An Overview

Public transportation agencies throughout North America are moving forward on major projects in a variety of modes: commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, modern streetcar, and bus rapid transit (BRT). Here’s a preliminary list of new and expanded services scheduled to open in 2014.

Northeast
MTA New York City Transit plans to open the extension of the 7 subway line to the far west side of ­Manhattan this summer. The line currently terminates at Times Square and will continue to a new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

NYC Transit will open Fulton ­Center—which it calls “a downtown ‘Grand ­Central’ station”—in June. This facility will connect nine subway lines and improve access to another two lines.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is finishing five new heavy rail stations as it prepares to open the 11.6-mile Phase I of the Silver Line.

District DOT, Washington, DC, plans to launch two miles of modern streetcar service on H Street NE, beginning at Union Station, late in 2014.

Southeast
The initial segment of Florida DOT’s SunRail commuter rail line is due to enter service in May. The route runs from DeBary, north of Sanford, to Sand Lake Road in south Orlando.

The city of Atlanta is working with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and businesses to launch the Atlanta Downtown Streetcar later this year. It will run between the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and Centennial Olympic Park.

LYNX in Orlando, FL, is preparing two new BRT lines under the LYMMO brand. East/West BRT, opening in April, will largely operate in mixed traffic with some dedicated lanes. Parramore BRT, opening later in the year, is a new 2.1-mile line.

Midwest
The Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI, will introduce revenue service for SilverLine BRT on Aug. 25. A special event including a ­ceremonial first ride will precede the beginning of service.

The Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago DOT are preparing to open the Central Loop (East-West) BRT Corridor this year. This service will operate bus-only lanes along Washington and ­Madison streets and will include a new bus terminal at Union Station.

Metro Transit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, will launch Green Line light rail in the summer, connecting downtown ­Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul at Union Depot Station.

South
Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County will open two more light rail lines this fall: East End (Green) and Southeast (Purple).

Dallas Area Rapid Transit will open the last section of Orange Line light rail, connecting the Belt Line Station to Terminal A of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, before the end of the year.

Rockies
Transfort in Fort Collins, CO, is scheduled to launch MAX BRT in May. The new service will operate in a north-south corridor more than five miles long, which includes about three miles of new transit-only concrete guideway.

Pacific Northwest
Seattle’s King County Metro will launch two new RapidRide BRT lines during 2014. The E Line opens Feb. 15, while the RapidRide F Line will begin in June.

California
Omnitrans, San Bernardino, CA, will open its first BRT service, sbX, in April. The 15.7-mile corridor will connect northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda, with 16 stations and four park-and-ride facilities.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System plans to introduce BRT service on its I-15 Express Lanes this summer. Commuter Express bus routes currently operate on these lanes.

Los Angeles Metro is working with the city and county of Los Angeles on the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project in Los Angeles, an upgrade of the current Wilshire service. Improvements are planned for 9.9 miles of the 12.5-mile route, including 7.7 miles of peak period curbside bus lanes.

Canada
In Edmonton, AB, the 3.3-km Metro Line (North LRT to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) is expected to enter service in late June. This is the first segment of a planned LRT expansion to the Edmonton city limits and includes three new stations.

Calgary Transit in Calgary, AB, will open the final extension of its Northwest Light Rail Line (Red Line) in the fall. The line currently has eight stations, and this extension will add one new station.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Frederick L. Daniels Jr.!

Frederick L. Daniels Jr.
Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair, Board of Directors
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Member, APTA Board of Directors; Chair, Transit Board Members Committee; Member, Finance Committee, Diversity Council; APTA Nominating Committee

How many people are at your agency?
MARTA has about 4,500 employees. About 1,500 are in administration and 3,000 in operations. We’re a multimodal agency—bus, rail, and paratransit—with about 130 million passenger trips a year.

How long have you been involved in the public transportation industry?
I’ve been affiliated with the MARTA board for about five years. I grew up in ­Cleveland riding the RTA. You took public transit regardless of your social or ­economic background. No one had the mind-set of driving. Taking transit was commonplace. When my family later moved to Atlanta, my high school buddies and I used to ride the MARTA East Line train back and forth when it first opened, just for fun. Atlanta is more of a car-centric city. One of our challenges is trying to get that single rider out of his or her car and onto our system.

How long have you been an APTA member?
My first APTA meeting was the Rail Conference in Vancouver in 2010. I attended to learn more about rail and about the financial aspects of transit—as a banker, that’s where my interest first drifted. We toured Vancouver’s rail yard and train control complex. That’s when I started to learn about what it takes to operate a rail system.

My second APTA meeting was the Transit Board Members Seminar in Eugene, Oregon that same year. Colleagues who had 10 or 15 years of board experience welcomed me—a neophyte—into the discussions. I established relationships that continue to this day.

The first BRT system I ever rode was in Eugene. I was able to bring some knowledge about its benefits back to Atlanta to help strengthen our arguments for more transit investment. BRT is light rail on different wheels, but they share the importance of a dedicated right of way. Passengers don’t care if they’re on a skateboard as long as they get where they want to go on-time and efficiently. The knowledge I gained along with the new relationships really helped me to articulate the benefits of both BRT and light rail. We were able to change some minds leading up to a regional transit referendum in 2012. Unfortunately, voters still didn’t approve it.

What drew you to your work in public transportation?
I was originally approached because of my financial expertise. My goal was to begin improving MARTA’s financial sustainability and increasing the business we do with minority- and women-owned small businesses. That was the initial ­impetus. Serving on the board stretched my intellectual capacity and provided greater insight into the lives we impact with our decisions. I really believe in that saying, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I see it as an opportunity to bring about positive change, giving back through your time and talent to impact the lives of others for the better.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job?
APTA membership has several benefits that I would meld into one: the ability to look at best practices across agencies. Part of my fiduciary responsibility as a board member is to analyze data. Because of APTA, I have access to independent data about peer systems with comparable indices. I also appreciate talking with board members from other systems to understand their challenges and hear how they are working to overcome them. You really can’t put a price tag on that kind of information. It’s priceless.

What do you like most about your job with the agency?
Of all our daily boardings, I might only know a few riders. Still, I really value doing work that has such a positive impact on people I’ll never meet. By serving on the board, I can do my best for individuals and for the agency—to help prepare it for greatness and better explain MARTA’s wide-ranging economic impact on the whole region.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
It would be our commitment to the environment. MARTA was an original signatory on APTA’s Sustainability Commitment, and our efforts since then are widespread across the agency. For example, in one of our bus yards, we used a FTA grant to install solar panels. We generate so much power from those panels that we sell some of it back to Georgia Power, our electric utility. The vast majority of our bus fleet runs on cleaner burning compressed natural gas, and by 2018, we’re planning to retire our last diesel-powered bus. The board has also committed to going green. We don’t generate any paper—all of our board information is electronic. It saves us a lot of money—to say nothing of the environment.

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Richard Weaver!

Richard Weaver
Director, Planning, Policy, and Sustainability
Policy Department

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

This is a tough question to answer because I am responsible for many things. One of my top priorities is working on advocacy efforts through the National Alliance of ­Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), an organization of grassroots public transit supporters. NAPTA member organizations are eligible for APTA coalition grants, which can be used to help leverage local activities. This is very much a collaborative effort with my colleagues in the APTA Government Affairs and Communications and ­Marketing departments.

Another major priority is working with committees and meeting member needs. All four of my committees have seats on the APTA Board of Directors: Policy and Planning, Sustainability, State Affairs, and Mobility Management.

My other top priority is the work I do for APTA’s conferences. With member help, I develop the technical planning and financing track at the Bus & Paratransit Conference and the Rail Conference and put together other policy sessions for the Annual Meeting. I also work closely on the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop.

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 direct contact with APTA members on a daily basis. I provide members with information on a variety of topics—almost too many to count. One caller may ask for information about writing enabling legislation for a public transportation authority while another asks about funding initiatives. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I do know who the caller can contact.

As a co-director of the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), I am now getting more questions on integrating community transportation, vanpools, and bike and car sharing into the community and urban mobility.

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

We do most projects in a collaborative way at APTA. So taking pride is shared among other APTA staff.

Two efforts of which I am most proud are the APTA Sustainability Commitment and the APTA Standards Working Groups on Sustainability and Urban Design. We are working with the Communications and Marketing Committee to help develop a toolkit to educate members on the commitment.

The APTA Sustainability Commitment recognizes organizations who exceed the basic measures with a higher status. More than 100 organizations have already signed on to the commitment; recently the first member joined at the Platinum level.

I also take great pride in my achievements as a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2013. I worked on a team project concerning the role of public transportation in mega events such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

I am one of three co-directors of NCMM, along with representatives of Easter Seals and the Community Transportation Association of America. These organizations created the center to facilitate activities that will help communities adopt transportation strategies and mobility options to encourage independent and self-sufficient living.

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

I applied for the research assistant position in 1985. I had to review the Federal Register on a daily basis—there was no electronic version back in those days—and summarize notices of proposed rulemaking. This was in the Reagan era, when there was interest in eliminating FTA. More recently, I was a program manager, senior program manager, and now a director.

Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?

I previously worked for another nonprofit organization representing U.S. flag shipping companies, which received assistance from the Federal Maritime Administration. When I joined APTA, some of my colleagues joked that public transportation—like their own field—was “a dying industry.” Well, time has proven the opposite. Public transit plays a catalytic role in development and community building and connecting communities. I am a big supporter of transit-oriented development.

What professional ­affiliations do you have?

Along with NCMM, I am an associate member of the Urban Land Institute, a member of the steering committee of Rail~Volution, and a member of the American Planning Association.

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

I chair the National Complete Streets ­Coalition, which includes AARP, Smart Growth America, Institute of Transportation Engineers, National Association of Realtors, National Society of Landscape Architects, American Planning Association, America Walks, and other partners.

Make sure you see Richard Weaver's video, now that you've read this!

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

NYC Transit Opens 7 Line Extension

Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined officials of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Dec. 20 for the first ride on the extension of the MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) 7 Subway line, the first extension funded by the city in more than 60 years.

The extension provides a connection to Manhattan’s Far West Side, which has undergone extensive development in recent years. The $2.4 billion project is scheduled to be complete this summer.

“Today’s historic ride is yet another symbol of how New York City has become a place where big projects can get done,” said Bloomberg. “This project is the linchpin of an ambitious transit-oriented, mixed-use development that is already transforming Manhattan’s Far West Side.”

As part of the redevelopment of ­Hudson Yards, a 45-block area on ­Manhattan’s Far West Side, the city and the MTA worked together to extend the 7 Subway line farther west from its current terminus at Times Square to the new ­station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue.

The station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue will be accessible; it will be the first station in the system to have two high-rise incline elevators that will provide access to riders between the upper mezzanine and lower mezzanine, 108 feet below street level. Four high-rise escalators will also be installed at the station.

Philips Contracts with WMATA for Energy-Saving Lights in Parking Garages

Philips has entered into a contract with the Washington Metro­politan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to upgrade the lighting in 25 of the authority’s parking garages.

The contract provides for the conversion of more than 13,000 of WMATA’s fixtures from high-pressure sodium lighting to a custom-designed LED lighting solution. The new technology is expected to reduce energy usage by 68 percent or 15 million kilowatt-hours per year while providing real-time data on energy consumption.

According to Philips, the new lighting system will remove more than 11,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. Energy cost savings will cover installation and operation costs, requiring no up-front capital expenditures.

The system will provide both interior and exterior lighting to the WMATA parking garages, using a modular design that can be configured to meet the specific needs of each facility.

Cleveland RTA Celebrates Centennial of Light Rail Lines

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) marked the centennial of its Green and Blue light rail lines on Dec. 17.

On that date in 1913, trains began operating on a 1.6-mile segment of private right-of-way between the suburban city of Shaker Heights and the Terminal Tower project in Cleveland as part of a plan by developers and brothers O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen. The Cleveland & Youngstown Railway, as it was first known, had a fare of 3 cents.

“It’s great to have been able to serve this region with passenger rail for 100 years now, as many other communities keep struggling with how to make it happen,” said RTA Chief Executive Officer and General Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Calabrese. “RTA has and will continue to invest in upgrading this network for the benefit of our growing customer base.”

RTA light rail continues to operate on the original track—the oldest section of continuously operating tracks still in use in Cuyahoga County, and one of the few surviving American light rail systems from the original streetcar era. It is now served by five RTA Green Line stations.

In 1920, the line changed its name to the Cleveland Interurban ­Railway (CIRR). That same year, the Van ­Sweringen brothers opened a direct, dedicated line, separating light rail trains from other rail and street traffic, from Shaker Heights to East 34th Street.

The city of Cleveland acquired the Cleveland Railway in 1942, and in 1944 the city of Shaker Heights acquired the CIRR. The two systems united in 1975 with the creation of RTA.

Las Vegas Student Art Contest Boosts Anti-Graffiti Efforts

The Regional Transpor­ta­tion Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) in Las Vegas recently recognized the winners of its annual Anti-Graffiti Art Contest: Lyle Anthony Abapo of James Cashman Middle School and Catelyn Kaufman of Roy Martin Middle School. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Keep Southern Nevada Graffiti Free.”

The artwork of the two winners will be displayed on the outside of RTC transit vehicles and will travel Las Vegas ­Valley streets for up to one year.
More than 170 students from 14 schools across the region submitted their original designs supporting the message of respecting each other’s ­property and not devaluing or defacing it with graffiti.

RTC sponsors the contest each year along with Vector Media and Outdoor Promotions, in partnership with the Clark County School District, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Graffiti Investigation Section, Crime Stoppers, and the Southern Nevada Graffiti Coalition.

Photow courtesy of RTC
Lyle Anthony Abapo and Catelyn Kaufman display their winning artwork at ceremonies following RTC’s Anti-Graffiti Art Contest.


Valley Metro Rail Achieves Saturday Ridership Record

Phoenix hosted numerous activities Dec. 7, and record numbers of riders used Valley Metro Rail to travel to and from the events, resulting in the highest Saturday ridership in the light rail line’s history—58,408 boardings.

Events that day served by Valley Metro Rail included the Arizona State University’s (ASU) Pac 12 Championship football game, the Tempe Festival of the Arts, the city’s 27th annual APS Electric Light Parade, and a concert by Beyoncé at US Airways Center.

“Valley Metro Rail was designed to connect passengers to employment, education, and entertainment,” said Stephen Banta, Valley Metro Rail chief executive officer. “Special event ridership is an important segment of our base and to creating a vibrant local economy.”

The Dec. 7 ridership also was the fourth highest in the system’s history; the highest was 65,088 on Oct. 18, 2012, serving an ASU football game.

LTD Receives 'Ripple of Hope' Award

Lane Transit District (LTD) General Manager Ron Kilcoyne, right, accepts the 2013 Ripple of Hope Award from Terry McDonald, executive director, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, OR. The award recognizes an agency in the Eugene-Springfield area that partners with St. Vincent de Paul and other area organizations to provide emergency housing for the homeless. LTD earned the honor for transporting homeless people to the organization’s Egan Warming Centers when temperatures drop below 30 degrees. McDonald said: “I don’t think I am exaggerating that your efforts literally have saved lives.” He explained that the society operates centers throughout the region, rather than in a centralized location, adding: “As we all know, public transport is absolutely the glue that holds that effort together." 

First of WMATA’s New Metrorail Fleet


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) welcomed the first of its new 7000-series railcars Jan. 6 at Greenbelt Station. The new cars from Kawasaki will undergo testing over the next several months before full-scale production begins later this year. The 528-vehicle order includes 300 cars that will replace the oldest cars in the fleet, the 1000-series, and additional cars to accommodate ridership growth anticipated when the Silver Line enters service. WMATA incorporated customer comments into specifications for the 7000-series cars, such as seat design and material, flooring material and colors, interior layout, and accessibility elements. Participants in the tour of the railcar included Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD); Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.

CTA Holds Online Auction of Agency Memorabilia

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently completed its first-ever online auction, providing public transit fans with their own piece of CTA history in time for the holidays.

During the week-long event, customers placed 1,737 bids totaling more than $34,000 on 117 items, including two vintage 2200-series railcars. The auction generated 36,000 page views on the auction website hosted by firm Rick Levin Associates Inc.

“The CTA is pleased with the outcome of our first auction of bus and rail memorabilia and to be able to offer collectibles to our customers and fans,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

The vintage railcars received 59 bids, with top bids of $13,150 and $10,000—well above the $4,000 each car would have fetched as scrap. The CTA retired the 2200-series, built between 1969 and 1971, from its fleet earlier this year.

Other popular items included a bus shelter and railway crossing that each sold for $400, a farebox machine for $360, a rail conductor seat for $310, and a bus stop sign for $250.

One of the vintage CTA railcars sold during an online auction.


 

Amtrak Debuts Portland Express


Photo by Travelportland.com
Riders on the Amtrak Cascades line can get a taste of Portland, OR, as they grab a bite to eat when they ride in the specially wrapped and designed dining car that is part of the rail line’s Portland Express. The dining car’s exterior is covered in iconic images portraying many of Portland’s landmarks, restaurants, and tourist attractions, while the interior features custom wallpaper, furniture, and accessories provided or inspired by Portland vendors and artisans. The special car will be in service through March.

COTA Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus launched a year-long celebration of its 40th-anniversary year with a family-friendly celebration Dec. 31 at First Night Columbus, followed by free fares on New Year’s Day.

COTA’s “Bus Ride to Fun” at First Night Columbus gave guests an opportunity to enter a prize drawing by collecting at least seven exhibitor stamps on a special pass. The agency also provided late night service on two bus routes until 3 a.m. on Jan. 1.

In recognition of COTA’s first day providing public transportation services on Jan. 1, 1974, passengers rode free between midnight Jan. 1 and midnight Jan. 2. The agency will also mark service changes throughout the year with special 50-cent fares on the first day of each change.

APTA in January

Each year, APTA publishes and distributes to its members a wall calendar that presents some of the many facets of public transportation, offers interesting data points about the value of public transit, and tracks key APTA events. Here’s what’s on tap for January:

The photo: This month’s photo features students boarding the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) Metro Express at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA. The photo is provided courtesy of the RTD.

The factoid: Did you know? 35 million times each weekday, people board public transportation.

The event: APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors Annual Business Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22-24 in Del Mar, CA.

Public Transit Gives Back During the Holidays

 

Metro Bus, St. Cloud, MN, collected more than one ton of food and more than $1,400 in 18 hours during its “Fill the Flyer” Food Drive. Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan Daniel, third from right, joins agency employees, Boy Scout volunteers, and Santa Claus outside the collection bus.

DART First State participated in a radio station’s “12 Days of Christmas” toy drive by providing a bus to serve as a collection point for Toys for Tots in a store parking lot in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Donations included thousands of toys, 57 bikes, 60 winter coats, and numerous bags of hats, gloves, and scarves. In addition, DART First State employees donated more than 90 toys at Toys for Tots collection boxes in all agency facilities statewide.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) Charity Club Holiday Shop provided more than 600 bicycles and 11,000 other toys this year. MARTA employees who participate in the voluntary club give year-round. The group has raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for more than 400 ­Atlanta-area charities and nonprofits.

Festively dressed participants in the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC) Holiday Bike Ride pose with the toys they donated to a Las Vegas radio station’s annual toy drive for local children. The 10-mile, round-trip ride began and ended at the RTC’s Westcliff Transit Center.

Employees of Dallas Area Rapid Transit joined local print and broadcast partners in stuffing a bus with toys, canned goods, socks and blankets to benefit two employee-organized charitable campaigns.

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) collected $5,300 from its riders during Fares for Food Day—enough for the Food Bank of Iowa to provide 23,850 meals. Food Bank of Iowa Executive Director Carey Miller, center, accepts the check from DART officials, from left: Planning Director Jim Tishim, Commission Chairman Steve Van Oort, General Manager Elizabeth Presutti, Marketing Director Kirstin Baer-Harding, Chief Financial Officer Jamie Schug, and Public Affairs Manager Gunnar Olson.

COMMENTARY

Building a Solid Board Chair-CEO Alliance

BY DOUG EADIE, Doug Eadie & Company

Consider this true story from the field: When the board-savvy general manager (CEO) of the regional transit authority approached his board chair about the need for a better designed process for board evaluation of his performance, suggesting that the board’s governance committee devote a couple of work sessions coming up with a new approach, he got the gut response he’d expected: “If it ain’t broke, why bother trying to fix it? We’ve got plenty going on already.”

No one on the board was pressuring him to improve the process, the chair pointed out; in fact, everyone seemed pretty satisfied with the questionnaire they’d been using for a decade or so. The GM didn’t press the point at first, instead opting to educate his chair over the next few weeks. They were early in the new fiscal year, so there was time to re-design the process and actually use it at the end of the year. So over the course of a series of breakfast meetings, the GM convinced his chair that the current process, involving a questionnaire that essentially measured board members’ opinions about the GM’s functional competence in areas like financial planning and supervision, was dangerously subjective, missing the key outcomes piece and leaving both the board and GM at a disadvantage.

The next steps were for the chair and GM to reach agreement on the outline of a more outcomes focused process and on the chair’s playing the leading role in fleshing out the outline with the governance committee over the course of two work sessions, which the chair agreed to schedule. Naturally, the chair suggested that the GM, being the CEO and having a big stake in the outcome, take the lead in the work sessions, but he came around when the GM pointed out that it’d take the chair’s influence to overcome the inevitable resistance from committee members who were pretty comfortable with the way evaluation had been done for as long as they’d been on the board. As the GM expected, the board chair’s strong leadership did the trick, and the upgraded evaluation process was implemented during the current fiscal year.

What Board-Savvy CEOs Know
I could share many more true stories of successful board chair-CEO collaboration, but the reader can easily see what board-savvy CEOs well know: Investing in the development of a rock-solid board chair-CEO working relationship can yield powerful organizational dividends. In fact, I would suggest that one of the preeminent priorities of a truly board-savvy CEO is to transform her board chair into a strong governing partner, a reliable ally, and when needed, an ardent change champion. The board chair makes an especially important partner for the CEO not only because of her formal authority as “CEO” of the governing board, but also the fact that board chairs are often major actors who wield tremendous influence  in their communities, including in the profession or industry an association represents. I’ve seen board-savvy CEOs successfully employ five major strategies in building close and productive working relationships with their board chair:

1.  Reach agreement with the board chair on the fundamental division of labor with the CEO.
2.  Get to know the board chair really well.
3.  Actively help the board chair succeed in her formal governing role.
4.  Actively assist the board chair in having a richer, more satisfying experience beyond her formal leadership role.
5.  And never miss an opportunity to provide the board chair with ego satisfaction, often in little but important ways.

A Closing Word on the Division of Labor
“I’m not sure why you’re talking about CEOs reaching agreement with their board chairs on the division of labor. Isn’t it pretty obvious?”

My response to this question, which came up last week in a nonprofit CEO seminar I was conducting, was an emphatic “Yes and no.”

Yes, it’s true that the board chair is the formal leader of board deliberations, and normally organizational bylaws specify that she has the authority to appoint the chairs and members of the board’s standing committees and ad hoc task forces and committees and to refer matters to the appropriate committee.

But when you think about it, even that seemingly clear responsibility must be shared with the CEO for the simple reason that board chairs, being part-time volunteers for the most part, can’t possibly play their board leader role alone.

Active collaboration with, and strong support from, the CEO is essential for their success. And in the realm of external relations, both the board chair and CEO are commonly viewed as major actors, so they’d better pay some attention to coordination and division of labor or they’ll be stumbling all over each other. So every board-savvy CEO I’ve ever worked with has made a point of sitting down with a new board chair to discuss in detail how they’ll be working together.

This article is excerpted with permission from Eadie’s 20th book, The Board-Savvy CEO: Building a High-Impact Partnership With Your Board, which can be found here, and was the subject of a podcast with APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. Eadie is also scheduled to present at APTA’s Transit CEOs Seminar, Feb. 8-11, in New Orleans. He can be contacted here or here.

This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who’s Doing What in the Industry

Rebekah Scheinfeld
CHICAGO, IL—Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Rebekah Scheinfeld as commissioner of Chicago DOT. Her nomination is subject to Chicago City Council approval.

Scheinfeld serves the Chicago Transit Authority as chief planning officer and a senior vice president. Her duties include strategic planning for major capital projects and new public transit service.

She is an attorney who previously worked at Mayer Brown, representing public and private sector clients on major infrastructure and transportation projects.

Lindsay Robertson
GLOUCESTER, MA—Lindsay Robertson is joining GannonConsult, a leadership consultancy, as its director, based in Arlington, VA. She will be responsible for the planning and execution of the firm’s training, team building, and partnering practice, among other responsibilities.

Robertson previously served as director of the Eno Center for Transportation Leadership. For APTA, she is a member of the Human Resources Committee.

Gunay Gun
WASHINGTON, DC—Parsons Brinckerhoff has named Gunay Gun a project manager in its Washington office.

Before joining the firm, Gun was a program management consultant with various Virginia consulting firms, responsible for managing capital development programs on behalf of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Federal Aviation Administration, and Virginia DOT.


Dave Rich, Bill Fay

GREENVILLE, SC—Proterra Inc. announced the appointments of Dave Rich as chief financial officer and Bill Fay as vice president of sales.

Rich joins the company with 23 years of financial and business leadership experience, including 19 years in progressively responsible roles within Ford Motor Company. Most recently, he was chief financial officer at Toyota Boshoku America.

Fay has more than 20 years of industry experience, most recently with Clever Devices as vice president and managing director of North Carolina operations, where he led the Clever Care sales and service organization along with all OEM relationships. He also has held senior management positions with Digital Recorders, TwinVision, ElDorado National Bus Company, and Blue Bird.

Rick Cain
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—Rick Cain, administrator of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and director of the city’s Public Transportation and Parking Department since 2004, has announced his retirement effective Feb. 20, 2014. He has worked in public transportation for 23 years.

Cain is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2002 and a member of these APTA committees: Awards, Bus and Paratransit CEOs, Legislative, Marketing and Communications, Member Services, Small Operations, and Small Operations Steering, as well as the Streetcar Subcommittee.

Paul Sullivan
NEWARK, NJ—Paul Sullivan has been named a senior supervising engineer in the Newark office of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB).

Sullivan has 25 years of experience in planning and design for public transit systems and facilities in project management roles, across a wide range of rail and bus modes. Prior to joining PB, he worked for an international consulting engineering firm, responsible for managing large-scale transit projects across the U.S. He earlier was director of passenger facilities planning and engineering project manager for New Jersey Transit Corporation.

Tom Reese
SPOKANE, WA—URS Corporation has named Tom Reese operations manager of its Spokane office.

Reese has worked in both the public and private sectors in the Spokane area for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was director of business development for Lydig Construction. He also has served as economic development advisor in the mayor’s office and as an urban designer with the city’s planning department.

Edward La Guardia
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Edward La Guardia, P.E., has joined Michael Baker International as chief engineer of the firm’s rail and transit practice.

La Guardia has more than 34 years experience in the railroad industry. He previously worked for Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, managing the engineering, construction, and operating maintenance of the physical plant for all modes. of the transit authority in Philadelphia. For APTA, he is a member of the Commuter Rail and Rail Transit committees, Elevators and Escalators Technical Forum, and Rail Conference Planning Subcommittee.

Howard H. Haynes Jr.
ORLANDO, FL—Hill International has named Howard H. Haynes Jr., P.E., CCE, senior vice president in charge of the firm’s Construction Claims Group operations in Florida.

Haynes has more than 25 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry. Prior to joining Hill, he was senior vice president with Delta Consulting Group. Before that, he was president and founder of Haynes Massa & Associates.

William (Bill) Barringer, Clyde J. Hart Jr., Steven Neubauer, Scott Sauer, Shayne Gill, Michael Logue, Terry Ludban
ALEXANDRIA, VA—William (Bill) Barringer, director of grade crossing safety at Norfolk Southern Corporation, has been named chairman of Operation Lifesaver's board of directors. He succeeds Cliff Stayton, director of hazardous materials programs at CSX.

Clyde J. Hart Jr., a board member since 2007, was re-elected vice chairman, and Steven Neubauer, who joined the board in 2012, was elected secretary-treasurer.

The board also welcomed four new members: Scott Sauer, director of system safety, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia; Shayne Gill, program manager, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Michael Logue, chief safety officer, Amtrak; and Terry Ludban, director of community affairs and safety, CSX.

Dominic Spaethling
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—HNTB Corporation announced the appointment of Dominic Spaethling as rail-transit market sector leader for the San Francisco region.

Spaethling has worked in the transportation industry for more than two decades. He comes to HNTB Corporation from Parsons Brinckerhoff, where he was a vice president. He also is a former planning manager for Amtrak in Oakland, CA.

John Howe
TORONTO, ON—John Howe has joined Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall as vice president, strategic consulting. The firm is the Canadian operating company of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Howe previously served as vice president, investment strategy and project evaluation, at Metrolinx, an agency of the Ontario government created to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. He also has been senior infrastructure strategy advisor to the premier of Ontario; director, federal provincial infrastructure strategy; and director, Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Secretariat.  

Wael W. Safi
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees recently welcomed Wael W. Safi, Pharm.D., corporate functions and open innovation manager, San Francisco Bay Area and university relations, for Procter & Gamble.

He chaired the Cincinnati Health Department from 2010-2013.



Rick Stopfer
DALLAS, TX—Rick Stopfer, a former city official in Irving, TX, has been appointed to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors by the Irving City Council.

Stopfer was an Irving councilman from 1998-2012, the city’s deputy mayor pro tem from 2007-2008, and mayor pro tem from 2008-2009. He is a retired automotive consultant.


Steve Donald

BARRIE, ON—Steve Donald has joined Stantec as railway operations planning and modeling lead, based in the firm’s Barrie office.

Donald has worked in the railway industry for 30 years.