Passenger Transport - May 30, 2014
A member of the MTA New York City Transit Pipes & Drums participates in the Transit Veterans Association’s annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 23 at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Lower Manhattan.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann, MTA New York City Transit
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recently announced that he would shelve his proposal for introducing a sweeping patent reform bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. His action stalls comprehensive patent reform in the Senate after a similar bill passed in the House last year.
The call for patent reform gained traction in 2013 after “non-practicing entities”—commonly known as “patent trolls”—made frivolous patent infringement claims against many industries. Public transportation agencies and the companies that support them were subjected to meritless claims as well.
APTA responded at that time, enlisting the aid of the Public Patent Foundation, and filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the barrage of these claims by two off-shore companies. The companies had sued at least 11 public transit agencies and filed claims against many more. APTA’s suit led to a comprehensive settlement that protects its public members and their vendors from subsequent claims and lawsuits. (See the July 1, 2013 Passenger Transport for details.)
As for the stalled effort in the Senate, Leahy said there was a lack of agreement on combating “the scourge” of patent trolls and differences of opinions on the long-term impact of the House bill.
“We have heard repeated concerns that the House-passed bill went beyond the scope of addressing patent trolls, and would have severe unintended consequences on legitimate patent holders who employ thousands of Americans,” he said. “I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate. Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.”
Instead of a comprehensive patent reform bill, some policymakers are drafting legislation targeting “demand letters,” which patent trolls send in bulk threatening lawsuits in the hopes of collecting fees from the letter recipients to avoid going to court.
For example, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) recently introduced a demand-letter bill that would permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to define a deceptive demand letter and bring charges against the companies that send them. And in the House, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) has drafted a bill allowing the FTC and state Attorneys General to fine demand-letter senders.
APTA has been an active proponent of patent reform that addresses frivolous patent infringement claims and has worked with a broad coalition to call for action in the 113th Congress. The announcement by Leahy has raised serious concerns within the public transit industry that Congress will not address this problem this year and agencies will continue to face warrantless claims.
“Regardless of whether there is absolute consensus across all industries on patent reform, it is our hope that the Senate would refocus its efforts and attempt to move legislation that will prevent these warrantless claims from going forward in the future,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.
Some public transit agencies have chosen to pay monetary settlements to patent trolls rather than challenge them in court, since court costs would be prohibitive even if the agency wins the suit. Laura Calderon, executive director, Illinois Public Transportation Association (IPTA), said this has happened with systems in her state.
IPTA is part of a Chicago-based coalition calling for patent reform. “This is happening all over the country,” Calderon said. “We got involved in this effort and have been working with the coalition’s consultants to get the word out there.”
Karl Gnadt, director of market development/managing director designate, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD), Urbana, IL, described how a patent troll went after a small business that provided technology to the system. The primary settlement was with the vendor, but it also included CUMTD.
“That vendor, as a part of the settlement, was not allowed to market its projects to any other transit systems outside of the three already named in the settlement,” Gnadt explained. “The firm would have to pay additional settlement fees if it wanted to expand this part of its business. That meant the company shut down its software development division—and we lost our resource. We had to hire our own in-house developers; I hired one of the five employees the vendor laid off.”
However, Gnadt added, that wasn’t the end. “About a year and a half later, we got a letter from the same patent troll with the same threat they made to the vendor. We had to show them how we were named in their earlier settlement.”
Vermont passed a law targeting patent trolls in 2013. This year, state legislatures have approved similar measures in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
As for federal legislation. Leahy indicated that he may revisit submitting a more comprehensive reform proposal.
“If the stakeholders are able to reach a more targeted agreement that focuses on the problem of patent trolls, there will be a path for passage this year and I will bring it immediately to the committee,” he said. “We can all agree that patent trolls abuse the current patent system. I hope we are able to return to this issue this year.”
Author, civil rights activist, and cultural icon Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday at 86, was San Francisco’s first African-American woman streetcar conductor when she was hired by the Market Street Railway Company at 16. Mom & Me & Mom, the most recent volume in her multi-book autobiography, chronicles in part her work her as a streetcar conductor.
To get the job, Angelou said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year that she camped out in front of a manager’s office for two weeks to get his attention after she was denied a job application. He finally hired her after she declared that she “loved the uniforms” and enjoyed working with people. Among the things she gained from her public transit job, Angelou said she learned that “with determination and dedication, you can go anywhere in the world.”
APTA marked its annual Public Transportation Career Day by partnering with Washington’s Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus, TransSTEM Academy, and Academy of Construction and Design for its fifth annual Industry Day promoting careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Speakers reported on APTA’s youth and student programs, as well as careers in public transportation.
Sen. Klobuchar at St. Cloud Opening
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently joined the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission (St. Cloud Metro Bus) to help open Minnesota’s first public transit fueling facility for compressed natural gas and to welcome 23 New Flyer CNG buses to replace existing buses.
St. Cloud Metro Bus funded the project—the most complex in its 55-year history—with a $3.35 million federal Clean Fuels grant, a $9.1 million grant from Minnesota DOT, and a local revenue bond. The investment includes $8 million for construction and renovation, plus an additional $11.4 million for new buses. The bus order will also include six CNG-fueled paratransit vehicles.
The lower cost of CNG compared to diesel will lead to annual average savings of $300,000 over the first 10 years.
Klobuchar called the CNG facility “a major part of a big puzzle,” noting that the fuel will come from neighboring North Dakota. In addition, the buses were manufactured in New Flyer’s St. Cloud plant.
“It was a pleasure to have Sen. Klobuchar at our event to talk about the benefits of natural gas and the positive impact it will have for the citizens of St. Cloud,” said Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan I. Daniel. “Our region will benefit from our new ‘air purifiers’ on the streets as we take steps to protect our environment.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar helps fuel one of St. Cloud Metro Bus’s new CNG buses.
Rep. Frankel Rides Palm Tran Bus
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), center, recently joined public transit employees, riders, and advocates on board a Palm Tran bus in West Palm Beach, FL, as part of Transit Action Month. She boarded the bus at the West Palm Beach Tri-Rail commuter rail station, also served by Palm Tran. “Transportation moves our economy,” Frankel said, stating her support for a surface transportation authorization bill.
Nova Bus on Capitol Hill
Jim Tooley, head of industrial strategy for Nova Bus, meets with Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) in her Capitol Hill office May 20 with a delegation from the North Country Chamber of Commerce, based in Plattsburgh, NY. The meetings provided an opportunity to raise public transit bus and economic development issues with the senator and her staff. During the trip, the delegation also met with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY).
The research is in: Investing in public transit equals investing in the economy.
So states APTA’s new report, Economic Impact of Public Transportation, which connects research with real-world examples to illustrate the value of investing in public transportation in terms of local economic development, productivity, and job growth.
The report demonstrates that overall, investment in public transportation offers an economic return of $4 for every $1 invested, and investment in public transportation will lead to more than 50,700 jobs per $1 billion invested, with 28,900 jobs per $1 billion attributed to productivity gains enjoyed by households and businesses.
The findings were announced at a Capitol Hill briefing during national Infrastructure Week by APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy; Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor who was representing the National League of Cities as its first vice president; Elliott L. Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of Destination DC; and representatives of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. Becker and Ferguson discussed the ways public transit supports their respective cities.
“In Salt Lake City, we’ve long recognized the benefits that thoughtful transit planning and project execution bring to our community,” Becker said, specifically mentioning the city’s new Sugar House Streetcar line.
“After securing funding in 2010, the line opened last December and has generated over $400 million in investment to date, and growth is ongoing. In addition to the profound economic impacts, this project has also enhanced the livability, walkability, and long-term sustainability of the surrounding area. We are currently working on numerous additional projects, including a new downtown streetcar line and extensions to the Sugar House line,” he said.
“Really, nothing compares to the transformative energy that accompanies appropriate transit investment,” Becker added.
Ferguson pointed to the role public transit plays in strengthening Washington, DC. “As competitive cities become better connected, improve infrastructure, and make it easier for visitors to get around, it becomes increasingly important for DC to be able to compete, he said. “Soon-to-launch initiatives including the H Street streetcar, Metro’s Silver Line, and an ever-increasing number of dedicated bicycle lanes in the District are indicative of the city’s commitment to public transportation and APTA’s mission.”
Real World Cases
The report’s release is supplemented with brief examples of economic success stories from public transit agencies. A few follow.
Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus, began operating CBUS—a downtown circulator—on May 5 to connect downtown employees, residents, and visitors with shopping, entertainment, residential and business districts, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Nationwide Arena, and hotels.
The Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, Flagstaff, opened Mountain Link, a high-frequency bus service, in 2011, quickly becoming “an incredible selling point for our apartment communities,” says Crystal Finch, directory of property management for Bella Investment Group. “We began promoting our proximity to Mountain Link, and prospective tenants’ eyes would light up when they realized the extremely convenient access they would have to transit service onto campus and into downtown Flagstaff.”
Caltrain, San Carlos, CA, recently opened elevated tracks over three crossings in San Bruno that previously were at grade level. The new elevated tracks reduce traffic congestion and time spent in traffic, increase traffic flow, and improve safety for motorists and pedestrians.
The report, which updates a 2009 study, is available here. Send your economic success story to Mantill Williams.
As the summer travel season kicks off, 124 million Americans will vacation in a U.S. city, with 58 percent of these travelers choosing public transit for at least one activity, according to APTA’s 2014 “Travel Like a Local” survey. This number rises to 67 percent of millennials and adults under 45.
“Travelers have discovered one of the best ways to experience everything a community has to offer is to use public transportation,” said APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer of The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI. “They don’t have to worry about driving and parking in unfamiliar locations, they have easy access to popular sites and attractions, and their vacation dollars go farther, boosting local economic activity.”
The survey also finds that two out of five vacationers will use public transportation for restaurant dining, nightlife, general sightseeing, and shopping.
“From streetcars to buses and trains to ferries, our cities offer a diversity of public transit options for both local residents and new visitors,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Most public transit systems are leading the way with smart phone apps to help visitors easily navigate a city.”
See more results here.
Whelan, Marin Transit
Marin Transit, San Rafael, CA, has named Nancy E. Whelan its new general manager, effective June 16.
Whelan succeeds David Rzepinski. Barbara Duffy led the agency on an interim basis.
Whelan is the founder of Nancy Whelan Consulting, which provides technical and managerial services to public transit agencies and municipalities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Earlier, she held executive-level positions at both Los Angeles Metro and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which she briefly served as interim general manager.
Marshall, Fresno Area Express
Brian Marshall is the new director of transportation for the city of Fresno, CA, effective June 2.
He will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, and development of Fresno Area Express, fleet management, and BRT.
Marshall previously was chief executive officer of the Capital Area Transit System in Baton Rouge, LA. He also spent 20 years with the Chicago Transit Authority in various capacities.
BY WILLIAM MARONI
Public transportation general managers know it and so do riders: The long-term viability of a public transit system depends on its ability to innovate, especially now, given today’s increasing demands and shrinking budgets.
The quiet, tree-lined streets of a well-established suburb might not be the place one would expect to find innovative public transportation. But Arlington Heights, IL is more than a bedroom community bordering Chicago’s big-city bustle; it’s home to Pace, among the nation’s many successful suburban bus agencies.
Pace, the Suburban Bus Division of Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), operates a major fixed route system and paratransit service that annually provides about 40 million rides, generates more than $72 million in revenue, has an operating budget of $214.8 million (suburban service) and $160.1 million (paratransit), and a capital budget of $57.3 million.
It employs 1,653 persons, manages 12 facilities, and serves 3,446 square miles—an area larger than Delaware and about 15 times the size of Chicago—with 199 fixed bus routes. Its fleet of nearly 2,700 agency- and contractor-owned vehicles covers 284 municipalities in six counties—suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. This means Pace’s customers live and work in communities that range from densely populated urban areas to diverse suburban neighborhoods to rural parts of northeastern Illinois.
“We have to be innovative because we don’t have just one central business district to serve like many suburban systems,” says Thomas J. Ross (known as T.J.), Pace’s executive director. “To be successful, we need to be many things to many constituencies.”
One of those things is a lifeline for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Because Pace has long been recognized as a leader in providing efficient, quality benefits to this population in the suburbs, the Illinois State Legislature in 2006 transferred responsibility for all of Chicago’s ADA services to it from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The move made sense for everyone: A single system for the region provided economies of scale.
Pace improved efficiency by expanding the number of shared rides, increasing vehicle utilization rates, and computerizing the dispatching system.
Ingredients for Innovation
Pace has pioneered many public transit advances, from single-card passes that allow access to all of its services to hybrid buses to reduce pollution to the use of controlled traffic-signals for shorter travel times along arterial routes.
What sets the agency apart—and makes it a leader—is how it drives innovation with partnerships, technology, and a commitment to deliver specialized services. Making this formula work, say Pace officials, requires a continuous focus on improving performance, reducing costs, and anticipating what customers want—or will want.
Partnerships. “Partnerships are paramount to our success,” says Richard Kwasneski, chairman of the Pace Board of Directors. “Given our wide geographical area and the distinct types of riders we serve, we need to collaborate across boundaries with government officials, private employers, schools, and riders,” he adds.
An example of Pace’s successful partnerships can be seen in its Vanpool Incentive Program, which provides passenger vans to small groups of five to 15 people traveling to and from their jobs and employer-based workshops.
“Employers and employees in our less densely populated communities didn’t have access to our fixed-route bus service,” explains Kwasneski. “We needed to create an affordable, flexible solution across counties.”
The initial challenge was to identify the right decision-makers among various employers and local townships. In many cases that meant forging partnerships among business owners, economic development officials, mayors, and neighborhood groups—most of whom had never collaborated.
Using federal capital funds and competitive grants, Pace secured a fleet of vans. The monthly fare charged to each participant is based on the number of riders and the average daily distance traveled. The fare covers Pace’s operating costs, fuel, insurance, and maintenance. In return, drivers receive up to 300 miles of personal use of the van each month.
Today, Pace’s vanpool program is the second largest in the country, serving riders in a cost-effective way while maintaining flexibility for the customer. A website offers commuters the ability to create a profile and gather information on others with similar travel patterns to form carpools or vanpools.
In addition to vanpools, the agency collaborates with private and public organizations on other demand-response services, including dozens of private and municipal providers to operate curb-to-curb service for older riders and persons with disabilities.
To keep performance high and costs low, the agency solicits competitive bids for more than 80 contracts, monitors its partners’ performance in real time, and retains the flexibility to use multiple vendors. None of these innovations would be possible without Pace’s centralized computer system.
Technology. Pace doesn’t simply use technology; it embraces it to ensure safety, on-time performance, and efficiency. For Ross, an engineer by training and by nature, it’s all about continuous improvement for the public transit agency and society.
The Intelligent Bus System (IBS), a satellite-based communications technology, helps Pace track buses, collect and analyze data, and communicate with its drivers and passengers. Completed in 2005, IBS has improved routing and scheduling because data are continuously generated on ridership levels and route efficiency.
The system collects data in quantities that until now were cost-prohibitive, leading to service improvements throughout the region. As a result, Pace managers are able to make better informed and more timely decisions for daily service and emergencies.
“We track the location of each bus,” Ross notes. “If an emergency occurs, dispatchers receive an immediate alert with information for first responders, including the correct police or fire jurisdiction and the vehicle’s precise GPS position.” With 284 communities under Pace’s jurisdiction, this is essential.
The IBS never stops looking for solutions and efficiencies because it monitors every bus’s performance every 30 seconds. Having that much data available in a complete matrix is a new tool that has become an essential asset. Pace managers can literally see where delays occur, measure service during long segments of a trip, and make adjustments in schedules and routes.
Access to “big data” is the foundation of fact-based decision-making; Ross knows it can prevent accidents. “Not having accidents is ‘free money’,” he says. “When we can see, store, and analyze any unusual movements by one of our vehicles, we’re able to help our drivers avoid accidents … and that has helped reduce our liability expenses by 50 percent.”
When an accident does occur, Pace has accurate data and pictures of the incident, which enabled the agency to avoid $5 million in unfounded lawsuits last year—funds that can serve more customers and expand rider service.
As Kwasneski says, “We don’t always know how our region will change, but we know it will change. New technology not only allows us to stay ahead of change in our region, but increasingly it’s going to drive major changes in our industry.”
It’s already happening: Pace used new data on passenger capacity, fuel, operating costs, and trip speed when it substituted smaller 30-foot and 35-foot buses for some of its 40-foot buses. The result: faster routes, lower costs, and a better match between vehicles and riders’ needs.
Commitment to Service. Pace’s leaders says that accessibility has always been a hallmark of the agency’s service. No one would argue with that statement, but it’s the agency’s enduring commitment to deliver “what’s next” that is integral to its innovation.
“When we see a need, it’s always better to take the initiative rather than wait for a crisis or a government mandate,” Ross says. “Keeping up with what’s happening in 284 municipalities is a good way to stay focused on what customers want.”
One of the things customers want is a quick commute, free of rush-hour delays. So Pace launched its “bus on shoulder” pilot project, which allows buses to use shoulder lanes to bypass slower traffic. Project development meant finding solutions to political and practical challenges, from jurisdictional responsibilities to engineering and public safety considerations.
Today, shoulder riding is on the verge of becoming a permanent part of Pace’s services. The practice has reduced travel times, improved on-time performance to 95 percent, and increased the appeal of public transportation for people who used to commute by car. With more than 1,000 daily riders, Pace recently purchased new coaches—complete with Wi-Fi and comfortable amenities—that it hopes will expand the service to other major thoroughfares into downtown Chicago and other major employment centers.
The pilot’s success owes much to Pace’s experience with partnerships and technical problem solving. But as with many of the agency’s achievements, it was the commitment to deliver a needed service that drove the project. Speaking about this and other Pace initiatives, Ross said, “Our customers wanted these services and we wanted to find a way to provide them.”
If innovation starts with seeing future trends before others, Pace has three key advantages.
First, Pace is governed by a 13-member board composed of past and present suburban mayors, including Kwasneski, and the commissioner of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. These are individuals who have built their careers on understanding the needs of the public. As a result, Pace’s employees know how to respond positively when the board challenges the agency to deliver the services people want.
Second, Pace maintains a 10-member Citizens Advisory Board, a working group of representatives from their service region. These are individuals who not only know public transit, but also have strong relationships with local municipalities, civic groups, and the business community. The group members share expertise, seek each other’s advice, and work as a team. It also helps forge new partnerships and provides early guidance for short- and long-term needs across the six counties, Ross says.
Finally, there is Ross’ leadership. As a young engineering student in the 1960s, he foresaw the challenges that awaited an automobile-dependent society while his peers were captivated by Detroit’s latest models.
“We knew the popularity of the automobile would increase air pollution and lead to more deaths on American roads,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in finding safer, cleaner, affordable ways to give people the mobility and freedom they seek.”
What are Pace’s challenges for the future?
Since the agency was established in 1984, the region it serves has increased in population to more than 5.2 million. By 2020, the populations of all six counties are expected to experience significant growth—some counties will experience double- and triple-digit growth.
To prepare, Pace has launched Vision 2020, a plan to identify and meet the changing needs of residents and businesses.
The objective is to create a network of services that allows every person to have easy, affordable access to their destinations of choice—work, family and friends, health care, entertainment, or community events. This is likely to involve infrastructure improvements in the suburbs and new express routes on major roadways that will connect with smaller, community-based services at regional and community transportation centers. Development of the Vision 2020 plan involved Pace leaders holding meetings throughout the six-county region to learn about the public’s priorities.
While his staff solicits views from the community about the agency’s future, Ross is thinking about succession planning. He believes that public transit agencies are finding it more difficult to train and prepare the next generation of public transportation leaders.
“Our industry is changing so quickly, I worry that the managers who follow us won’t have the same opportunities we did to gain broad experience, make mistakes, and learn a variety of skills,” he says.
In this regard, he points to the benefits of being surrounded by a senior staff of public transit veterans who have been with Pace for 20, 30, and even 40 years. (Ross, who is only Pace’s second executive director, has been in his role for more than 16 years.) At the same time, he recognizes the importance of investing in new leaders and avoiding silos.
Part of the solution could lie in another of his priorities: Collecting the right information and making it available to encourage fact-based decision-making. For an agency that makes “accessibility” its mission, access to the best information may be the next milestone. Ross says that better data could help public transportation contribute in even more meaningful and timely ways to the debate on climate change and other transit-related issues.
Kwasneski offers this perspective: “Don’t be afraid to collaborate, reach out to other organizations, or brainstorm a problem with agencies throughout the country,” he advises. “Being a suburban transit system in a major metropolitan area, it’s easy to be overlooked. Pace has shown its work is important to the larger world.”
William Maroni is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. He specializes in public transportation, international business strategy, trade, and labor and workplace issues.
A dispatcher at Pace's North Shore Division in Evanston monitors the location and other information for each bus in the system. In the event of an emergency, the system provides the dispatcher with information to facilitate communications with first responders.
Pace Practices: A Blueprint for Progress
Commit to Continuous Improvement: Continuous improvements, even those that are incremental, have strengthened Pace’s ability to control its future.
Partner with Diverse Stakeholders: There are no competitors, only potential allies. How can your partnerships enrich your view of other organizations in your community?
Learn What Others Are Doing and Why: Innovative ideas and programs are blossoming from coast to coast, as well as overseas. The industry is rife with experts and resources. Connect, network, and share.
Welcome Technology: No organization or industry can succeed with yesterday’s knowledge or tools. Embrace the technologies that are already giving public transit agencies a competitive advantage.
Push Your Board to Push You: Pace’s board serves as a barometer for communities’ future needs, an advocate for programs and partnerships, and a catalyst to raise questions (and expectations) that no one else could.
Tap into the Future: Listen to what forward-looking experts from transportation, engineering, business, science, public policy, and culture are saying about your future.
Cut Costs; Preserve Service: As Pace discovered new tools and practices to cut costs, none impacted service and access.
Advocate for Yourself: Demand the respect and recognition your system deserves, especially in the company of larger, better-funded organizations. When your agency leads, other organizations will follow.
Technology at Work for Safety
Pace, which recently won APTA’s 2014 Gold Award for Safety for bus systems with 20 million or more passenger trips, has also put technology to work in its comprehensive coaching, safety, and training program for bus operators and maintenance staff.
The program uses DriveCam, a G-force based event recorder, on fixed-route buses to help identify the causes of collisions and correct unsafe driving behaviors. Supervisors use the footage and other information to coach drivers toward corrective action to reduce or eliminate repeat occurrences.
In 2013, preventable accidents were 7.5 percent lower, the number of “coachable events” decreased by about 61 percent, and the agency saw a 25 percent decrease in liability costs, among other improvements.
To learn more, watch Pace’s video here.
Stanley J. Rosenblum
Vice President, Eastern Area Rail Practice Group Leader
Member, Business Member Board of Governors; Authorization Task Force; and Legislative, Commuter Rail, High-Speed & Intercity Rail, Public-Private Partnerships, and Human Resources committees
How many people are employed at your organization?
Jacobs is a global company with more than 70,000 employees. Our infrastructure business in the United States has about 3,500 people. Our services include all aspects of a project, including alternative delivery/procurement advisory services, planning, environmental, architectural, engineering, and construction management. We also provide program management services.
How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I have been involved in the public transportation industry since 1979. My first transit job was with New Jersey Transit Corporation in Washington, DC, supporting efforts to obtain 13(c) agreements for UMTA grants and secure other funds for the newly created statewide transit agency. [UMTA, the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, is the predecessor of FTA.]
How long have you been an APTA member?
I have been a member since 1979, when I first became involved in the industry.
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
My master’s degree is in planning and my thesis addressed the issue of the impact of transit investments on land use and economic development. I wanted to be part of an organization that impacted mobility, economic growth, and land use development. Transit was the best way of achieving this. Once I was offered my first job and became more exposed to the impact that transit has on people’s lives, the more my passion for transit grew.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job?
When I was on the public sector side, the benefit was learning from others—by getting great ideas and trying to apply them in New Jersey. Now that I work on the business member side, the opportunities to discuss upcoming opportunities and the ability to share best practices on retaining staff, increasing diversity, and meeting client expectations are very valuable.
While we compete for many opportunities, the bottom line is that APTA and the Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) create an environment where we can share ideas and improve the industry as a whole.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
We are so busy that we usually do not have time to reflect on best practices and ideas. APTA and the BMBG allow us to meet many people in a concise time frame and bring ideas back to Jacobs.
It also has allowed me to introduce a number of firms to Jacobs that we have been able to add to our projects and pursuits.
What do you like most about your job?
I like building a team that is committed to the clients and the work we undertake. The ability to look to the future, and think that I contributed in some small way to the future leaders of Jacobs and the transit industry as a whole, is rewarding. Of course, being selected for some legacy projects is also great fun.
What is unique about your organization? What would readers be surprised to learn?
Jacobs has a set of core values that it tries to drive home every day. Jacobs works hard at keeping people safe, delivering value to our clients, and retaining our staff. Jacobs understands that employees are our most important asset, and we continually are assessing how to demonstrate this to our workforce.
If you go outside of our infrastructure business, there are a number of cool projects and clients we work for that makes Jacobs an interesting company. We are involved in everything from wind tunnels to traffic engineering for major golf tournaments to NASA. If you work for Jacobs, your opportunity to take your career in different directions is unlimited.
APTA has announced several speakers for the annual Rail Conference, June 15-18 in Montreal, hosted by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT).
FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo and FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan are scheduled to headline the “USDOT Update” General Session on June 16. Topics include the GROW AMERICA Act and the administration’s views on pending legislation.
Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, newly named president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada, will offer remarks during the Opening General Session, June 15, which marks his first public appearance since being confirmed in that post. He previously served the national Canadian rail corporation as chief corporate and legal officer and corporate secretary.
Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and chief executive officer, National Safety Council, will present the keynote address at the June 17 General Session, which will also feature the 2014 Safety and Security Excellence awards and APTA’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of its public transit safety award program.
The conference will offer sessions in six tracks: technology and technical forums, operations, safety/security/emergency preparedness, planning/sustainability/finance, capital programs, and management/policy. Other highlights include the Rail Products & Services Showcase and technical tours.
In addition, the host agencies are offering a reception on Saturday, June 14, to introduce attendees to the city, announced Nicolas Girard, AMT president and chief executive officer, and Philippe Schnobb, president, and Carl Desrosiers, chief executive officer, STM.
The reception will be held at the CDP Capital Center Parquet, one of the city’s prime business venues. RSVP here before June 10. For details, click here.
APTA’s in-depth, interactive workshop to explore emerging international funding and financing strategies will feature five public transit policy and investment experts in addition to agency and business leaders. The practicum is June 12-13 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, immediately before the annual Rail Conference.
Giving the keynote addresses are George Hazel, author and former member of the UK Secretary of State for Transport’s Steering Group for National Road User Charging, who will discuss “Capturing the Value of Public Transportation,” and policy expert Anne Golden, who will explore “Breaking the Political Gridlock to Fund Transit: The Toronto Experience.” Golden is chair of the Ontario Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel and a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Confirmed speakers include Julian Ware, senior principal, Transport for London, UK; Gunnar Soderholm, director, Environmental and Health Administration, city of Stockholm, Sweden; and Takao Nishayama, director, Japan Railways Company, Tokyo, among many others.
The meeting will feature panel discussions, case studies, and keynote addresses organized in a program that balances policy sessions with best practices. It is co-hosted by the Canadian Urban Transit Association, with support from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).
For more details about the practicum, click here.
APTA has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) with the goal of sharing knowledge and ideas between the two organizations and their members, especially with regard to the wheel-rail interface.
The two organizations finalized the MOU at the recent Wheel-Rail Interaction conference in a joint presentation that focused on collaboration.
APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy praised the agreement. “APTA welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with AREMA, to share information and ideas, and work together to develop the standards that will continue to strengthen the rail industry,” he said.
The agreement renews an earlier MOU between the associations.
Intercity Transit, Olympia, WA, recently received ISO 14001 certification for its significant environmental and sustainability efforts. It is one of nine U.S. public transit systems to earn this certification.
“Intercity Transit’s sustainability efforts extend to every area of the agency and are embraced by its employees and leadership alike,” said Intercity Transit General Manager Ann Freeman-Manzanares. “Our work is about making the community a better place to live by providing a diversity of quality transportation services, implementing innovative programs, developing successful partnerships, and acting as a good public steward of the environment we all share.”
The prestigious certification verifies that an organization’s management, employees, and business vendors meet a high threshold of environmentally sound practices. The agency also received one of APTA’s first gold-level recognition honors for its sustainability commitment in 2012 for its efficient management of natural resources.
Intercity Transit began developing its Environmental & Sustainability Management System following its 2010 selection to participate in the FTA-sponsored national EMS training program, coordinated by Virginia Tech University’s EMS Institute.
Intercity Transit’s sustainability efforts have reduced total waste to landfills by 10 percent, water use by 6 percent, electricity use by 20 percent, natural gas use by 24 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent. The agency has also increased its bus fleet fuel economy by implementing no-idling policies, practicing fuel efficient driving techniques, and adding hybrid coaches to its fleet when replacing its oldest vehicles. The agency estimates it saves approximately $186,000 each year by not using the equivalent of 62,000 gallons of diesel, a savings that will grow as it puts more hybrid vehicles into service.
The other public transit agencies that have achieved ISO 14001 certification include Sound Transit (WA), Los Angeles Metro, Foothill Transit (CA), Utah Transit Authority, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (IL), Sun Tran (AZ), New York MTA, and SEPTA (PA).
The Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (Centro) has received LEED Silver certification for its $18.8 million, state-of-the-art transit hub in downtown Syracuse. The hub features 22 bus bays covered by a 55,000-square-foot canopy and an adjoining indoor waiting area for customers. Its LEED/sustainability features include bus platforms and sidewalks that use radiant heat to prevent icing and snow buildup; a stormwater infiltration system that captures rainwater and removes particulates via a hydrodynamic device; LED overhead lights with automatic brightness sensors; and an energy management system that automatically controls heat, cooling, and lighting based on current conditions and occupancy.
Veolia Transportation recently received an international award from Caisse des Depots for its DRIVE® program. Launched in May 2011, the Innovation and Sustainable Development Trophies recognize initiatives that can be considered exemplary breakthroughs in sustainable development.
DRIVE is an employee-driven, management-supported program focused on improving safety. The term DRIVE is an acronym consisting of five base components: dedication, requirements, instruction, values, and equipment. Since introducing the program in 2008, Veolia employees at 47 of its U.S. locations have become active participants.
Caisse des Depots (CDC) is a 200-year-old financial institution that provides loans for projects that serve the public interest, such as public transportation. In 2011, Veolia Environnement and CDC merged Veolia Transport and Transdev to create an international firm, Veolia Transdev.
Beverly A. Scott, second from right, chief executive officer/rail and transit administrator, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, and 2008-2009 APTA chair, received WTS International’s Woman of the Year award at ceremonies May 15. Also honored were, from left, Jeannie Lee, project manager, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange, CA, Member of the Year; representing FTA, Employer of the Year, Lucy Garliauskas, associate administrator for planning and environment; and Claudia Folska, Regional Transportation District Board of Directors, Denver, Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award.
With safety as the top priority in wheelchair transportation, the Rehabilitation Engineering Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) has updated the WC18 standards for wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint systems (WTORS), which will take effect in December 2015.
While WC19 was the first U.S. industry standard for wheelchair manufacturers to address the design and performance of wheelchairs used as seats in motor vehicles, WC18 governs the systems used to safely secure the wheelchairs within the vehicle.
Currently, WC18 requires that WTORS withstand a sled impact test using a 30 mph/20g crash pulse, a 187-pound surrogate wheelchair, and a 170-pound midsize adult male crash-test dummy where the lap belt is anchored to the vehicle. Since new WC19 standards require availability of an optional wheelchair-anchored lap belt to hold the occupant in place, RESNA had to address the higher wheelchair forces that would be transmitted to the tie-down/securement systems when a person riding in a wheelchair is using that optional lap belt.
Public transit system providers that transport people dependent on wheelchairs and wheelchair manufacturers must begin planning now for the new safety regulations.
For example, Q’Straint has introduced QRT-360, the first retractor to meet the new requirements. The company designed and built this four-point, heavy-duty, fully automatic retractable tie-down system to perform successfully in the required 30 mph frontal crash when a wheelchair passenger is traveling in a motor vehicle and using the optional lap belt.
Other elements of the QRT-360 include a shortened retractor footprint, allowing for more flexibility in vehicle anchor-point locations to better accommodate a wider variety of wheelchairs, and a self-tensioning tie-down system that automatically tightens the straps during small wheelchair movements during travel to eliminate slack. The belts continue to tighten during low-g vehicle accelerations, thereby further reducing the potential for wheelchair movement in the event of a collision.
For details, visit RESNA and Q'Straint.
The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia recently honored the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) with a 2014 Preservation Achievement Award for its 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop Project. The alliance called the project “a historic turnaround” that delivers benefits to the neighborhood it serves.
“The partnership between SEPTA and the community was key to making this project a success,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “The input and assistance we received from neighbors was critical throughout this process.”
SEPTA’s goal for the project was to modernize a 110-year-old transit hub while preserving its historical value. A $4 million FTA grant funded the one-year project.
To maintain the site’s historic value, the new bus loop incorporates original brick and masonry, distinctive cherubs that have long marked the facade, and recycled decorative cornice trim. The facility provides enhanced access for persons with disabilities and includes sustainable features such as a green roof.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Police Department are using the CTA’s growing network of security cameras to crack down on graffiti and other vandalism on board buses, railcars, and stations. Their new strategy: filing lawsuits against the parents of minor children and others arrested for the crime to recover the cost of damages.
Since May 2011, CTA has installed thousands of security cameras at its stations, facilities, and vehicles. The authority also installed multiple cameras onto 830 older railcars that did not have any cameras.
Following several police surveillance missions and using images pulled from station and railcar cameras, police made 60 arrests for graffiti-related crimes on CTA properties in the first three months of 2014—the equivalent of all vandalism arrests made in the previous year. Many of these arrests would not have been made without images caught on the cameras.
The anti-graffiti lawsuits, the first of their kind filed by the CTA, are the result of images of criminal graffiti acts captured by CTA security cameras at rail stations and on railcars. The CTA and Chicago police used those images to identify the individuals who committed the vandalism and make arrests.
MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) recently commemorated the reopening of the 94-year-old Castle Hill Avenue and Middletown Road subway stations following a seven-month renewal project. Both stations serve the Pelham 6 Line in the Bronx.
The two stations were the first to close for renewal work as part of a $109 million station renewal project along the line. NYC Transit provided free shuttle bus service during the closures.
Improvements at both stations included replacement of floors, walls, ceilings, street and platform stairs, reconstruction of platform edges including rubbing boards and new ADA boarding areas, new lighting in the mezzanines, and station painting. Castle Hill Avenue underwent full structural steel replacement and Middletown Road received public address speakers and will receive new platform lighting in the near future.
Also, the stations will display new artwork commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit in frames along the platform windscreens at each station. At Castle Hill Avenue, sculptural metal panels titled “Bronx: Heart, Homeland” by Priscila de Carvalho depict everyday life in the neighborhood. At the Middletown Road Station, sculptural steel panels titled “Cross-Bronx Waterway,” by Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture, show the journey of the 6 line as it weaves through the neighborhood, and the Bronx River, using metal ribbon work to evoke water ripples in the river that is home to various forms of wildlife depicted in the artwork.
Five U.S. public transit agencies recently commemorated historic anniversaries.
MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) recently celebrated its 180th anniversary of service at an event in the Mineola Station and with displays of photographs and artifacts in the station waiting room.
Chartered by New York State in April 1834, LIRR is the oldest railroad in the U.S. still operating under its original charter and name. In 2013, the system carried 83.4 million customers, making it the nation’s busiest passenger railroad.
Another part of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA New York City Transit, is commemorating the 110th anniversary of the subway system with programs through the New York Transit Museum.
Caltrain commuter rail in San Carlos, CA, recently held Customer Appreciation Day events at its stations in San Francisco and San Jose as part of its celebration of the 150th-anniversary year of Peninsula Commute Service.
Representatives of Caltrain and Transit America Services Inc. hosted the events.
L.A. Union Station, 75
Representatives of Los Angeles Metro, Metrolink commuter rail, and Amtrak recently joined elected officials to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of Los Angeles Union Station.
In addition to the Union Station event, other cultural sites throughout downtown hosted activities during the day.
As part of the ongoing celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh hosted a $5 farecard giveaway at a park-and-ride. Outreach Coordinator Deborah Skillings also spoke about the agency’s presence in the county.
The Pennsylvania State Legislature created the Port Authority when it consolidated 33 private transit carriers. The agency officially came into existence on March 1, 1964.
VTA Light Rail, 25
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), San Jose, CA, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its light rail system with an event that began at Diridon Station and continued on board a light rail vehicle, and was followed by an open house.
The event showcased service improvements, including a connection to the new pro football Levi’s Stadium, double tracking to Mountain View, connections to Caltrain, and a link to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District at Milpitas.
BY DAVID SUZUKI
What makes a city great? Among other things, great cities welcome ethnic diversity, support and foster the arts, have access to venture capital to spur entrepreneurship and innovation, and benefit from healthy environments that provide clean air and water.
New York City is a driver of global finance and a hotbed of arts and culture. It’s also known for green spaces, like Central Park and the award-winning High Line.
San Francisco is celebrated for its narrow streets, compact lots, and historic buildings. These contribute to the city’s old-world charm, but they’re also the building blocks of a more sustainable, pedestrian-friendly urban form that reduces the need for cars.
The world’s leading cities also owe their success to government investments in transit systems that move residents safely and affordably using a range of solutions, from light rail and subways to bus rapid transit networks. The latter include state-of-the-art fast vehicles that run in lanes separated from traffic. The city of Markham, north of Toronto, is building an impressive BRT network with rapid transit corridors for a fleet of modern and comfortable fast buses.
Transit-oriented cities have better air quality with lower greenhouse gas emissions and benefit from reduced traffic congestion with shorter commuting times. Evidence even shows people in cities with a range of transportation options, like Vancouver, are less sedentary, get more exercise, and are happier and healthier as a result.
There’s growing recognition that prioritizing transit is crucial to moving a region forward. Since the 1970s, Curitiba, Brazil, a city of 1.9 million, has invested billions in its bus rapid transit network. There, public transportation is fully integrated into planning decisions. High-density hubs with shopping centers and office buildings are located within walking distance of transit stations, and commuters have access to a fleet of more than 2,000 modern, low-emission buses, servicing 390 routes that crisscross the city and connect it to surrounding communities. Eighty-five percent of Curitiba’s residents use the BRT system, which has reduced car trips by a whopping 27 million a year.
But you don’t have to travel far to see how transit investments can improve residents’ lives. In his book, Arrival City, Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders argues that easy access to transit, among other factors, is one reason Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park has avoided many social problems that plague similar inner-city neighborhoods. Though most are recent immigrants, half speak a first language other than English, and many are poor, Thorncliffe Park residents integrate well into Canadian society, and many enter the urban middle-class within a generation. Saunders believes this is in part because the neighborhood is well connected to Toronto’s downtown, with bus and subway routes, and easy access to schools, employment, and other opportunities. Transit facilitates social and economic links to the core of the city and helps residents overcome the physical isolation that plagues many communities.
Politicians are starting to recognize transit’s importance to the economic, social, and environmental health of Canadian cities. It’s even become a major issue in the Ontario election. Premier Kathleen Wynne committed $29 billion over 10 years in the recent budget to expand transit networks in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area and other regions of the province, but the budget failed to pass. Other parties have committed to funding improved transit if they’re elected, but all of them need to step up with concrete details and credible plans to ensure dedicated and sustained funding.
More problematic is the reluctance of the major political parties in Ontario to consider new revenue tools, such as modest increases in the gas tax or regional sales tax. Polls show most residents support increases in taxes and fees to improve transit, and two expert panels studying the issue have recommended fiscal solutions such as these.
Transit investments are a catalyst for change. They reduce barriers that strangle economic productivity and improve the well-being of commuters who would otherwise be stalled in gridlock.
It’s time to put people ahead of politics and support dedicated transportation investments in Ontario and other provinces. Doing so will transform the way our communities move and generate numerous other benefits. Effective transit and transportation solutions can spur economic productivity, protect the environment, and improve quality of life. It’s time to get moving.
David Suzuki is co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, a science-based, non-profit environmental organization with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia. Learn more here. This column was written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Ontario and Northern Canada Director General Faisal Moola. Reprinted with permission.
This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.
NEWARK, NJ—James Simpson plans to step down June 6 as commissioner of New Jersey DOT and chairman of New Jersey Transit Corporation. He also chairs the South Jersey Transportation Authority, Transportation Trust Fund Authority, and New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Simpson served as FTA administrator from 2005-2008, during the second term of President George W. Bush. Before joining New Jersey DOT, he served as chairman of both an infrastructure management company and an international relocation company. For 10 years beginning in 1995, he was a commissioner of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
AUSTIN, TX—Terry Mitchell, president, Momark Development LLC, has joined the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors as a representative of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Mitchell has worked in real estate financing and development for 34 years.
CINCINNATI, OH—First Transit announced the appointment of Sharad Agarwal as vice president of national call centers, based in Seattle.
Agarwal has more than 10 years of transportation experience; for the past year, he was First Transit director of business development focusing on the western region.
SEATTLE, WA—Craig Davison has joined Sound Transit as executive director of communications and external affairs. He succeeds the retiring Ron Klein. Davison has 18 years of integrated and strategic marketing experience.
Joe Iacobucci, Jim Brown
NEW YORK, NY—Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) announced the appointments of Joe Iacobucci as director of transit for the firm’s Midwestern offices, based in Chicago, and Jim Brown as principal and director of environmental planning in the New York office.
Iacobucci has 10 years of experience in public transit, specifically BRT. He joins SSE from the Chicago Transit Authority. Brown has worked in the environmental field for three decades, including positions with HDR and Parsons Brinckerhoff.
DALLAS, TX—John Catoe has joined MV Transportation Inc. as senior vice president of contract management. He served the company as a consultant and public transit subject matter expert for more than three years.
During more than three decades in the public transportation industry, Catoe has been general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), deputy chief executive officer of Los Angeles Metro, director of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, and director of transit services for the Orange County Transportation Authority.
Catoe received APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation Manager award in 2009. He is a former member of the APTA Board of Directors and an emeritus member and former chair of the Leadership APTA Committee.
MONROVIA, CA—The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board of Directors announced the appointment of Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen as a non-voting gubernatorial nominee. She succeeds former Monrovia Mayor and Councilmember Lara Larramendi, who served on the board for 11 years. Bowen is a 30-year Caltrans employee. Larramendi began serving on the board in 2003.
Christine Haynes, Ethan Grebe, Hector Enriques
DENVER, CO—Maintenance Design Group (MDG) announced the hiring of Christine Haynes as a business development coordinator and Ethan Grebe as a facility designer, both in the Denver office. Haynes has more than three years of related project and business development experience. Grebe has experience in both manufacturing and project management.
Also, Hector Enriques has joined the Los Angeles office of MDG as a facility designer. He has worked in vehicle maintenance and shop facilities for more than 15 years.
Richard J. Palmieri
LOMBARD, IL—Richard J. Palmieri has joined Veolia Transportation as vice president of business development for rail. Previously, Palmieri worked with Siemens Infrastructure & Cities as director of business development.
OVIEDO, FL—Dan Melleady has joined Grayson Thermal Systems Corporation as business development manager (USA East).
Robbie Makinen, Steve Klika, A.J. Dusek, Michael Short, Daniel Serda, Ricky D. Turner, Dennis Bixby
KANSAS CITY, MO—The Board of Commissioners of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) board re-elected Jackson County, MO, Commissioner Robbie Makinen its chairman. Makinen is economic development coordinator for Jackson County and co-chair of the area’s Regional Transit Coordinating Council.
Steve Klika, representing Johnson County, KS, was elected vice chairman; A.J. Dusek, Wyandotte County, KS, secretary; and Michael Short, Platte County, MO, treasurer.
KCATA named new commissioners: Daniel Serda and Ricky D. Turner, both appointed by Mayor Mark Holland of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS, and Dennis Bixby of Leavenworth County.
Serda is a city planner. Turner is a pastor and a former bank officer. Bixby is a Leavenworth County commissioner and a design-build consultant.
Phalease Crichlow, Bryan Luellen
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—IndyGo has promoted Phalease Crichlow to vice president of human resources and Bryan Luellen to director of marketing and customer information. Crichlow, an IndyGo employee since 2011, most recently served as interim vice president of human resources. Luellen has served as marketing manager since 2012 and joined the agency in 2009 as business development coordinator.
Peykan Abbassi, Jaime Becerra
OCEANSIDE, CA—The North County Transit District (NCTD) appointed Peykan Abbassi chief development officer and Jaime Becerra chief of transit enforcement. Abbassi came to NCTD from the Los Angeles City Department of Public Works, where he was project manager. During a 25-year career, he has worked in engineering and project management.
In Becerra’s 24-year career, he was director of safety and security for Foothill Transit in West Covina, CA, and acting transit safety and training manager for Los Angeles DOT.
Dave Walker, Michelle Machay, Glen Holland
CHICAGO, IL—Dave Walker, Michelle Machay, and Glen Holland have joined Metra’s Citizens Advisory Board. Walker is the owner and founder of WALK Studio, a planning and architecture firm. Machay manages special programs for low-income customers with Peoples Gas. Holland is an executive with Accenture’s consulting practice.
OVIEDO, FL—Chris Riedel has joined Grayson Thermal Systems Corporation as installation manager, North America. Riedel previously worked for a large construction company and trucking firm.
Lisa Glatch, Lindsay Ritter
DENVER, CO—CH2M HILL has hired Lisa Glatch as chief strategic development officer and promoted Lindsay Ritter to global practice lead for the Asset & Operations Management component of the firm’s transportation services portfolio.
With 29 years of experience, Glatch most recently served Jacobs Engineering as senior vice president of global sales.
Ritter previously was sustainability director for CH2M HILL’s Operations Management Services Group and facilities manager for the its city services business.
SOUTH BEND, IN—Lorraine Brown has joined the South Bend Public Transportation Corporation (Transpo) as an operations supervisor. She succeeds Mike Pancoast, who was promoted to the newly created position of safety, security, and training manager.
For 20 years, Brown was with Kalamazoo Metro Transit, MI, from which she retired in 2012. She began her career as an operator and rose through the ranks, holding positions including dispatcher, lead trainer, and operations supervisor.
Arnold Isham Jr.
CINCINNATI, OH—Cincinnati Metro has named Arnold Isham Jr. assistant director of transit operations.
Isham began his career with the agency in 1992 as a bus operator. During his 22 years, he was group manager, sector manager, street operations/on-time performance manager and, most recently, station manager.
Kevin R. Collins
BELLEVUE, WA—Kevin R. Collins, P.E., has joined HNTB Corporation as project director and vice president. He currently serves as project director for the Sound Transit East Link Light Rail Extension, an eight-mile extension of the existing Link system in Bellevue and Redmond, WA.
Collins has two decades of transportation industry experience. He joins HNTB from HDR Engineering Inc., where he was transit business class manager and senior project manager.
He is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2008 and a member of the APTA Rail Transit Committee.
Thomas (Tom) Clark
PASADENA, CA—Parsons has hired Thomas (Tom) Clark as vice president and director of business development for its transportation group. He will be based in Washington, DC.
Clark has more than 32 years experience in operations, maintenance, and public-private partnerships.
Glen Hayden, Michael J. Yaeger, Kevin O'Connor
NEW YORK, NY—MTA Metro-North Railroad has named Glen Hayden as vice president of engineering, Michael J. Yaeger as chief mechanical officer, and Kevin J. O’Connor as chief transportation officer.
Hayden comes to Metro-North after 16 years with Parsons Brinckerhoff. He worked for the railroad earlier in his 37-year career, rising to the position of chief engineer, and also worked for F.R. Harris. Yaeger has served in his new post on an acting basis since July 2013. He is a 27-year Metro-North employee in the Maintenance of Equipment Department. O’Connor has 36 years experience with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit Corporation, serving most recently as vice president and general manager of rail operations.
OCEANSIDE, CA—Donald Filippi has joined the North County Transit District as chief of safety.
Filippi served five years as superintendent, transit operations and safety section, at the California Public Utilities Commission. He also worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 14 years, ultimately as manager of operating practices.
Clinton B. Forbes
COLUMBUS, OH—The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) named Clinton B. Forbes vice president, operations.
Forbes has 25 years of service in the public sector, 10 of them at the senior management level at large public transit authorities. He comes to COTA from Jacksonville, FL, where he was chief of transit operations support and earlier, director of mass transit/president, JAX Transit Management Corporation. Earlier, he held senior executive positions in Miami-Dade County, FL.