Passenger Transport - July 25, 2014
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Senate Confirms Mendez, Rogoff

The Senate voted July 24 to confirm the nominations of Victor Mendez to be deputy secretary of transportation and Peter Rogoff to be under secretary of transportation for policy, both by voice vote.

Both Mendez, previously FHWA administrator, and Rogoff, formerly FTA administrator, had been serving in those posts in an acting capacity.






Voices Join in Support of Public Transit

What do USA Today, the New York Times, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Economist, the U.S. Travel Association, and the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, among others, have in common? Like APTA, they have all issued recent calls to Congress urging a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) has prepared a compilation of op-eds, essays, news articles, and position statements. Find details here.


Senate Leaders Reach Agreement To Consider HTF Extension

As Passenger Transport was going to press, the Senate reached a unanimous consent agreement to begin addressing the short-term insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The agreement permits the full Senate to consider four amendments and engage in limited debate of the House’s legislation, H.R. 5021, which passed July 15 and would provide approximately $10.8 billion to the HTF and extend authorizations through May 2015.

Because of unrelated discussions, it is likely that the Senate will take up the HTF legislation and proposed amendments the week of July 28. ­Congress adjourns for its summer recess in August, and DOT predicts that the HTF will become insolvent in mid-August absent ­congressional action.
For details, see APTA’s Legislative Alert or contact Brian Tynan.

Foxx: Transportation Needs a 'Reset'

Even if Congress passes a bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) through May 2015 (which was uncertain), DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx called the legislation a “short-term patch” that isn’t necessarily a cause for celebration.
He made these remarks July 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

“It’s hard to imagine that Congress will not push the snooze button on this issue when it’s crunch time again,” Foxx said. “Come May, if we’re not careful, we will be right here again, with the shot clock set to expire, looking for an easy solution to patch us for a few months, leaving the real conversation for another time.”

He added that the nation’s transportation network is suffering from “chronic underinvestment, an old project delivery system that makes projects more expensive and time-consuming than necessary, and a set of policies that are more Model-T than Tesla. . . . America needs more than incremental adjustment; we need a big reset in transportation.”

He added that DOT is planning a 30-year “transportation vision,” which it will complete in the coming months, outlining trends and choices.

As for the current state of transportation, he pointed to three underlying issues.

First, underinvestment “feels normal,” Foxx said because it is long-standing. “Every year, the cost of catching up grows more and more out of reach. . . . We have a big problem that’s been treated like a little problem.”

Second, short-term funding measures slow progress, and Congress is “starving the system and effectively telling the country, ‘We’re not really going to fix this’.”

Third, the atmosphere in Washington “is making the impractical seem practical, and the practical seem impractical. Wrong looks right and right looks wrong.”

Foxx said that the Obama administration’s GROW AMERICA Act can stabilize the HTF, increase investment in infrastructure, fund critical repairs, streamline the federal processes and incentivize states to speed up projects, and support Buy America and local jobs.

In addition, Foxx said DOT plans to convene leaders from all 50 states, including governors and others to “make the case for ending the gridlock on this issue. . . . The American people need the facts. They know something’s wrong. They are stuck in traffic. They have been patiently awaiting the new bypass or bridge project or new passenger rail station. But they can’t put their finger on who to hold accountable. . . . We need a moment of clarity and political courage, and that will not happen without the American people knowing the facts and raising their voices.”

See “Commentary” in this issue for an open letter to Congress signed by Foxx and 11 other DOT secretaries.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx at the National Press Club with APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy and APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer, The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI.

Photo courtesy of Noel St. John

Members Testify: Public Transportation Transforms Communities

As the Senate considers options to replenish the nearly insolvent Highway Trust Fund before Congress adjourns for its summer recess in August, two APTA members provided first-hand accounts of public transit’s power to transform communities in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on ­Housing, Transportation, and Community Development July 22.

Testifying were Joseph ­Calabrese, chief executive officer and general manager, Greater ­Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and Lee Gibson, executive director, Regional Transpor­tation Commission of Washoe County (NV).

Calabrese credited the city’s 2004 public transit investment in BRT (now called HealthLine) with jump-starting the “tremendous resurgence” in Cleveland.

“We promoted BRT as a new mode that was not a bus, and not a train, but the future,” he said, noting that the HealthLine’s FTA New Starts grant has leveraged more than $5 billion in development along its corridor.

Calabrese also cited an Institute for Transportation Development Policy study that found the BRT showed a return on investment of $114 for every $1 invested.

Gibson testified that several RTC projects are enhancing livability in the region by creating jobs and expanding economic development. RTC invests more than $350 million a year in regional street, highway, and public transit projects, programs and services, he said.

He stressed the importance of ensuring the Highway Trust Fund has enough resources for future needs; the need for improvements in funding bus maintenance, purchases, and facilities; and significance of streamlining federal regulatory and permitting processes to avoid potentially costly construction delays. The RTC system has an annual ridership of almost 8.5 million.

Photos by Jordan Smith

Denver Union Station Set for Grand Reopening

The wait is almost over. Denver Union Station will celebrate its gala reopening on July 26.

“What used to be an abandoned railyard is now an urban environment bursting with new businesses, new buildings, and new transportation options,” said RTD General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Phillip Washington.
“It is the Grand Central ­Station of the metropolitan region and is the center of the regional transit system in the heart of the city.”

The Denver Union Station transit hub project began in 2001 when the Regional Transportation District (RTD), the city and county of ­Denver, Colorado DOT, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments jointly purchased the historic station from a private developer, with RTD retaining title. The following year, the project team began developing a master plan and conducting an Environmental Impact Statement for the station site.

The project has turned Union Station into the centerpiece of a bustling new focal point of downtown, offering expanded transportation services—light rail, a new 22-gate bus concourse that opened in May, Amtrak, and commuter rail in 2016—and more connections and access than ever before.

RTD has worked with the ­Denver Union Station Project Authority throughout the process, along with partners responsible for finding retail and dining tenants for the station and creating a luxury hotel on the upper floors.


The Amtrak platforms at the newly reopened and redesigned Union Station in Denver.

Photo courtesy of RTD

WMATA's Silver Line Prepares for July 26 Opening

The Washington Metro­politan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is preparing for the July 26 opening of the first phase of the Silver Line.

WMATA opened the Metrorail system in 1976. The Silver Line joins five other heavy rail lines (86 stations and 106.3 miles of track) and is the first new construction since the Blue Line extension opened in 2004.

The service will operate on 11.4 miles of new track with five new stations in ­Virginia  and connects to existing Orange Line tracks, continues through downtown Washington, DC, and terminates in Largo, MD. WMATA anticipates providing about 25,000 ­Silver Line rides per weekday in its first few years of service, of which around one-third will be customers switching from the Orange Line because the new line is more convenient.

WMATA began “simulated service” on the Silver Line route July 20. The simulation trains operated between the terminus stations in Virginia and Maryland.

Silver Line service will begin operations using railcars in the existing WMATA fleet. The agency is expecting 528 new railcars to enter revenue service later this year: Officials say that 300 will replace the oldest vehicles, 100 will replace some more recent cars, and 128 will be used for fleet expansion. The additional cars will operate on all Metro lines, not exclusively on the Silver Line.

A second phase, projected to open in 2018, will extend service to Dulles Inter­national Airport and ­Loudoun County.

The Tysons Corner Station, one of five new stations on WMATA’s Silver Line in Virginia.


Construction Begins for Metro's Transit Center

Metro in St. Louis broke ground July 22 for a new transit center in Ferguson, a town in north St. Louis County. According to the agency, this region accounts for 19 percent of its bus and light rail ridership and is among its fastest-growing markets for public transit.

Speakers at the event included Metro President & Chief Executive Officer John Nations; Ray Friem, Metro chief operating officer for transit services; David Dietzel, chairman of the board of commissioners; FTA Region 7 Administrator Mokhtee Ahmad; Ferguson Mayor James W. Knowles III; and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

During the first phase of construction, Metro will renovate the current building on the property—a former auto dealership—to incorporate an indoor, climate-controlled passenger waiting area with digital messaging boards showing bus arrival times, as well as public restrooms and concessions. The site will also house 10 MetroBus bays, two bays for Call-A-Ride demand-response service, and a park-and-ride lot. Metro plans to open the facility in fall 2015.

Metro noted that it must secure federal funding before moving forward on the second phase of the project, construction of a new maintenance facility. This building will accommodate 70 MetroBus vehicles and 25 Call-A-Ride vans, along with 13 repair bays and an on-site vehicle dispatch center.

Passengers using the Metro North County Transit Center will have direct access to downtown St. Louis, the North Hanley MetroLink light rail station, and other regional destinations.

St. Louis Metro President & Chief Executive Officer John Nations, left, and FTA Region 7 Administrator Mokhtee Ahmad, third from left, join other agency and municipal officials at groundbreaking ceremonies for Metro’s North County Transit Center.


Detroit Streetcar Project to Break Ground

Representatives of the M-1 Rail modern streetcar project in Detroit prepared to break ground July 28 for the first section of the 3.3-mile line. When complete in 2016, the north-south route will serve 20 stations, 16 curbside and four in the median of Woodward Avenue.

M-1 Rail is a nonprofit organization leading the design, construction, and future operation of the modern streetcar line. It is led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state, and federal governments.

FTA, Michigan DOT, and the City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority provided financial support for the project, and M-1 Rail works closely with the city of Detroit, including Detroit DOT, on construction and future operation plans.

An artist's rendering of Detroit's North End/New Center neighborhood once M-1 Rail enters service there.


AECOM to Acquire URS Corporation

AECOM Technology Corporation and URS Corporation have entered into an agreement under which AECOM will acquire all outstanding shares of URS for a combination of cash and stock valued at approximately $4 billion. Including the assumption of URS debt, the total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $6 billion.

The combined engineering and construction firm will employ more than 95,000 people in 150 countries. Its headquarters will be in Los Angeles, with a major presence in San Francisco where URS is based.

Michael S. Burke will be the combined company’s chief executive officer, and the companies have designed a new operating management structure that will include senior leaders from both firms. John M. Dionisio, AECOM executive chairman, will be chairman of the board.

The combined company will be a fully integrated infrastructure firm serving clients across a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water, and government.

CEO, Interim GMs Named

Bland, Nashville MTA/RTA
Stephen G. Bland is joining the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee, serving as chief executive officer of both Nashville-based agencies. His appointment is effective Aug. 25.

Bland currently works for Michael Baker International as program director of CTfastrak, a 9.5-mile advanced BRT system between New Britain and downtown Hartford, CT. During his 28-year transportation career, he headed the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh for seven years and was assistant director/general superintendent of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation.

He succeeds Paul J. Ballard, who left MTA and RTA to become president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. MTA/RTA Chief Financial Officer Ed Oliphant headed the agencies on an interim basis.

For APTA, Bland serves on the Authorization Task Force and the Access, Legislative, Policy and Planning, Public-Private Partnerships, and Sustainability committees.

Haley, Cincinnati Metro
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which operates Metro in Cincinnati, has named Darryl Haley as interim general manager following the resignation of Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Terry Garcia Crews.

His appointment is effective immediately.

Haley is Metro’s executive director of development and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises officer, positions he will retain. He is a member of the APTA Financial Management Committee.

Garcia Crews joined Metro in November 2010. She is an at-large director on the APTA Board of Directors, chairs the APTA Mid-Size Operations Committee, is a mentor for the Early Career Program, and a member of the Bus and Paratransit CEOs and Bus Operations committees.

Blahovec, WCTA
Alan Blahovec, deputy director of the Westmoreland County Transit Authority (WCTA), Greensburg, PA, has been named interim executive director, effective Aug. 4, following the announcement that Larry Morris will leave that position.

Morris, who has headed WCTA since 1993, said he is joining a private transportation company.

Lewis, Sarasota, FL
Sarasota County (FL) Area Transit (SCAT) has named Rob Lewis interim director.

Lewis is the county’s director of community and intergovernmental relations.

SCAT made the change following the departure of Glama Carter, who had served as its director since August 2012.

Tennyson Dies; Rail Leader

Edson L. Tennyson, 92, a longtime rail advocate and former PennDOT deputy secretary, died July 14.

Tennyson began his career at Pittsburgh Railways, went to Milwaukee Rapid Transit, and became city transit commissioner in Youngstown, OH, in 1951 before going to Philadelphia as deputy commissioner of transportation in 1956. He served as PennDOT deputy secretary from 1972-79.

In 1983, he was appointed public works planning coordinator for Arlington County, VA, to complete the Metrorail Orange Line. After his retirement in 1992, he served on the Fairfax County (VA) Transportation Advisory Commission and was an emeritus member of the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council.

“Ed Tennyson was one of the finest people I have ever known,” said William Millar, retired APTA president. “Having had the privilege of working for him early in my career, I learned from his keen intellect, unrivaled analytic ability, and passion for public transportation. Millions of riders benefit from the projects Ed championed and the professionals he inspired.”

Roe Dies; Architect of ISTEA

Former Rep. Robert Roe (D-NJ), 90, a driving force behind the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and chairman of the then-House Public Works and Transportation Committee from 1991-93, died July 15.

APTA honored Roe in 1991 with its National Distinguished Service Award.

Roe served in the House of Representatives from 1969 until his retirement in 1993. In addition to the public works committee, now the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, he chaired the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

In a statement on the House floor, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) cited Roe’s “noted ability to reach across the aisle” and called ISTEA “the greatest highway bill in the history of the country."


Meet Thomas Lambert!

Thomas Lambert
President and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), Houston
Member, APTA Board of Directors; member, Committee on Public Safety, Bus and Paratransit CEOs, Rail Transit, Legislative committees

Please describe your agency.
About 3,600 people are employed at METRO. We’re multimodal—bus, rail, paratransit, vanpools—but we’re really a true mobility management agency in the sense that we’re part of the city’s Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) and Houston TranStar, a regional transportation and emergency management center. We’re also aligned with a network of partners in all modes of transportation—bicyclists, pedestrians, and so on.

Our service area is 1,285 square miles. The city of Houston is our principal ­service area, but there are 14 other cities in our area too—all within or surrounding ­Harris County. There are 3.5 million people in our service area, and the population is ­growing by leaps and bounds.

Our annual ridership is about 80 million boardings. Just as APTA reported overall growth in ridership nationwide, we’re seeing similar increases. We’re also beginning to see behavioral changes too as people use public transit. We estimate a 20 percent increase in ridership over the next couple of years.

How long have you worked in the public ­transportation industry?
I’m in my 35th year. I’ve been involved with APTA in a number of ways and through committee work. Through APTA, I’ve also been fortunate to be involved in other organizations—like DOT, the Department of Homeland Security, and ITS America, where I served as chairman.

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I was born and raised in Houston, but I left for college in Austin. I was on my way back for a job interview in risk management when I stopped for a cup of coffee in a small shop. I sat down next to a bus operator—the only seat available—and we started to talk. He told me I should interview with METRO, which was just starting the first transit police force in Texas. Because of my background in law enforcement, I was really intrigued, so I applied for a job.

I accepted my first position in transit as a security investigator for METRO in October 1979. It just went from there. I was named interim CEO for 14 months and permanent in March of this year. I’ve spent my entire transit career at METRO.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?
It’s networking—people sharing information and experiences. One thing I know about this industry is that people are willing to share what they know, what they’ve experienced, what insights they’ve gained, how to think about the consequences of a decision.

When you’re trying to do the right thing, it’s a tremendous benefit to have people tell you about their similar experiences. They can help you avoid making a mistake you don’t have to make or give you insight to not make the same mistake twice.

What do you like most about your job?
The people. Transit is an area of tremendous opportunity to meet fascinating people—people you work with and people you serve. We add to the quality of life for our riders. That’s a tremendous benefit—reward—of this work.

What would you like APTA members to know about Houston before they attend October’s Annual Meeting & EXPO?
Houston is a warm, friendly, hospitable, diverse community—there’s lots of opportunity here. Jobs, entertainment, restaurants . . . you can find every culture here. We have the best food anywhere, a thriving downtown, museums, cultural attractions, and a busy theater district. Houston’s second only to New York City in its number of theaters.

We want to showcase all of that to our friends. Houston—and transit—have changed significantly since APTA was here for the last Annual Meeting & EXPO in 1990. I credit the METRO staff, of course, but also the board of directors over the years.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
We view ourselves as mobility managers. For example, we share 25 percent of the sales tax we receive with our member jurisdictions, and they can use those funds any way they want to make some aspect of transportation better—building or improving streets, sidewalks, and so on. Our partnership in MAP—to clear roadways and get traffic moving—all of it helps keep our buses running.

TranStar is also unique. All four partners—Texas DOT, the city of Houston, ­Harris County, and METRO—work together with the federal government to fund and operate the emergency management center because we know that transportation and evacuation go hand in hand.

And last is our special event management. During the March 2014 Livestock Show and Rodeo, we carried 1.2 million people on our rail system for the week-long event. We’re excited about that.


Annual Meeting & EXPO: A Major Destination

Seven Learning Zones, educational sessions, presentations about public transportation projects around the world, best practices, product and service updates, exhibits by 750-plus companies . . . it’s all at APTA’s 2014 Annual Meeting & EXPO, Oct. 12-15, at the ­Hilton ­Americas and the George R. Brown ­Convention Center in Houston.

New this year are the Learning Zones, located both on the show floor and in adjacent areas. Each zone is devoted to a specific topic: Innovations, Solutions, International, Mobility Management for Livable and Sustainable Communities, Procurement and Materials Management, Bus Technical Maintenance and Clean Technology, and Workforce Development.

EXPO Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Wharton, president of IMPulse NC LLC, said the entire event is designed to enhance and broaden attendees’ EXPO experience with a variety of technical and international presentations.

“The APTA EXPO, held only once every three years, is the premier public transportation showcase, designed for the transit consumer. In particular, transit agency leaders need to get their staff to EXPO so they can learn first-hand about all the new technologies, products, and services that will benefit their transit systems,” Wharton said.

Industry experts will give presentations on an array of topics ranging from the latest in fare collection systems and public transit shelters to mobility management and green solutions, international practices, and opportunities for small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

For example, the Mobility Management for Livable and Sustainable Communities Zone will feature presentations on products, services, technologies, and new developments in the field. Wharton said this dedicated space is “where you will find the latest and most effective means towards transit-oriented development, complete streets, urban circulators, and sustainable designs.”

And public transit professionals from ­Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Israel will report on their projects at the Inter­national Learning Zone. Transit specialists from additional countries are expected to register before the EXPO. 

More than 15,000 ­public transit professionals are expected to attend the EXPO, held in conjunction with the 2014 APTA Annual Meeting, making it the largest and most comprehensive ­public transportation-related event in the world. It offers an unparalleled opportunity for public transit professionals to exchange information on best practices, research, and new trends while learning about the newest and most innovative public transit products and technologies and hearing from leaders of the industry.

Information acquired at the EXPO can help public transit professionals enhance their passengers’ experience while operating more efficiently and profitably.

The EXPO website also provides searchable maps of the exhibit floor and a search feature to list exhibitors by ­category and nationality. 

About the Annual Meeting
With the theme “America’s Future Is Riding on Public Transportation,” the Annual Meeting will offer several General Sessions and dozens of topic-specific educational sessions and workshops. (See descriptions of some educational programs in a related story.)

Highlights of the meeting include the presentation of APTA’s Awards at an Oct. 14 breakfast meeting, graduation of the Leadership APTA Class of 2014, and recognition of the American Public Transportation Foundation Scholarship Award recipients.

APTA will also host its 2014 TransITech Conference Oct. 13-15 in Houston, concurrent with the Annual Meeting & EXPO. TransITech attendees will have full access to the EXPO exhibits, but will have to register separately to participate in the Annual Meeting.

TransITech sessions will examine technologies ranging from electronic payment systems to Intelligent Transportation Systems applications for public transit and advanced railway technology.

For details about the EXPO, Annual Meeting, and TransITech, click here.

Sessions Cover Broad Topics and Trends: Financing, Procurement, Technology, Workforce Development

APTA’s Annual Meeting features a host of concurrent sessions on a broad range of topics—all presented by the industry’s top professionals and experts. Register your team so your agency can attend all of these best practice-focused sessions.

Here’s a preliminary rundown:

Congress and the Federal Transportation Agenda. With MAP-21 expiring Sept. 30, what legislative progress should the public transportation industry expect on a new bill? Congressional staff will share their views on the authorization process, the status of the Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account, and other federal funding and regulatory issues.

Promising Practices in Asset Management, State of Good Repair, and Performance-Based Planning. MAP-21 requires that all FTA grantees develop a Transit Asset Management (TAM) plan, including an asset inventory with condition assessments and an investment prioritization process. Public transit agency and MPO representatives will report on how integrating TAM and state of good repair priorities can lead to better capital planning investment decisions.

Comprehensive Approaches to Financing Transit Projects. With increasing ridership, demands for more service, and tight funding, public transit professionals are exploring new ways to deliver more service efficiently. This session focuses on innovative ways the private sector can support the expansion and improvement of transit systems, thus strengthening quality and introducing efficiency.

Local Share Funding Sources Funding for Public Transportation. Tax sources from various levels of government—federal, state, and local—provide the foundational support for public transportation systems around the world. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute will present its matching funds resource guide, which focuses on small urban and rural transit agencies.

Executive Roundtable: Advancing Our Front-Line Workforce. Public and private sector transit leaders will share their plans, challenges, and successes as they advance an array of new workforce development programs for their front-line employees. This session will highlight a variety of innovative projects.

The Transit Board Member’s Role in Procurement. Transit agency board members and commissioners shape the environment in which procurement is conducted and protect the integrity of the process. This session will cover many aspects of the procurement policy process.

Management and Integration of Current and New Technologies. Technology tools and resources are key enablers to the business processes and operations of virtually all transit agencies. As these resources continue to expand, challenges emerge as to the best ways to integrate new and existing technologies for operational efficiency and customer service improvements.

Top Actions to Mitigate Distracted Driving. Public transportation continues to be one of the safest modes of travel in the U.S., and safety is a high priority for the industry. While much has been done to increase the safety of public transit operations, high consequence incidents can and do occur due to fatigue, distraction, or “lack of situational awareness.” This session features practical prevention strategies.

You Are a Powerful Force: ­Public Transportation and Real Estate Values. Investment in the public transportation system can lead to higher real estate values. This means public transit operators can create wealth and tax revenue from the service they provide. New research shows the power of their reach and the influence that additional investment can bring.

Linking Transit and Land Use: Building and Sustaining Transit-Oriented Communities. Public transit agencies are forming partnerships with cities and MPOs to develop strategies to enhance livable, sustainable communities that provide access and connections to health care, education, and employment. This session focuses on best practices.

Advocacy and Trends in Public Perceptions. Follow the trends in public perceptions of current service and learn about possibilities for future products, services, and communications. Learn more about engaging the general public and stakeholders and build stronger support for public transportation at the local and national levels.

Reimagining Transit Services and Organizations: A Texas Roundup. Cities and multi-centered regions are dynamic and growing, with public transportation agencies transforming their entire service networks and internal organizations. New business models can help systems offer faster commutes, reduced wait times, and simpler, more frequent service.

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

Good Faith Effort: Live or Memorex? APTA-COMTO DBE Assembly. This session considers ways to support and enhance the effectiveness of DBE programs. Topics will include challenges facing DBE firms, how to ensure a level playing field in winning contracts, and how to help strengthen DBEs so they can grow and succeed outside the program.

Arts in Transit. Art and design excellence in transit planning addresses the threefold challenge of a successful development project: aesthetics, function, and durability. Speakers will discuss how art and design in transit are a good investment, while veteran transit art administrators will present their projects and reflect on best practices.

APTA Awards. Celebrate public transportation’s most innovative agencies, businesses, and leaders. See a separate story in this issue.

35th Annual AdWheel Awards Ceremony. This session honors the best in public transportation marketing and communications in five categories—print, electronic, campaigns, special events, and social media—and celebrates first-place and grand award winners in each.

Celebrating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Leadership APTA and the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Scholarship Awards. At this combined session, members of the graduating Leadership APTA Class of 2014 will give presentations based on their in-depth research, and the program will welcome the Class of 2015. This session will also spotlight recipients of the APTF Scholarship Awards. 

General Sessions. The Annual Meeting features four General Sessions, including the Opening General Session, “America’s Future Is Riding on Public Transportation,” and a U.S. DOT Update with a question-and-answer component.

Visit the APTA website for details.

In the Zone: Learn What's New on the EXPO Floor; Free Sessions: Best Practices, Case Studies, How-To Workshops

One of the most exciting features of this year’s jam-packed, three-day EXPO are the free education sessions in the new seven Learning Zones located throughout the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Hear the latest on a wide range of topics, from real-time business analytics to driver training simulators to groundbreaking sustainability initiatives, international public transit projects, and supply chain management. Session ­topics by Learning Zone include the following:

3D scanning technology for automated tunnel inspection
Saving money with improved business intelligence
New technologies in idle-free operations
Optimizing vehicle location systems
Advanced technologies for real-time business analytics
Affordable bus washing systems
Hosted fare collection systems

Vehicle lift safety and the fleet ­manager’s responsibilities
How to purchase a driver training simulator
Managing a successful BRT/transit shelter project
Successful mobile ticketing deployment
Solving wireless communications in tunnels
Increasing safety with video-based driver risk management

Mass transportation project opportunities in Israel
InnoTrans 2016, International Trade Fair, September 2016, Berlin
Passenger transportation projects in Mexico
The 9th World Congress & Trade ­Exhibition on High-Speed Rail
Looking forward to the Olympics in Brazil
Public transit projects and needs in Canada

Livable and Sustainable Communities
Planning for sustainable communities
Accessible design
Energy efficiency
Complete streets programs and policies
Intermodal connections
Access and connectivity to essential services

Procurement and Materials Management
Moving Disadvantaged Business Enterprises forward
Pre-award and post-delivery audits for rolling stock
State and local schedules, joint procurement, and piggybacking
Buy America
P3s and PM/CM at Risk: What procurement officers need to know
Evaluation committee training, two-step procurements, and Brooks Act procurements
Supply chain management

Bus Technical Maintenance and Clean Technology
Leveraging new technology for smarter transit
Large-capacity, flash-charging electric buses
Increasing the range of the electric bus
Maintenance operations: best practices for whole life costing
Fuel economy and the modern bus transmission
The future of fuels and powertrains

Workforce Development
Promoting public transportation careers to middle and high school students
Engaging students at universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools
Opportunities for young ­professionals and the frontline workforce
Launch of the Transit Virtual Career Network

Session topics are being added as they are finalized. See an up-to-date list, organized by Learning Zones, here.

Visit the 'TECHbar' at EXPO

You have tech questions? APTA has a new way to provide answers.

APTA is hosting a “TECHbar” at the EXPO, a unique experience with experts available to demonstrate practical technology solutions, present hands-on ­sessions, and discuss solutions to enhance productivity, travel, and meet other challenges.
TECHbar will be open throughout the EXPO; attendees can either book one-on-one appointments or visit at any time with team members to answer questions and provide support for using the EXPO mobile app. They’ll also set up a resource portal for attendees to access tip sheets on the tech solutions discussed.

The TECHbar will cover a range of “how-tos” on such topics as getting started on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook; assessing your LinkedIn profile; going paperless with tablets and mobile devices; content curation (collecting, organizing, and displaying information relevant to a particular topic); managing email, and ways technology can enhance productivity. The team will also feature harnessing the power of mobile devices with cool apps and showcase wearable technology like Google Glass and smart watches.

Workforce Development Zone Builds Careers

The Houston Chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) has planned a series of programs in the Workforce Development Learning Zone on the EXPO floor. The schedule includes a luncheon featuring public transportation industry speakers, a session showcasing projects and initiatives of YPT members, and a “pitch” session (patterned on the television show Shark Tank) highlighting the best innovations in public transit.

he Mid-Level Managers Magnification Program will feature a workshop on career progression in the zone, and updates will be available regarding training programs for public transit’s frontline workforce.

In partnership with Rutgers University, APTA will launch the Transit Virtual Career Network at the Learning Zone. Live demonstrations will show how to use this new resource for job seekers and public transit agencies and businesses in recruiting frontline employees.

Houston METRO to Host Four Technical Tours

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), host system for the 2014 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO, has scheduled the following technical tours on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, Oct. 14 and 15. Attendees can sign up at the host desk in the registration area during the meeting. Registration numbers are limited.

METRORail Operating Facility. The Rail Operations Center is METRO’s principal rail facility, housing the majority of the agency’s rail fleet and serving as the base for vehicle testing, integration, training, and heavy repair. The facility’s design has received recognition by the American Institute of Architects.

METROLift Operations ­Center. METROLift manages more than 6,000 paratransit trips each weekday across a 751-square-mile area. The tour will feature discussions of the role of the transit center in eligibility determinations, scheduling processes for improved on-time performance, and ­dispatching contracted operators.

Houston TranStar-Emergency Management. Houston TranStar is a consortium of four government agencies that coordinate and enhance transportation and emergency management services, responding to freeway incidents and as well as large-scale emergencies in Southeast Texas. When emergency conditions arise, responders from throughout the region gather in an impressive 120-seat emergency management center facilitating efficient use of resources and the capability to coordinate a quick, effective response.

Arts in Transit. This tour provides an up-close look at METRO’s award-­winning Arts in Transit program. Twenty-four new stations on three light rail lines feature unique, original pieces of art celebrating Houston’s diverse culture, created by artists working with local communities.

A view of the Houston TranStar Emergency Management Center, one of the “must-see” tech tour stops during the 2014 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO.

Six Good Reasons to Attend EXPO

The EXPO website provides resources that will help public transportation professionals explain the importance of attending this international event to their employers. These include:

A customizable letter that employees can send their supervisors to validate reasons for attending EXPO 2014;

Links to hotel and travel discounts, in addition to the free registration for EXPO itself, and a chance to win a free trip to Houston and registration for the APTA Annual Meeting;

A list of free educational sessions being offered at the seven Learning Zones;

Ways to build contacts and make connections with the 15,000-plus people expected to attend the event;

A model format of a trip report where attendees can report on their new business contacts and information they learned that can benefit their agency; and

Suggestions for sharing the EXPO with coworkers, such as making a presentation at a future staff meeting.

Exhibitor Directory Available Online

The complete list of EXPO exhibitors, as well as floor maps and interactive features, can be found at the EXPO website.

Make Sure You’re Part of the Action!
More than 750 exhibitors have already reserved space at the International Public Transportation EXPO . . . are you one of them?

Some space is still available on the show floor. Don’t miss this opportunity to present your products and services to more than 15,000 EXPO attendees at the largest and most comprehensive public transit event in the world.

New this year, exhibitors can showcase their sustainability efforts with a booth in the Livable & Sustainable Communities Learning Zone, a special area devoted to ways that public transportation can contribute to cleaner, greener, and more efficient communities.

Exhibiting is easy. Contact Katherine Madison, senior account executive, EXPO Show Management, at 800-687-7469, ext. 627 (outside the U.S., 703-683-8500, ext. 627), or by email.  More information, including the exhibitor prospectus, is available online.

Hello, Houston! What's Cooking?

The boast that everything is bigger in Texas is true when it comes to APTA’s Annual Meeting & EXPO—the single largest gathering of public transportation agency leaders, business executives, and program and policy experts, all ready to share knowledge and insights about the industry’s latest news, trends, technologies, and advances.

Step outside the 1.8 million-square-foot, three-level George R. Brown Convention Center to explore the fourth largest city in the United States, boasting world-class cultural attractions and one of the nation’s most diverse culinary scenes, with 8,000-plus restaurants.

Houston is home to many ­museums, and these are free to visitors: the Menil Collection, presenting more than 16,000 artworks dating from the Paleolithic era to the present; Rothko Chapel, a non-denominational ­chapel ­housing several paintings by Mark Rothko; the Art Car Museum, where designers turn automobiles into works of art; the Contemporary Arts Museum, show­casing new work from national and inter­national artists; work in fiber, metal, glass, clay, and wood at the ­Houston Center for Contemporary Craft;

The Lawndale Art Center, a staple of Houston’s art scene; the Station Museum, which hosts contemporary art displays; the Heritage Society, the city’s only interactive outdoor museum; Project Row Houses, a nonprofit art initiative aimed at creating a positive place for local artists to work; the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston; Rice Gallery, the only university museum in the U.S. devoted to site-specific installation art; and the Houston Center for Photography, which displays both historic and new photographic works.

Architectural highlights include the Houston Cotton Exchange building, which dates to 1884; the restored ­Harris County Courthouse, originally constructed in 1910; the JPMorgan Chase Building from 1929, considered one of the finest Art Deco skyscrapers in the Southwest; the three buildings of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; and architect Philip Johnson’s three buildings on the campus of St. Thomas University.

But there’s more to life in Houston than things to see. For example, here are 15 representative meals showcasing the many tastes of the city, courtesy of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Wings and waffles at the Breakfast Klub. This variation on traditional Southern chicken and waffles includes six fried chicken wings and a Belgian waffle.

Pansoti at Tony’s. Squash-filled pasta topped with a parmesan puff, an Italian classic.

Campechana Extra at Goode Company Seafood. A Cajun take on ceviche, served in a cocktail glass with a mix of shrimp, crab, avocado, salsa, and jalapeños, and fresh tortilla chips on the side.

Parillada at Churrascos. A mixed grill plate highlighting the restaurant’s best loved meats.

Breakfast Tacos at Tacos a Go Go or Kolaches at Shipley’s. Houston-style breakfast foods: a breakfast taco with chorizo, egg, and cheese, or a kolache, a baked roll packed with sausage and cheese.

Fried chicken at Frenchy’s Chicken. Peppery, hot pans of crispy fried chicken. Lines are long, so plan to take out.

Dim Sum at Fung’s Kitchen. Hong Kong-style dim sum with selections ranging from the basic to the esoteric.

Ribs at Gatlin’s BBQ. A small, family-run barbecue joint serving ribs, brisket, Cajun-style sausage, and pulled pork.

Cheeseburger at Lankford Grocery. A hand-rolled and flattened patty served up with numerous toppings. Go early to avoid the lines and bring cash.

Vietnamese sandwich at Les Givral’s. Banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) filled with barbecued pork or tofu.

Fajitas at Ninfa’s on Navigation. Lots of places in Houston serve fajitas, but Ninfa’s invented the dish in 1973.

Crawfish and noodles at Crawfish. A Vietnamese spin on a Cajun classic, served up “regular spicy.”

Braised goat dumplings at Underbelly. A highlight of the menu, a dish of Korean-braised goat meat, gnocchi-style dumplings, and spicy chili sauce.

Pho at Pho Binh. Crowds gather to enjoy this Vietnamese-style soup with noodles and beef.

Ribeye at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. This ribeye, available bone-in or bone-out, is dry aged in-house and available in portions fit for a cowboy.

Get Ready to Tee Off!

Prior to hitting the EXPO 2014 floor, join the American ­Public Transportation ­Foundation for a benefit golf tournament ­Friday, Oct. 10.

The shotgun will be at 1 p.m. More details will be announced soon.

APTA Awards Celebrate Public Transit Excellence; Systems and Leaders Take Top Industry Honors at Annual Meeting Event

From employee wellness programs to leadership development, environmentally friendly policies and practices to rider accessibility, record-breaking ridership to sustainability initiatives, neighborhood projects to global development, and the individuals whose achievements have transformed public transportation, APTA’s 2014 Awards recognize exemplary public transportation systems and leaders.

Many of the winners will take ­center stage at an Oct. 14 event during the APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Houston.

“The recipients of this year’s APTA Awards are stellar examples of excellence in the public transit industry. These individuals and organizations have led the way, successfully advancing public transportation at the local, state, and national levels,” said Mike Harbour, chair, APTA Awards Committee, and acting chief executive officer of Seattle’s Sound Transit.

Summaries of winners follow.

This year, APTA will honor two public transit agencies with its Innovation Award: Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro), Austin, TX, and Regional Transportation District (RTD), Denver.

Capital Metro will be recognized for its Employee Wellness Program, designed to improve employee health and reduce absenteeism while increasing employee morale and safety awareness. The program addresses key aspects of employee health—physical activity, nutrition, safety, weight management, stress reduction strategies, and tobacco cessation—with four 24-hour onsite wellness centers and a Wellness Team to provide outreach.

RTD designed and implemented a Strategic Leadership Development Program to preserve institutional knowledge, groom the next generation of leaders, and cultivate collaborative workforce development programs. The program’s five-step, custom-designed curriculum identifies and develops qualified employees for senior management positions within RTD and the industry.

Three public transportation agencies will receive the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award: Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit), Antioch, CA, fewer than four million annual passenger trips; Lane Transit District (LTD), Springfield, OR, more than four million and fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips; and Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Salt Lake City, 20 million or more annual passenger trips.

Tri Delta Transit serves a 225-square-mile area that includes four cities and unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County in California. The agency has implemented an environmental agenda that affects every aspect of the organization and has been certified since 2006 as a Green Business by the Bay Area Green Business Program.

The agency also places a strong emphasis on each employee providing superior customer service, using surveys, a staff recognition program, and web-based programs. Tri Delta Transit has seen record ridership increases, decreased costs per passenger, lowered costs per mile, and fewer complaints.

LTD has seen its annual ridership grow from 700,000 boardings in 1970 to more than 11 million boardings today. In the interest of helping to create “a more vibrant, sustainable, and equitable community,” the system has developed collaborative approaches to its operations.

As a result, LTD earned Silver certification through APTA’s Sustainability Commitment. The agency is moving to an all hybrid-electric fleet and will apply for ISO 14001 certification in 2015.

LTD also implemented full accessibility of its fleet five years before the Americans with Disabilities Act and partners with disability advocates when developing services.

UTA achieved its all-time highest ridership level in 2013 while completing its FrontLines 2015 program with the opening of the Airport and Draper TRAX light rail lines. By December 2013, UTA opened four rail lines: one commuter rail, two light rail, and the agency’s first modern streetcar line.

The $2.5 billion FrontLines program, which UTA competed two years ahead of schedule, included 70 new miles of rail, bringing the agency’s total rail network to 140 miles.

Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) will receive APTA’s Distinguished Service Award. ­Pastor, first elected to the House in 1991 and retiring this year, has supported projects that get people to jobs, school, and vital services while generating a positive economic impact for the greater Phoenix area. His efforts helped Valley Metro Rail receive a full funding grant agreement for its 20-mile starter line and additional federal funds for a light rail extension and transit-oriented development.

National Distinguished Service Awards will go to Sen. ­Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair, Senate Environment and ­Public Works Committee, and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), chairman, House Trans­portation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, for their efforts to strengthen federal public transportation policies and programs including authorization legislation.

The Outstanding Public Transportation Manager Award will go to Paul Jablonski, who has headed the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System since 2004. In that time, he has established MTS as one of the best public transit systems in the nation. Jablonski has been a leader in the industry for almost 45 years, initiating public transit in ­Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and helping establish light rail in Mendoza, Argentina.

Pasquale (Pat) T. Deon Sr., chairman since 1999 of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Board of Directors, ­Philadelphia, will receive the Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award. Deon joined the board in 1996. During his tenure as chairman, SEPTA maximized more than $3.5 billion in capital investments to advance projects to restore its aging infrastructure to a state of good repair. His leadership has helped the agency build one of the largest hybrid bus fleets in the nation and implement service with trackless trolleys.

The Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member Award will go to Raul V. Bravo, Raul V. Bravo & Associates Inc., Reston, VA. He has worked in transportation consulting for more than 45 years, helping to strengthen and move the public transportation industry to new and higher levels.

The two newest members of the APTA Hall of Fame are both past APTA chairs: Rod ­­Diridon Sr., emeritus executive director, Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), San Jose, CA, and Ronald J. Tober, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Charlotte, NC. Diridon was APTA chair in 1993-94 and Tober in 2000-2001.

Diridon headed MTI for 23 years, from its inception until his retirement earlier this year. He served as a city council member followed by 20 years on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board, which he chaired six times. He chaired the San Francisco Bay Area’s three regional agencies and was a vice chair of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).

Tober’s 45-year career began in his hometown of Cleveland, working on a study of the first rail line serving a U.S. airport. From there he has led public transit agencies in Miami, ­Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, and ­Charlotte. APTA named him Outstanding Transit Manager of the Year in 2005 and two systems he led received APTA Outstanding Achievement Awards during his tenure. He served eight years on the APTA Executive Committee as a vice president, secretary-treasurer, and chair, and also served on the American Public Transportation Foundation board.

This year, APTA also is presenting Special Awards for a Lifetime of Academic Distinction to George Smerk, D.B.A. (retired), Indiana University, and Vukan Vuchic, Ph.D. (retired), University of Pennsylvania.

Smerk served on the faculty of Indiana University from 1966 until his retirement in 2003. He was founder and director of the university’s Institute for Urban Transportation, and in 1992 also became its director of transportation. He is an author, a board member of several organizations, and a renowned educator of public transit professionals.

Vuchic has lectured at many universities and has been an invited lecturer at leading ­public transit agencies. He has also written extensively about public transit’s role not only to move passengers, but also to help create more ­livable cities.

APTA Awards Committee
The Awards Committee organizes the annual awards program to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public transportation through recognition of excellence and high achievement among the industry’s organizations and individuals. Committee members follow:

Committee Chair Michael S. Harbour, acting chief executive officer, Sound ­Transit, Seattle; Christopher P. Boylan, director, governmental and strategic partnerships, General Contractors Association of N.Y., Inc., New York; Grace Crunican, general manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; Shirley A. DeLibero, president, DeLibero Transportation Strategies LLC, Milton, MA; Donna DeMartino, general manager/chief ­executive officer, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA; Saundra Foster, president, board of trustees, METRO Regional Transit Authority, Akron, OH; Kim R. Green, president, SPX Genfare, Elk Grove, IL; and Jeff Meilbeck, chief executive officer/general manager, Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, Flagstaff, AZ.

Also serving are Mary Jo Morandini, general manager, Beaver County Transit Authority, ­Rochester, PA; Maryanne Roberts, senior advisor, communications and public affairs, U.S., ­Bombardier Transportation, Horsham, PA; Janet S. Rogers, vice president, Stacy and Witbeck Inc., Alameda, CA; Paul P. Skoutelas, senior vice president and market leader, transit and rail, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Pittsburgh; Terry E. Solis, chairman and secretary of the board, the Solis Group, Pasadena, CA; David M. Stackrow, board member, Capital District Transpor­tation Authority, Albany, NY; and Matthew O. Tucker, executive director, North County Transit District, Oceanside, CA.

Educational Outreach at EXPO

APTA is scheduling two different educational programs during EXPO to promote public transportation career opportunities for young people.

Working with Junior Achievement, APTA will host a session describing ways for high school students to learn about public transit careers, such as internships and developing mentorships. Industry professionals will talk to the students in an open forum, then may tour the exhibit hall and have lunch before concluding the session.

Undergraduate and graduate students from Texas Southern University and Texas A&M University will participate in interactive presentations, reporting on transportation-related topics and issues they are currently studying. Tabletop displays will accompany the presentations.

AdWheel Honors Industry's Top Marketing, Communications

Are your special events super? Does your website keep riders in the loop? Do your marketing campaigns win new friends and your social media messages rock? Have you launched a killer app? Is your brand a mainstay of your community?

If any of those marketing and communications benchmarks of excellence apply to your agency, it could take top honors at APTA’s 2014 AdWheel Awards at the Annual Meeting & EXPO—the 35th year APTA has honored the industry’s most creative marketing and promotional efforts.

APTA has received nearly 550 entries in this year’s competition, currently in the judging phase. First-place award recipients will be notified by late August. The AdWheel Grand Awards, selected from among the first-place honorees, will be announced in a special ceremony Monday afternoon, Oct. 13.

APTA member public transit agencies and business members compete in five categories: print media, electronic media, campaign, special event, and social media. Agencies are judged in cate­gories based on the number of rides they provide each year.

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

For details, contact Laticia King. Track the latest details at #APTAadWheel14.


To see the current version of the Annual Meeting & EXPO Program-at-a-Glance, click here.


Transit Board Members Seminar Focuses on Advocacy, Social Equity, Funding

BY CHERYL PYATT, Program Manager-Educational ­Services

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) hosted more than 100 public transit board and support staff members who discussed governance, policy, and leadership at APTA’s recent Transit Board Members & Board Support Seminar.

APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer of The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI, and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy hosted the Chair and President’s Roundtable session focused on Varga’s priorities to organize, energize, and authorize a long-term surface transportation bill, and on APTA’s advocacy campaign, “Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows.”

Varga challenged attendees to advocate for public transportation at the national, state, and local levels, adding that “it’s a challenging time but it’s the right opportunity to put a bold plan together for transit.”

Keynote Speaker Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson welcomed attendees with a focused and rousing discussion about the equality and social equity of public transit and its importance to communities such as Cleveland. “What we do for those with the least closes the gap; it is not charity or welfare, it is providing an equitable share in the prosperity of the community,” Jackson said.

Engaging and experienced speakers from across the industry offered presentations on governance, fixed route services, safety, stakeholder engagement, MPO partnerships, labor relations, and board development, just to name a few topics.

The seminar also featured peer-to-peer exchanges in small groups organized by system size during which board members shared their experiences in succession planning, new funding sources, workforce development, and ADA requirements.

The seminar also included committee meetings and the election of a new slate of officers for the Transit Board Members Committee: chair, Valarie McCall, member of the APTA Executive Committee and board member, Greater Cleveland RTA; vice chair, Randall ­Chrisman, board member, Dallas Area Rapid Transit; secretary, David Stackrow, board chair, Capital ­District Transportation Authority, Albany, NY; and Region VI representative, Carol Herrera, executive board treasurer/audit-controller, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA.

RTA hosted several tours of its award-winning HealthLine BRT system, its downtown trolleybus system, and four recently completed rail lines and stations in the heart of Cleveland.

Denver’s Regional Transportation District will host the 2015 Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar, July 18-21.

The Transit Board Member Handbook was unveiled at the meeting. This online publication provides information for new and veteran board members on issues covering roles and responsibilities, the board’s committee structure, leadership qualities, the selection of and relationship with the CEO, ADA, and strategic planning. Find it at the APTA website.

Speakers at the Opening General Session of APTA’s recent Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar in Cleveland include, from left, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy; Fred Daniels, board member, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Valarie McCall, member, APTA Executive Committee, and board member, Greater Cleveland RTA; Beth Vidaurri, chair, APTA Transit Board Members Board Support Subcommittee, and manager of the executive office, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority; Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson; George Dixon, board president, Greater Cleveland RTA, and former APTA chair; and APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer, The Rapid, Grand Rapids, MI.

Photo courtesy of Jerome Masek, Greater Cleveland RTA


Last Call for Leadership Nominations

APTA’s volunteer leaders oversee everything from policy setting and review to governance and fiduciary responsibilities. Do you have what it takes to join their ranks—or do you know someone who does? Put your leadership acumen to work on APTA’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Details follow:

The Nominating Committee, appointed by APTA Chair Peter Varga and approved by the Executive Committee, is accepting nominations through Aug. 4. The committee will recommend candidates for approval by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers, Oct. 11 in Houston, prior to the APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO.

In keeping with APTA’s Sustainability Commitment, the nominations process is online. On June 13, the association e-mailed each member a nominations packet, which includes the Nominating Committee roster, the list of open positions, directions for accessing the nomination and authorization form, and a form to appoint a proxy for members unable to be represented at the Annual Business Meeting.

All nominations, including letters of support, must be submitted online. Click here for documents, easy-to-follow instructions, and campaign guidelines. Contact Jim LaRusch for details.

New TCRP Reports Inform Analysis, Decision Making

Three new reports from the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) provide practical, timely, and relevant information for public transportation leaders in critical areas: research that can determine which routes will have the greatest potential to attract more riders, analysis of the legal ins and outs of public-private partnerships, and a review of health insurance privacy laws on public transit and paratransit operations.

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success (Report 167) is a two-volume report that provides a data-driven, indicator-based model for predicting the success of a fixed-guideway transit project based in part on expected ridership.

“With capital costs ranging from tens of millions to several billion dollars, decisions on whether to build a fixed-guideway transit project, and what kind of project to build, are not taken lightly by local officials or their funding partners,” the report states. “Such decisions may follow many years of planning and analysis at the system, corridor, and project levels. It can cost millions of dollars just to develop and apply the analysis tools that are typically used to evaluate alternative projects.”

The report strives to “predict predicting the potential success of a fixed-guideway transit project.”

Transit Public-Private Partnerships: Legal Issues (Legal Research Digest 45) provides research and information to help public transit leaders better understand, develop, and negotiate public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“Transit-related PPPs have the potential to involve complex concession agreements in which private entities may design, build, finance, operate, and maintain entire transit corridors or modalities for a transit agency,” the report states. The 300-page report explores several components of PPPs in detail.

How the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Other Privacy Laws Affect Public Transportation Operations (Legal Research Digest 46) provides an in-depth look at this complex issue as it affects public transit systems.

“On the face of it, transit agencies that provide public transportation, including paratransit services, would not normally be covered entities and the HIPAA privacy rule would not apply to them,” the digest notes. “However, many transit agencies have been advised by attorneys that HIPAA does apply, at least for certain types of information.” In addition, the 240-page report states that basic trip information could trigger HIPAA requirements.

To download TCRP reports, click here.

Updated PTC Guidance from FCC

The Federal Communications Commission has posted on its website updated guidance on the environmental review process for Positive Train Control (PTC) wayside poles and an updated PTC environmental checklist. The documents are available here.

In particular, the ­guidance clarifies what is required for PTC wayside infrastructure located in a floodplain. FCC rules require an environmental assessment (EA) whenever infrastructure is to be located within the boundaries of a 100-year floodplain. Consistent with Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations, however, FCC does not require that the PTC pole itself be elevated above the floodplain. Rather, the EA must show that the equipment cabinet and any other auxiliary structures are elevated at least one foot above the floodplain. This is consistent with the standards FCC applies to all communications structures under its jurisdiction.

The guidance also clarifies the process for completing FCC mandated forms.


Foothill Transit to Purchase Proterra's New Model Bus

Foothill Transit in West Covina, CA, has become the first U.S. public transit agency to purchase ­Proterra LLC’s new 40-foot electric buses. The two buses, at a total cost of $2.4 million, are scheduled to deliver in December. Proterra previously built only 35-foot fast-charge electric buses.

The agency currently operates 15 of Proterra’s 35-foot electric buses on Line 291, a 17-mile line between La Verne and Pomona.

“These buses are a much needed innovative step for our region,” said Doug Tessitor, chair, Foothill Transit Executive Board. “These vehicles are part of our commitment to sustainability and clean air. We want our communities, our neighbors, to be proud of their public transit system. These new buses will debut here first and we’re very excited to see them on the road.”

In 2010, Foothill Transit was awarded a $10.17 million Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction ­(TIGGER II) to purchase nine electric buses and charging station enhancements. The grant was the largest of its kind awarded to a public transit agency, and the purchase of these vehicles enable Foothill to operate Line 291 as an all-­electric, zero-emission bus line.

“Always a visionary and agent of positive change, Foothill Transit was our first customer and has led the way in helping us commercialize electric vehicle technology for urban transit,” said Ryan Popple, Proterra chief executive officer. “Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it requires partnership. We are proud of the strong partnership we have developed and pleased with the positive results it has already achieved in reducing energy costs and minimizing environmental impact.”

Foothill Transit serves more than 14 million customers annually on 36 fixed route bus lines in Los Angeles County. Proterra leads in the design and manufacture of clean technology and clean energy, providing zero-emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to reduce operating costs while delivering clean, quiet power.

APTA at COMTO's 43rd National Meeting

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy networks with young people at COMTO’s National Meeting and Training Conference in Atlanta. Melaniphy also reported on APTA/COMTO joint activities at the DBE Assembly during the conference, announcing that this year’s International Public Transportation EXPO, Oct. 12-15, Houston, will—for the first time—feature a COMTO pavilion. At the welcome breakfast, a tribute to the late COMTO President/CEO Julie Cunningham, he said, “She and I had a special bond of trust, friendship, and passion for the future of transportation for all.”

Guests and dignitaries took advantage of the many opportunities to network during the meeting. One such group includes, from left, Freddie Fuller, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. and COMTO second vice chair; Col. Jim Paige (retired), PTG Consulting Group and COMTO senior advisor and chief strategist; Shirley DeLibero, DeLibero Transportation Strategies LLC and former APTA chair; Robert Prince, vice president and industry liaison, AECOM, and COMTO board chair; Cynthia Jones Parks, Jones Worley; Warren Montague, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and COMTO first vice chair; Linda Washington, Washington Consulting Team and COMTO interim president/CEO; John Catoe, MV Transportation Inc.; and Joseph Erves, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, COMTO at-large board member.


MARTA GMs Through the Years

Past leaders of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) gathered during the recent COMTO meeting to commemorate the agency’s 35th anniversary. “Spending time with MARTA’s former leaders was an experience I will remember forever,” said MARTA CEO/GM Keith T. Parker, far left, who has been at the agency’s helm since 2012. “Each one of the general managers made a significant contribution to the agency. It was a terrific honor to have them join us as we continue celebrating 35 years of combined bus and rail service. It’s because of their legacy that MARTA continues to make great strides to becoming one of the best transit agencies in the country.” Joining Parker were, from left, Beverly Scott, MARTA GM, 2008-2012, general manager and chief executive officer, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; Richard McCrillis, 2006-2007, retired; Nathaniel Ford, 2000-2005, chief executive officer, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority; Richard Simonetta, 1995-2000, business development, rail and transit, the Burns Group; and Kenneth Gregor, 1982-1995, retired.

Grand Central Performance Art Events Receive National Award

Two performance arts projects at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design as part of last year’s centennial celebration for the iconic transportation hub, recently earned recognition from the nonprofit Americans for the Arts foundation.

“The Grand Central Centennial provided a unique and historic opportunity to present new, engaging performance work,” said Amy Hausmann, deputy director, MTA Arts for Transit. “Artists Charlie Todd with his group Improv Everywhere and Nick Cave with HEARD.NY created site-specific pieces that highlighted Grand Central’s magnificent architecture and delighted
the thousands of people who make the space one of the busiest transit centers in the world. We are excited to receive this national recognition and grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of scores of volunteers, staff, and others who worked
with the artists to make it possible.”

Todd’s work, “Grand Central Lights,” involved a group of 135 volunteer performers, equipped with flashlights and camera flashes, who performed a choreographed routine in the large arched windows on the building’s west façade. The event was filmed and posted on YouTube, where it received more than one million views in its first week.

"HEARD.NY," an installation and performance project, transformed Grand Central Terminal for one week with the placement of 30 lifesize, multicolored sculptural horses that periodically broke into choreographed movements to live
music. The work featured 60 dancers from the Ailey School accompanied by harpists and drummers.

This is the third consecutive year that Americans for the Arts has honored the efforts of MTA Arts for Transit.

A moment from "Grand Central Lights," one of MTA Arts for Transit's award-winning projects at Grand Central Terminal.


Burnsville Students Produce Art Panels for MVTA Buses

Through a strategic partnership between the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), Burnsville, MN, and area schools, students enrolled in Burnsville High School’s business elective, Interactive Design, recently produced interior panels for display in local and express buses. Themes include school spirit, public transit, and, in cooperation with the city of Burnsville, “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon,” a program to provide support to military families on short notice.

MVTA reviewed the students’ “school spirit” and “transit” artwork and chose the winning entries: school spirit, senior Bakar Elmi, and transit, senior Nina Peck. The “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” winning entry—by sophomore Jonathan Vang—was selected by Burnsville Councilmember William (Bill) Coughlin and former assistant City Administrator Tom Hansen.

The agency had the panels printed and dry mounted for display on the interior of MVTA buses. Students also received copies of their final product.

Bakar Elmi displays his winning artwork in the school spirit category.

CHK America Premieres Interactive 'ConnectPoint'

CHK America has launched its newest interactive touch screen transit kiosk, ConnectPoint, at the Santa ­Barbara Metropolitan Transit District’s Transit Center in downtown Santa ­Barbara, CA.

Through touchscreen technology, ConnectPoint allows customers to interact with the information, whether looking for departure times or reviewing their entire route. The web-enabled kiosk also provides directions for public transit, cars, bicycling, and walking, and allows the customer to enter an email or mobile phone number to receive trip planning directions directly.

Public transit agencies can customize the interactive kiosk to provide non-transit information as well, such as weather forecasts and news headlines.

MetroCard Accepts First Spanish-Language Ad

The New York Metropolitan Transpor­tation Authority (MTA) has introduced its first Spanish-language advertising campaign on MetroCards. The immigration law firm Youman, Madeo & Fasano LLP purchased a print run of 250,000 cards in Spanish.

The MTA has used advertising on the rear face of MetroCards since 1995 and began selling space on the card’s front face in 2012. That year, the MTA also began selling space on MetroCards directly to advertisers rather than through an intermediary.

“We’re very pleased by the con­tinuing high level of interest that advertisers are showing toward the MetroCard as a medium for promotions,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, MTA’s senior director of corporate and internal communications. “This confirms that our decision to relaunch the MetroCard advertising program was the right move.”

Capital Metro Honored for Mobile App

The Center for Digital Government recently honored a mobile ticketing app created by the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin with its “2014 Best in Texas” award in the Best Mobile/W­ireless Project category.

“The CapMetro App has revolutionized the way our agency offers ticket purchasing,” said Capital Metro ­President/Chief Executive Officer Linda S. Watson. “We’ve made it possible for riders to not only leave their pocket change at home, but have also made it easy to tap into valuable trip planning tools on the go.”

The app, available for free download, allows riders to purchase fares for all services, including Local, Flyer and Express bus routes; MetroRapid BRT; MetroRail; and MetroAccess paratransit.

Public Transit: Going the Extra Mile

Public transportation agencies and their employees sometimes go the extra mile to serve their ­passengers. Here are a few examples.

CDTA Outreach for Organ Donor
A woman in Albany, NY, has purchased exterior ad space on five Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) buses citing her need for a kidney donor. A CDTA spokesperson said, “We think it shows the value of transit advertising that she decided to go with buses because they offer a wide scope of coverage throughout our communities and are cost-effective.”

Alleged Bank Robber Stopped On SEPTA Bus
A bank robbery suspect boarded a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority bus following an alleged robbery. Police received a tip from a passenger that another person on board matched the suspect’s description. Police then stopped the bus and took the man into custody.


In recognition of John Donnell’s 100th birthday, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority took the retired bus and streetcar operator for a ride on his former bus route and to a reception with agency employees. Donnell began working for the system in December 1942 and retired in 1978.

Marion Miller of Temecula, CA, credits the Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) Dial-a-Ride service for helping her to graduate from Mt. San Jacinto College—so she invited Arnold Quinonez and his fellow drivers to attend her recent graduation ceremony. For more than two years, Miller—who has cerebral palsy—used the curb-to-curb service to travel to and from the campus in Menifee, CA, where she earned an associate degree in sociology.


Valley Metro express bus operator Tyrone Nelson, left, was recognized in Phoenix by Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta for stopping a wrong-way driver on an exit ramp. Nelson was returning to a bus yard when he saw the oncoming vehicle; he stopped his bus, activated his four-way flashers, and used the horn to alert the driver. The driver then realized his error and turned his vehicle around.

BART Receives Website Award for Content Management

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District recently received the 2014 Blue Drop Award as “Best Government Site” for its official website. This award recognizes users who maximize the capabilities of Drupal, an open source content management system.

BART explained that its website has thousands of moving parts and yet must display correct real-time information to riders while also providing uninterrupted service in case of emergencies and heavy website traffic.

The migration to the new content management system, according to BART, complies with all applicable accessibility guidelines, including Americans with Disabilities Act Best Practices for Website Accessibility.

Yuma System Joins Greyhound

The Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA), Yuma, AZ, has partnered with Greyhound Lines Inc. to implement Greyhound Connect as part of a Yuma County Area Transit route.

Through Greyhound Connect, passengers in small towns and rural communities can connect seamlessly with intercity bus service throughout the nation, boarding at a designated public transit stop.

YCIPTA is receiving federal funding through Arizona DOT for the new service, and Greyhound is providing the required match to help make the new service sustainable into the future.

The funds from Greyhound mean that no state or local funds will be required.

CTE Joins Winning Team to Develop Advanced Vehicle Center

A partnership comprising the Center for Transportation and the ­Environment (CTE) and seven other organizations recently received $1.5 million from the California Energy Commission to establish the Northern ­California Center for Alter­native ­Transportation Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Technologies ­(NorthCAT) program.

The state grant will support the ­initial setup and operation of the proposed center. Separately funded efforts will support a suite of activities that offer ­clients education, training, project facilitation, and project pilot/­deployment and evaluation services. These new activities will build upon existing NorthCAT projects.

The center will emphasize the provision of hands-on practitioner training and development of real-world demonstration and deployment projects for alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. Additional key capabilities will allow for advanced audiovisual and internet connectivity between the center nodes.

Take Metro Transit to the Ballgame

Metro Transit in Minneapolis/St. Paul provided additional service on both of its light rail lines to Target Field Station for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Light rail and Northstar commuter rail also provided extra service to events throughout the week, and the agency offered commemorative farecards for purchase. “The combination of light rail, commuter rail, and bus service make Target Field among the most transit-friendly ballparks in the country, and the recent addition of the Green Line provides even more opportunities to enjoy
All-Star festivities,” said General Manager Brian Lamb.


More for Congress to Do, Even with New HTF Funding Bill: 12 DOT Secretaries Weigh In

WASHINGTON, DC—As Congress considers legislation to avoid a shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 of his predecessors offered the following open letter to Congress. In addition to Secretary Foxx, Secretaries Ray LaHood, Mary Peters, Norman Mineta, Rodney Slater, Federico Peña, Samuel Skinner, Andrew Card, James Burnley, Elizabeth Dole, William Coleman, and Alan Boyd all signed the letter. Their message: Congress’ work doesn’t end with the bill under consideration. Transportation in America still needs a much larger, longer-term investment.

The text of the letter is below:

This week, it appears that Congress will act to stave off the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. The bill, if passed, should extend surface transportation funding until next May.

We are hopeful that Congress appears willing to avert the immediate crisis. But we want to be clear: This bill will not “fix” America’s transportation system. For that, we need a much larger and longer-term investment. On this, all twelve of us agree.

Taken together, we have led the U.S. Department of Transportation for over 35 years. One of us was there on day one, at its founding. We’ve served seven presidents, both Republicans and ­Democrats, including Lyndon Johnson, ­Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Suffice it to say, we’ve been around the block. We probably helped pave it.

So it is with some knowledge and experience that we can write: Never in our nation’s history has America’s transportation system been on a more unsustainable course.

In recent years, Congress has largely funded transportation in fits and starts. Federal funding bills once sustained our transportation system for up to six years, but over the past five years, Congress has passed 27 short-term measures. Today, we are more than a decade past the last six-year funding measure.

This is no way to run a railroad, fill a pothole, or repair a bridge. In fact, the unpredictability about when, or if, funding will come has caused states to delay or cancel projects altogether.

The result has been an enormous infrastructure deficit—a nationwide backlog of repairing and rebuilding. Right now, there are so many structurally deficient bridges in America that, if you lined them up end-to-end, they’d stretch from Boston to Miami. What’s worse, the American people are paying for this inaction in a number of ways.

Bad roads, for example, are costing individual drivers hundreds of dollars a year due to side effects like extra wear-and-tear on their vehicles and time spent in traffic.

Simply put, the United States of America is in a united state of disrepair, a crisis made worse by the fact that, over the next generation, more will be demanded of our transportation system than ever before. By 2050, this country will be home to up to 100 million new people. And we’ll have to move 14 billion additional tons of freight, almost twice what we move now.

Without increasing investment in transportation, we won’t be able to meet these challenges. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to invest $1.8 trillion by 2020 just to bring our surface transportation infrastructure to an adequate level.

So, what America needs is to break this cycle of governing crisis-to-crisis, only to enact a stopgap measure at the last moment. We need to make a commitment to the American people and the American economy.

There is hope on this front. Some leaders in Washington, including those at the U.S. Department of Transportation, are stepping forward with ideas for paying for our roads, rails, and transit systems for the long-term.

While we—the twelve transportation secretaries—may differ on the details of these proposals, there is one essential goal with which all twelve of us agree:  We cannot continue funding our transportation with measures that are short-term and short of the funding we need.

On this, we are of one mind. And Congress should be, too.

Adequately funding our transportation system won’t be an easy task for our nation’s lawmakers. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Consensus has been brokered before.

Until recently, Congress understood that, as America grows, so must our investments in transportation. And for more than half a century, they voted for that principle—and increased funding—with broad, bipartisan majorities in both houses.

We believe they can, and should, do so again.

This letter originally appeared on July 21 as a DOT bulletin titled Open Letter from Secretary Foxx and 11 Former DOT Secretaries Urging Congress to Address Long-Term Transportation Needs.

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


Who's Doing What in the Industry

Cris B. Liban
LOS ANGELES, CA—Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Cris B. Liban, Los Angeles Metro deputy executive officer, environmental compliance and services, as a member of the City of Los Angeles Board of Transportation Commissioners.

Liban co-chairs the APTA Sustainability Commitment Subcommittee and is a member of several APTA working groups.

Cindy McGinnis
LEESBURG, VA—Veolia Transportation has selected Cindy McGinnis as general manager of Loudoun County Transit Operations, located to the west of the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

McGinnis comes to Loudoun County after serving as general manager for Veolia’s Knoxville Area Transit contract. She  began her career in transit nearly 30 years ago and joined Veolia in 2006.

McGinnis has served on the National Transit Institute Board of Directors.

Al Robinson
VAUGHAN, ON—Veolia Transportation has named Al Robinson general manager for York BRT Services. He joined Veolia earlier this year as operations manager at the facility.

Robinson has more than 30 years experience in public transit management, specializing in operations. Before coming to Veolia, he was employed with the Toronto Transit Commission, starting as an operator and working his way up through the ranks to manage two subway lines.

Chris Williges
SAN FRANCISCO—Chris Williges has joined HDR as transportation economics and finance director.

Williges has more than 20 years of experience, most recently as a principal and vice president at System Metrics Group Inc., a California-based consulting firm he helped establish more than a decade ago.

Susan Black
ORLANDO, FL—Susan Black is joining the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) as its general manager, working with Chief Executive Officer John Lewis Jr.

Black, a licensed attorney since 1996, has more than 25 years of professional experience. Most recently, she was the owner and chief executive officer of 4elements, a professional advisory agency specializing in long-range strategic planning.

Dan C. Guerrero
FORT WORTH, TX—CTC Inc. announced the hiring of Dan C. Guerrero for a newly created position, vice president of signal systems.

Guerrero has spent more than 45 years in various communication and signal positions in the rail industry, most recently with Metrolink commuter rail in Los Angeles. Earlier, he worked for Southern Pacific Transportation Company, a railroad that was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad.

Greg Oslund
DENVER, CO—Greg Oslund, P.E., has joined CH2M HILL as a global sales manager for the firm’s transportation market,  working out of the Sacramento office. He comes to the firm with 26 years of project/program management, business operations, and business development experience.

Mark Ramsey, Raymond Sandiford, Ruben Manuelyan, Thomas Richardson, Heiner Sander, Arman Farajollahi, Sanja Zlatanic
KANSAS CITY, MO—HNTB has announced the following appointments.

Mark Ramsey is tunnel practice leader in the west and associate vice president, based in Santa Ana, CA. He has more than two decades of experience, serving as chairman of the 2010 North American Tunneling Conference.

Raymond Sandiford, P.E., joined the firm as associate vice president and national geotechnical and foundation practice leader within the tunneling and underground engineering group, based in New York City. Prior to joining HNTB, Sandiford was geotechnical and underground chief engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, directing major geotechnical and underground construction projects for more than three decades.

Ruben Manuelyan, P.E., joined HNTB as technical design manager for underground structures. He has more than 40 years of experience working with immersed tubes and cut-and-cover structures and is based in the New York City office.

Thomas Richardson, P.E., is tunnel construction manager, based in Arlington, VA. He joins HNTB with more than 30 years of experience with geotechnical, tunneling and underground engineering projects, transit systems, and water and sewage systems.

Heiner Sander joined the firm as vice president and tunnel practice leader in the east, based in the Arlington, VA, office. His more than 30 years of experience with tunneling and underground engineering projects includes the English Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.

Arman Farajollahi, P.E., based in New York City, is principal tunnel engineer and serves as senior technical specialist on the firm’s complex tunneling projects. He has more than 22 years experience in analysis and design of tunnels and underground excavations.

Also, HNTB announced that Sanja Zlatanic, P.E., chief tunneling engineer, has been named secretary general of the Associated Research Centers for Urban Underground Space, an international, nongovernmental organization dedicated to partnerships among experts who design, analyze and decide upon the use of cities’ underground spaces. Her term runs through 2018.

Tom Waldron
NEW YORK. NY—Tom Waldron has joined HDR as transit market sector director. He has worked in public transit for more than 35 years, most recently as Americas transit and rail director for AECOM.

Waldron was the first general manager of Virginia Railway Express commuter rail, Alexandria, VA, and worked for New  Jersey Transit Corporation, Conrail, and Futrex Inc. He has served on the APTA Board of Directors and is a current member of the Authorization Task Force, Early Career Program Applicant Selection Task Force, High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Committee, Public-Private Partnerships Committee, and Streetcar Subcommittee.

Juli Word

AUSTIN, TX—The Williamson County Commissioners have named Juli Word to the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors. She succeeds Norm Chafetz.

Word has more than 21 years of experience in the financial field, serving since 2013 as business services coordinator for the Austin district at the Texas DOT. She joined the agency in 2001 and worked in several accounting and auditing jobs.

Allie Freeman

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR—The Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) has named Allie Freeman chairman of the agency’s board of directors. He succeeds Nicole Heaps, who led the board since 2010.

Freeman, a counselor at Metropolitan High School, has been a CATA board member since 2007.

Elizabeth (Liz) Cousins
LOS ANGELES, CA—Nossaman LLP has hired Elizabeth (Liz) Cousins, a native of Perth, Australia, for its international public infrastructure law practice, dealing specifically with public-private partnerships.

Before joining Nossaman, she worked at Clayton Utz Lawyers, one of Australia’s most respected law firms, on some of that nation’s largest and most significant infrastructure projects.

Darril King

DES PLAINES, IL—Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has named Darril King vice president, new coach sales, for the Northeast Region. He was formerly vice president-Setra sales specialist and vice president, regional sales. King joined MCI when the company gained Setra North American distribution rights in 2012.

Earlier, King had a 37-year career at Detroit Diesel, beginning after high school and retiring in 2001. He joined Setra a year later.

Paul Alber, Ricky Liu, Kenji Suzuki

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY—di Domenico + Partners announced the appointments of Paul Alber, Ricky Liu, and Kenji Suzuki as associate principals.

Alber has more than 25 years of experience and has played a key role in managing the feasibility studies, design, and construction administration of many of the firm’s public sector projects.

Liu comes to the firm with more than 15 years of expertise in design, coordination, and management of projects including public transit and high-speed rail facilities and academic buildings.

Suzuki, with more than 17 years of experience, is responsible for developing feasibility studies and conceptual design approaches for transportation, education, and public facilities.

Osama Abdelfatah, Andrew Garton, Robert Coward, Vincent Lombardi
NEW YORK, NY—Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) announces the following appointments:

Osama Abdelfatah has been named a supervising scheduler in the firm’s New York City office. He has served as a project scheduler and project control engineer on major transit projects.

Andrew Garton has been named civil manager for Colorado and Wyoming, based in the Denver office. Previously a supervising engineer, Garton joined PB in 2013. His more than 24 years of engineering experience includes service with Colorado DOT and the city of Colorado Springs.

Robert Coward has been named a senior supervising engineer in the firm’s Lawrenceville, NJ, office. He has more than 40 years of public transit engineering and management experience, most recently as program manager for the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line on behalf of an international consulting engineering organization.

Vincent Lombardi has been named a supervisory resident engineer in PB’s New York City office. He joins the firm after serving as an assistant resident engineer for a national engineering organization and has more than 18 years of infrastructure construction experience.

Patrick Cannon, Robert Swanson, Douglas Lecato

LANSING, MI—The Capital Area Transportation Authority elected Patrick Cannon chair of its board of directors. He has represented Meridian Township on the board since 1991 and previously served as its vice chair and secretary-treasurer.

Cannon was appointed by President Barack Obama earlier this year to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board and by President Bill Clinton in 1995 to the U.S. Access Board. He also served as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 2004 and as her disability policy adviser in 2003.  He recently retired as director of the state’s Commission for the Blind.

Robert Swanson, elected vice chair, has represented Lansing on the board since 2008. Following more than 34 years in state and government service, he retired in 2007 as director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth and a member of Granholm’s cabinet. In 2010, Granholm appointed him to a term on the Michigan Civil Service Commission that expires in 2018.

Douglas Lecato, a Delhi Township representative since 2009, is the new board secretary-treasurer. He has worked for the American Cancer Society’s information technology department for more than 15 years.

Scott Drainville

LUBBOCK, TX—Scott Drainville has joined Citibus as director of maintenance.

Drainville has more than 25 years of fleet management experience, including 18 years as a mechanical foreman with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority in Providence.

Polly Trottenberg, Neal Zuckerman

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Neal Zuckerman of the MTA Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council have joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors. Both were nominated by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and confirmed by the New York State Senate.

They succeed former New York City Budget Director Mark Page and the council’s Jim Blair respectively.

Trottenberg has 22 years of government experience. Before joining New York City DOT earlier this year, she spent more than four years at DOT, most recently as under secretary of transportation for policy.

Zuckerman is a partner and managing director in the New York office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm and advisor on business strategy. He earlier worked for Time Warner and McKinsey & Company.

Jack Besch
PHOENIX, AZ—Jack Besch, assistant general manager for Veolia Transportation, was appointed to a one-year term as treasurer for the Phoenix Sister Cities’ Executive Board.

Phoenix Sister Cities is a non-profit organization dedicated to, among other things, establishing and improving international business ties between Phoenix and the 10 affiliated cities around the globe. Veolia Transportation is a corporate sponsor for Phoenix Sister Cities and supports and sponsors multiple events annually.

Besch joined Veolia Transportation as director of finance and was subsequently promoted to assistant general manager in 2007 after relocating to the Phoenix area.