Passenger Transport - July 10, 2015
(Print All Articles)

BREAKING NEWS

Make Your Voices Heard at White House Conference on Aging

 
APTA invites all members to take part (virtually) in the July 13 White House Conference on Aging, an event that will examine issues important to older Americans, including mobility options, which APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy is scheduled to attend.

Visit the conference website to join in the conversation in a variety of ways.

• Watch the live stream of the July 13 event or host a watch party with colleagues. Tweet questions to the experts using #WHCOA and they might be answered during the conference.

• Sign up for regular updates.

• Share your own story or that of someone you know, in writing or by posting an audio or video recording, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act and the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

• Finish the sentence “Getting older is getting better because…” and post it on Twitter using #WHCOA.

The older population continues to increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports that the number of Americans age 65 and older will double over the next 50 years, from 44.7 million in 2013 (the latest figure available) to 92 million. Among those age 85 and older, the number is expected to triple from six million to 18 million.

Many of these individuals are expected to stop driving and will need accessible and practical public transportation to remain independent, maintain their mobility and stay active in society.

Senate Commerce Committee to Mark Up Six-Year Transportation Bill

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will consider and vote July 15 on S. 1732, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015.

The legislation, sponsored by committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Surface Subcommittee Chairman Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS), authorizes the office of the DOT secretary from Fiscal Year 2016 through FY 2021. Following committee approval of the legislation, S. 1732 will be combined with S. 1647, the DRIVE Act, and component legislation from other Senate committees on the Senate floor to form legislation commonly referred to as the surface transportation authorization bill. 

The Senate Banking Committee and Senate Finance Committee, which have jurisdiction over the transit title and taxes that fund the highway trust fund, have not yet introduced legislation that would also be incorporated into the DRIVE Act.

FTA Seeks Nominations for TRACS

FTA recently published a notice in the Federal Register seeking nominations for up to eight representatives from the public transportation safety community for two-year terms on the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS).

Applications should be submitted by Aug. 31. To apply, click here.

TRACS was chartered in 2009 by the secretary of transportation to provide a forum for development, consideration and communication of information regarding public transit safety. Nominees should be knowledgeable of trends or issues related to rail transit and bus transit safety; they will be evaluated on factors including leadership and organizational skills, geographic representation, staff diversity and the overall balance of industry representation.

NEWS HEADLINES

New Services Introduced in Three States

Three public transportation agencies recently introduced new services: SouthWest Transit’s (SWT) SouthWest Prime, which began July 6 in Eden Prairie, MN; the “RTD Chile Line” in Taos, NM, which the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) in Española, NM, took over from the town on July 1; and the Current, Link Transit’s three fare-free routes operating with battery-electric trolleys and propane-powered cutaway buses in Wenatchee, WA, which opened July 3.

The New Mexico service, previously known as the “Taos Chile Line,” has been rebranded “RTD Chile Line” under an agreement between NCRTD and the town. Taos transfers all of the town’s public transit assets to the district, including vehicles, storage and maintenance facilities and 14 full- and part-time employees.

“We’re very excited to see this come to fruition,” said Taos Mayor and NCRTD Chair Daniel R. Barrone. “We project that the consolidation of public transit services between the town and the NCRTD will result in a retained cost savings for the town of approximately $187,000 annually.” In addition, ­earlier this year, NCRTD assumed operation of Taos Express—connecting Santa Fe, Española and Taos—from the town.

NCRTD Executive Director Anthony Mortillaro added, “We are confident that our experience, competency and commitment to service excellence will provide a great service on behalf of the town of Taos and its residents and visitors.”

Chile Line services comprise two routes in town and the Taos Ski Valley seasonal premium service. RTD Chile RIDE, formerly called Handi-Van, provides free paratransit service within the town to ADA pre-qualified residents.

SWT’s SouthWest Prime is a shared ride ­public transit service that enhances current service. Users can reserve a ride up to 48 hours in advance or within 10 minutes of departure time, using the agency’s website, app or phone. The agency is operating the service free for the first week and is launching it in Eden ­Prairie, with plans to extend it to Chanhassen and Chaska by late August.

SWT officials said the agency’s goal for Prime service is to increase connectivity throughout its service area.

Link’s three Current routes serve a local community college, the Wenatchee downtown district, the redeveloping waterfront along the Columbia River and the commercial district of East Wenatchee across the river. Six vehicles will operate at any given time, with four spares.

The 22-foot battery-electric vehicles operate with a lithium iron-phosphate battery system and charge using a fast charger that communicates via wireless technology with the bus as it pulls into the transit center at the end of each trip. Recharging takes just three to four minutes to keep the energy level at 80-90 percent; buses are plugged into a slow charger overnight to bring them up to a full charge. Link Transit used a 2010 federal TIGGER (Transit Improvements For Greenhouse Gas and Emission Reductions) grant for this project.

Chelan County, within the Link service area, has the second lowest-cost electricity in the nation due to two large hydroelectric dams located on the Columbia River, a few miles from Wenatchee. This allows the electric trolleys to operate for about $85 per month in energy costs, compared to about $1,500 for a conventional diesel vehicle.

 

Representatives of NCRTD and the town of Taos met outside the Taos Town Hall to mark the district assuming responsibility for the Taos Chile Line. From left: David Harris, transit bureau chief, New Mexico DOT; Daniel R. Barrone, Taos mayor and NCRTD chair; Miguel Chavez, NCRTD vice chair and Santa Fe County commissioner; and NCRTD Executive Director Anthony Mortillaro.

 

One of the vehicles in SWT’s new SouthWest Prime service.

 

Cutting the ribbon in front of one of Link Transit’s new battery-electric trolleys, from left: Washington state Rep. Cary Condotta; Link Transit Board Chair Jim Bailey; Tom Hanson, intercity bus and transportation specialist, Washington State DOT; Link Transit General Manager Richard DeRock; state Sen. Linda Evans-Parlette; FTA Region 10 Administrator Rick Krochalis; Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz; Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA); and Wenatchee Downtown Association Director Linda Haglund.

Schumer Visits Alstom


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), center, member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, which oversees public transit programs, visited Alstom Transport’s passenger rail manufacturing center in Hornell, NY. Hosting the visit is Jerome Wallut, center, president, Alstom Transport North America. During Schumer’s visit, Alstom officials highlighted the importance of private-sector jobs created through investment in passenger rail and emphasized the urgent need for Congress to pass a long-term, sustainable transportation funding bill.

Durbin Visits Freedman Seating

 
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), second from left, toured Freedman Seating Company’s Chicago facility and learned about the company’s workforce development initiatives on July 7. Joining him are company officers, from left, Dan Cohen, executive vice president, Dave Cohen, general manager, and Craig Freedman, president. Freedman Seating is a 120-year-old local manufacturer that produces seating for buses, trains and other vehicles, including an order of 300 new clean diesel buses for the Chicago Transit Authority.

More Vacationers Will 'Travel Like a Local' This Year

More than half of Americans who plan to vacation in a U.S. city this summer—almost 89 million people—say they will use public transportation for at least one activity, according to APTA’s annual “Travel Like a Local” Summer Travel Survey.

The total number of Americans planning to visit a major U.S. city this summer is 156 million, 24 percent more than last year. This increase continues an upward trend evident in recent years. Survey results show that these travelers find using public transit the most cost-effective and worry-free form of transportation.

“As the number of city visitors and tourists continue to increase, public transit systems not only serve as a reliable and affordable way to get around but provide a great way for visitors to experience the local flavor of a community and all that it has to offer,” said APTA President & CEO Michael ­Melaniphy. “In addition, our industry’s use of smart phone apps and other tools help visitors easily navigate a city that is new to them.”

New York City is the most popular urban travel destinations for 2015, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Las Vegas. APTA is offering insider guides for some of the top city destinations, available at www.­publictransportation.org, APTA’s website that provides an open forum for public transit users and advocates. These tips provide insight into a local public transit system’s unique characteristics, unspoken protocols and ­general advice to help vacationers “travel like a local” and avoid public transit faux pas.

The survey shows that 71 percent of respondents choose public transportation to eliminate the need for a parking space, while 67 percent say that public transit is more affordable than taxis or rental cars. Other reasons included cutting down on the cost of gas (51 percent) and minimizing the stress of driving in an unfamiliar city (55 percent).

The survey was conducted by Techno-Metrica Market Intelligence based on 1,005 telephone interviews.

Learn more at www.apta.com or www.­publictransportation.org.

Metra Dedicates Station

Officials of Metra commuter rail and Flossmoor, IL, held dedication ceremonies recently for the newly completed $4 million reconstruction of the platform and related facilities at the Flossmoor Station on Metra’s ­Electric District Line.

“I am pleased to be able to dedicate this rebuilt station, which will serve as a new and much more attractive gateway to our system and to the community of Flossmoor,” said Metra Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. “We hope our Flossmoor riders will enjoy using this station for many years to come.”

The project replaced the existing platform, the concrete foundation and the north and south head house walls. The work also included a new warming house, a renovated elevator, new LED platform lighting designed to match the village’s existing street lights, repair and replacement of ramps, stairs, drains and columns, new retaining walls and a new stairway.

The station serves more than 800 ­riders each weekday. Most funds for the renovation project came from Metra’s share of a state bond program, while Flossmoor provided funding for the decorative light fixtures on the platform.

California Agencies Receive State Grants to Combat Climate Change

Fourteen public transit projects in California, all administered by APTA member agencies, have received a total of $224 million in competitive grants from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

CalSTA awards the grants to projects that support high-quality public transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The program is part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, implemented by CalSTA in coordination with Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board. Agencies and projects receiving state funds include:

* San Francisco Municipal Transpor­tation Agency, $41 million for eight zero-emission light rail vehicles;

* Southern California Regional Rail Authority, $41 million for nine fuel-efficient locomotives for Metrolink;

* San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, $32 million for trolley capacity improvements and the purchase of at least eight vehicles;

* Los Angeles Metro, $28.5 million for upgrades to Blue Line light rail and to revitalize the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station;

* Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Lancaster, $24.4 million for BRT, including the purchase of at least 29 electric vehicles;

* Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, $11 million for three railcars;

* Monterey-Salinas Transit, $10 million to overhaul a 37-year-old operations and maintenance facility and increase bus service;

* San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, $6.8 million for BRT;

* Sacramento Regional Transit District, $6.4 million for refurbishment of seven light rail vehicles;

* Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Sacramento, $4.6 million for travel time reduction;

* San Diego Association of Governments, $4 million toward completion of a 21-mile BRT project;

* Orange County Transportation Authority, $2.3 million toward the purchase of five CNG buses for BRT;

* Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency, $1.7 million for several improvements; and

* San Joaquin Regional Rail Com­mission, $200,000 for Altamont Corridor Express wayside power.

Find details here.

FTA Announces NPRM on Testing Bus Safety

FTA is accepting comments through Aug. 24 on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would improve the process for testing the safety and reliability of new public transit buses funded with federal dollars.

The proposed rule, which appeared in the Federal Register on June 23, would establish minimum performance standards, a new pass-fail grading system for bus testing and a weighted scoring process that would better assist local transit agencies in purchasing an appropriate vehicle. It also would clarify and improve verification of two DOT regulations, Buy America and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise rules.

“When the FTA helps local transit agencies purchase new buses, it is imperative that those vehicles are a high-quality investment,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “This proposed rule would help ensure buses are long lasting and low maintenance, saving transit agencies valuable resources and reducing the frustrating delays that riders endure when buses have to be removed from service unexpectedly.”

The text of the NPRM is here.

APTA, COMTO Reaffirm Long-Standing Alliance; Meeting Follows DBEs Assembly at Rail


APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, left, hosts Mioshi Moses, center, the new COMTO president and chief executive officer, and COMTO Senior Advisor and Chief Strategist (retired Col.) Jim Paige, executive director, Pioneer Student Leadership Academy, Alexandria, VA, at a recent meeting in the APTA offices. The three officials discussed the organizations’ long-standing partnership and reviewed the strategies following an APTA-COMTO DBE Assembly at the recent APTA Rail Conference in Salt Lake City. Assembly presenters included David C. Stieren, technical manager, program development, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Jannet Walker, vice president and deputy eastern sector manager, Rail and Transit Systems Division, Parsons Corp.; Raquel Olivier, president, Olivier Inc.; Huelon A. Harrison, principal, Legacy Resource Group, and member, APTA Executive Committee; APTA Chair Phillip Washington, chief executive officer of Los Angeles Metro; and Robert H. Prince Jr., COMTO national chair and vice president, AECOM. C. Mikel Oglesby, deputy executive director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, moderated the assembly.
Photo by  Mitchell Wood

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

SEPTA Demonstrates PTC, Conducts Tour for Elected Officials

BY KRISTIN GEIGER AND DAVID GAINES
Media Relations
Southeastern Pennsylvania ­Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Philadelphia

With the deadline requiring intercity, commuter and freight rail systems to install PTC less than six months away, SEPTA is positioned to successfully implement PTC in compliance with the law, barring any unforeseen technical challenges or concerns that arise during testing.

On July 1, SEPTA invited Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Ryan Costello (R-PA), media and other officials to its Frazer Maintenance Facility for a demonstration and update on its PTC implementation progress.

Tour participants were able to see on-board and trackside communication equipment. SEPTA officials also showcased the technology in action as a train car traveled along a working test track.

“PTC is a complex undertaking that involves our control center, wayside signals, communications, and our vehicles are equipped with multiple devices including an ­on-board computer, which really takes this to the next level,” said SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel. “We have 290 vehicles to equip with PTC devices and we’re 43 percent complete.”
PTC is the next generation of signal safety equipment, designed to reduce the chance of human error and automatically prevent train-to-train collisions and over speed derailments.

“I want to thank the whole SEPTA team for this demo and tour,” Casey said. “There is nothing like seeing this up close. I think we all have a better understanding of what Positive Train Control means and we have a better sense of some of the challenges in making sure it’s implemented.”

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (PL 110-432), which mandated that all U.S. passenger and freight railroads install PTC by Dec. 31, 2015. SEPTA is one of the few systems across the nation poised to meet the deadline.

 

SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel, left, shows the placement of a scanner antenna on a Silverliner IV train car to Reps. Pat Meehan, center, and Chaka Fattah, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. and Rep. Ryan Costello. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey also participated in the event.

National Council Releases Draft Report

Increased funding for transportation infrastructure would help incorporate resilience into the planning, design and construction of transportation facilities and services, according to a new draft report discussed in early July by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC).

The NIAC was created by a White House executive order in October 2001 to advise the president and secretary of homeland security on the security and resilience of critical infrastructure supporting the U.S. economy.

The draft report cites an underinvestment in transportation infrastructure and the critical lifeblood it provides, stating that deficient and ­deteriorating public transit systems cost the U.S. economy $90 billion. It also reports that one in nine U.S. bridges is structurally deficient and road congestion costs American drivers $101 billion annually.

The report emphasizes resilience throughout the early stages of project development and design, and standards, asset management practices and the resiliency culture that will result.

NIAC Co-Chair Beverly Scott, chief executive officer of Beverly Scott Associates and former head of public transit systems in Rhode Island, Sacramento, Atlanta and Boston, chaired the transportation sector report. Read the draft report here.

SFRTA Builds First LEED-Certified Station in Pompano Beach

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail) has begun construction on its first LEED-certified station, adjacent to the agency’s new headquarters site in ­Pompano Beach, FL.

Tri-Rail officials say the new station, as a LEED-certified facility, could serve as the prototype for future stations. The original station is the last vestige of the minimalist ones built when Tri-Rail was placed into “temporary” service more than 25 years ago. Its narrow platforms, short canopies and limited seating are the bane of the 200,000 passengers who use it annually because it offers little protection from Florida’s sun and torrential summer rains.

The project is made possible by a $5.7 million TIGGER III grant from FTA, one of only 46 to be awarded nationwide.

“In the same way that you have electric-powered cars that recharge their batteries and the batteries regenerate electricity as you need it, that’s basically what will be going on here,” said SFRTA Executive Director Jack ­Stephens. “You’ll have solar power that will allow for the charging of vehicles and the backup battery system, as well as providing energy to the station as a whole.”

The solar panels will provide 110 percent of the power needed to operate the station. The solar system could prove invaluable in the event of a hurricane such as 2005’s Wilma, which took out power at all 18 Tri-Rail stations and shut the system down for 17 days.

The station will also feature native vegetation that requires less water, an overpass to enable passengers to move from platform to platform without crossing at grade level, energy-­efficient elevators to the pedestrian bridge, secure bicycle lockers, dedicated alternative fuel-source parking, carpool/vanpool parking, LED lighting fixtures and a shaded, reconfigured parking lot.

 

Tri-Rail board members and Pompano Beach and Broward County elected leaders break ground for the agency’s new operations center/headquarters and for the system’s first LEED-certified station.

SORTA, Transdev Partner for Streetcar Operation in Cincinnati

 
The Board of Trustees of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, operator of Cincinnati Metro, joined Transdev Services July 6 in a $38 million contract agreement regarding operations and maintenance for Cincinnati’s new streetcar service, scheduled to open in September 2016. Transdev will manage day-to-day operations, be accountable for safety and maintain vehicles and most streetcar infrastructure. Transdev expects to create approximately 26 new jobs. The agreement includes a startup period and a five-year base contract, along with five one-year optional extensions. The streetcar will feature 18 stops on a 3.6-mile loop linking major employment centers and riverfront destinations through the downtown business district and to the historic Over the Rhine neighborhood. It will also connect to Metro bus service. From left: SORTA Board Chair Jason Dunn and Vice Chair Ken Reed; Transdev’s John Claflin, who will serve as general manager of the streetcar; Mike Setzer and Dick Alexander; and Cincinnati Metro Executive Vice President Darryl Haley and Chief Executive Officer & General Manager Dwight Ferrell.

Spreading the Word About National Parks

 
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is among public transit agencies showcasing next year’s centennial anniversary of the National Park Service at bus shelters—including this one near the Dupont Circle Metrorail Station—and on public transit vehicle exteriors and interiors. The “Find Your Park” public service campaign, overseen by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America in partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, displays eye-catching juxtapositions of park service locations at unexpected sites.

MTI: Most Americans OK with Gas Tax Increase When Targeted

The majority of Americans will support increased taxes at the gas pump, but only if the revenue is invested in specific transportation improvements that people value, states a newly released research report from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), the sixth in an annual series.

According to the report, What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Public Transit, Highways, and Local Streets and Roads?, 71 percent of respondents would support a 10-cent-­per-gallon fuel tax increase to improve transportation infrastructure.

MTI has conducted similar surveys annually since 2010. Looking across the six years of survey data, support for all the taxes has risen modestly since 2010. From 2014-2015, support increased for nine tax options.

The full report provides in-depth analysis of results. Click here to see the report.

Other Recent Reports
Three recently released reports of interest to public transportation professionals consider issues of value capture, how organizations can use “big data” to improve their operations and the role of ridership alternatives such as ridesharing or bike commuting in a community.

Deloitte University Press, an imprint of Deloitte Development LLC, released findings from its “Smart Mobility” study regarding the impact of ridesharing, bike commuting, carsharing and on-demand ride services on mobility in U.S. cities.

By analyzing commuter behavior data at the census-tract level, researchers propose that real-time ridesharing could annually save  $30.3 billion, reduce traffic accidents by almost 23,000 and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 9.1 million metric tons.

For details, click here.

The Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago released Transit Value Capture Coordination: Case Studies, Best Practices and Recommendations, which examines how U.S. cities with the largest and oldest public transportation systems can deal with a backlog of underfunded capital projects by using value capture methods: securing partial funding through additional taxes or grants from commercial property developers.

The report is available here.

Big Data and Transport: Understanding and assessing options, released by the European-based International Transport Forum (ITF), considers the impact of massive, often real-time data sets that can generate insights and improvements for transportation services and activity.

Find the report here.

New Vehicles, Branding at Gold Coast

 
The Gold Coast Transit District (GCTD), Oxnard, CA, recently unveiled its new fixed route and paratransit vehicles and their new branding. The exteriors of the new vehicles, 40-foot fixed route buses from Gillig and paratransit vehicles from Mobility Ventures LLC, display a color scheme of blue, green and gold, along with the system’s new logo and the slogan “Go Green—Go Gold Coast Transit.” GCTD General Manager Steven P. Brown called the branding effort “a community-driven process, beginning with all of the community outreach to gather input, to working with local businesses for the new design scheme and lastly, purchasing vehicles made here in the USA.” Cutting the ribbon are, from left, Norm Reynolds, Gillig regional sales manager; Port Hueneme Mayor Pro Tem Doug Breeze; Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza; Oxnard Councilmember Carmen Ramirez; Brown; GCTD Board Chair and Ojai Mayor Pro Tem Paul Blatz; back, Ventura Councilmember Carl Morehouse; and far right, Robert Lurie, GCTD director of fleet and facilities.

MBTA Announces $83.7 Million Winter Resiliency Plan

Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Gov. Charlie Baker have proposed an $83.7 million Winter Resiliency Plan, which includes purchasing additional snow removal equipment, upgrading infrastructure and bolstering operations during harsh weather—all recommendations from an APTA peer review conducted in April regarding system disruptions during the past winter.

Funding for the plan includes $62 million in federal formula funds for capital investments, $10 million in non-federal MBTA capital funds and $11.7 million in operating funds. The Massachusetts DOT board will review the proposal later this month.

“We learned last winter that, in addition to structural reforms, the MBTA needs meaningful improvements to its snow resiliency efforts, including upgrades to infrastructure, operations and equipment,” said interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “As we continue to work with the administration and our peer agencies to improve service reliability, we look forward to implementing these plans that are essential to reducing the amount and length of service disruptions during severe weather.”

For details about APTA’s peer review service, contact Bill Grizard.

Taking Capital Metro to the Fireworks


The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, TX, provided a front row seat for crowds attending the annual July 4 celebration featuring fireworks and an outdoor concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

 

 

Welcome New APTA Members

Click here to see the list of APTA's newest members.

Burke Dies; San Diego MTS Police Chief

Bill Burke, 68, chief of police for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), died June 23.

Burke joined MTS in 2001, was promoted to director of security in 2004 and became its first chief of police in 2011. Before coming to San Diego, he was chief of police for the Cook County ­Sheriff’s Department in Chicago.

MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski said Burke “brought many innovations to MTS and helped our system become one of the safest in the nation. More than that, Bill was a gentleman who earned respect from every one of his colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.”

APTA NEWS

Youth Summit Sparks the Next Generation of Public Transit Workers

BY JULIA DAVIS, APTA Intern

Fifty high school juniors and seniors from around the country converged in Washington, DC, for a packed week of discussions, tours and presentations at this year’s APTA Youth Summit, June 28-July 2.

Speakers from around the industry helped the students explore possible career options related to public transit. The summit is conducted by APTA’s Workforce Development and Educational Services Department and is a component of the association’s initiative to strengthen the growing interest of young people in public transit careers.

Jonathan Hackett of Cincinnati participated in the summit so he could better understand his own community. “I wanted to learn more and transit seems to be a hot button issue in my city, so I wanted to be educated so I could have my own opinion,” he said.

The students met with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority senior staff and toured the system, learned about public transit issues from Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) at a visit to Capitol Hill, met with FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan during a visit to U.S. DOT, spent a morning at Jacobs, an engineering firm, participating in forums and worked on public transit-related projects of their own centered around their unique interests. The Transportation Learning Center also participated in the summit.

Tea Williams of Tulsa said she was intrigued by public relations and was surprised at how much her interests could interconnect with a career in public transit. “We use transit all the time and it’s bigger than people think,” she said. “It’s an everyday essential and people should appreciate it more than they do now.”

Jeffrey Wharton, first vice chair of APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors and president, IMPulse NC LLC, was a session leader during the summit. “These young adults were provided a comprehensive overview of career opportunities in both the private and public sectors of the transit industry and shared their ideas and thoughts for the future,” he said, adding, “The Youth Summit provides a lasting impression on what public transportation is all about and how to make it a full and rewarding career.”

The summit concluded with a panel of experts discussing the future of public transit careers, followed by student presentations on ideas to effectively change the industry. Panelist Ricardo Boulware, associate director of University of Maryland Baltimore County Transit, said he was inspired by the work he saw from students who might be future leaders in the industry.

 

Participants in this year’s APTA Youth Summit visit the U.S. Capitol.

Photo by Steve Barrett Photography 

 

Summer Interns at APTA


APTA Interns Sarah Dickens, Akila Copeland and Julia Davis are spending eight weeks working for the association on several projects, including Dump the Pump and the Youth Summit. Dickens, a graduate of Georgia College and State University, is working in APTA’s Communications and Marketing Department. Both she and Davis, a student at the University of Iowa, are doing their internships through the Washington Center. Copeland, a student at Macalester College in St. Paul, is completing her internship through the COMTO CITY Intern Program. Davis and Copeland are working in the association’s Workforce Development and Educational Services Department.

Photo by Mitchell Wood

COMMENTARY

DOT Blog on Investing in Transportation, Committing to Healthcare

Two recent postings on DOT’s “Fast Lane” blog focus on strengthening federal investment in transportation and on the FTA’s commitment to connecting transportation and wellness. Read excerpts below.

U.S. Mayors Call on Congress to Act
BY RALPH BECKER, BILL DE BLASIO, MICK CORNETT, RAHM EMANUEL, STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE and GREG STANTON

U.S. metropolitan areas generate 90 percent of the nation’s GDP, house nearly 85 percent of the population and move 70 percent of freight value traded across the country. And our cities are only expected to grow even more, absorbing an estimated 66 million more people in the next 30 years.

That projected population growth means even more pressure on our aging transportation infrastructure. And that challenge keeps more than a few of America’s mayors awake at night.

As Secretary Foxx has said before, mayors work at the ground level, where the rubber literally meets the road.

When the residents of our cities can’t get where they need to go without crossing a structurally deficient bridge, that’s a problem mayors need to solve. When businesses can’t get access to the deliveries, markets, customers or employees they need to grow, that’s a problem mayors need to solve.

But when city planners and departments of transportation work to solve those problems and can’t see beyond the next two-month extension of federal transportation funding, that’s a problem Congress needs to solve. And when federal funding has remained essentially stagnant since 2009, struggling to keep up with minimal maintenance requirements, that is a problem Congress needs to solve.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is encouraged to know that, earlier this year, Sec. Foxx sent Congress a solution to those challenges, the GROW AMERICA Act. And now, with yet another short-term extension to America’s transportation program set to expire in just a few weeks, we urge Congress to move forward on a long-term bill with the increased investment our cities need.

GROW AMERICA would increase transit funding by 76 percent. It provides more funding to high-performing metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and puts in place a transparent and clear permitting process to speed up project delivery. It establishes an $18 ­billion national freight rail program, doubles the TIGER grant program, makes private activity bonds (PABs) more available and strengthens the TIFIA loan program.

These are the tools mayors need to build and maintain safe, interconnected transportation networks that support economic growth and allow people the mobility that is so important to making a better life.

GROW even offers a way to fund these long overdue investments, through common sense business tax reform. And it offers a six-year horizon that allows us to plan ahead with certainty, so we can prepare for the future with innovative projects that help us do more than just tread water.

But none of GROW’s benefits matter if Congress doesn’t act. And after 34 previous patches, the clock is really ticking this time.

The authors are U.S. mayors: Becker (D), Salt Lake City; de Blasio (D), New York City; Cornett (R), Oklahoma City; Emanuel (D), Chicago; Rawlings-Blake (D), Baltimore; Stanton (D), Phoenix.


Creative Ways to Make that Healthcare Appointment
BY THERESE MCMILLAN

In Buffalo, NY, a community health clinic is testing the idea of placing a personal “travel navigator” in the obstetrician’s office to help pregnant women develop individualized travel plans to ensure they don’t miss pre-natal appointments.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, healthcare providers plan to experiment with a web-based app that searches for the quickest available public transportation when they schedule patient appointments, hoping to reduce no-shows. ...

The GO Buffalo Mom, Worcester’s Smart Transit for Health Care, and Mobility Management to Reduce Re-Hospitalizations are three of 16 recipients of the Healthcare Access Design Challenge grants announced earlier this month as part of FTA’s Rides to Wellness initiative. The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), an FTA-funded technical assistance center, awarded close to $400,000 in grants to devise solutions to better connect residents with healthcare services. Grant funding comes from DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity initiative.

Rides to Wellness is a multi-agency strategy to help people access non-­emergency healthcare services. In March, FTA
joined with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture to address a longstanding—but often overlooked—barrier to improving American healthcare: lack of transportation.

The Affordable Care Act opened up new opportunities for healthcare throughout the U.S. However, affording healthcare is not the only challenge facing Americans. Actually getting to the doctor’s office or health clinic can pose an insurmountable obstacle for those without cars, particularly for the elderly and those in rural areas with limited public transportation.

[A] recent report from Eldercare Locator shows that 19 percent of all calls seeking care resources were transportation-related. As Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging—which runs the Eldercare ­Locator service—told USA Today, “You can have the best services in the world in the ­community, but if people can’t get to them, they have no value.”

NCMM’s grant program tests community-based ideas, from providing transportation to post-hospitalization appointments to promoting preventative care. Grantees were required to conduct customer-focused research to ground their projects in real-life situations. In Fremont, OH, the WSOS Community Action Commission, a nonprofit community action agency, interviewed ­dialysis patients while they rode the bus. ...

I’m very excited about the potential of these grants and look forward to ­sharing more about our progress in advancing Rides to Wellness.

McMillan is FTA acting administrator.

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

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who's Doing What in the Industry

Keolis President, CEO Announces Retirement

ROCKVILLE, MD—Steve Townsend, president and chief executive officer of Keolis America since 2007, has announced his plans to retire.

Townsend’s 43-year career spans multiple industries including oil and gas, environmental services, facilities management and transportation. He was an 18-year employee of Veolia Environment/Transportation in posts including executive vice president-operations and chief operating officer-transit division.

Yasminka Nemet, Bob Pagorek, John Michel, Ray Lowrey, Jacqueline (Jackie) Nguyen, Megan Smale

DALLAS--MV Transportation announced the following appointments:

Yasminka Nemet has been named the firm’s chief marketing and customer experience officer. She joins MV from Pearson, a worldwide learning company, where she was senior vice president, marketing, of the Higher Education Division.

Bob Pagorek is MV’s new executive vice president and chief financial officer. He has spent a decade in senior finance roles, serving most recently as vice president of operations finance at Navistar International Corporation.

Former Air Force Brig. Gen. John Michel joined the company as its chief strategy and innovation officer and president of MV International. His 26 years with the Air Force include ­leading NATO’s 14-nation effort in Afghanistan to build the $6.7 billion Afghan Air Force.

Ray Lowrey has been named chief technology officer. He previously served as chief information officer of McGraw-Hill Education and chief technology officer for both Archipelago Learning and Cengage Learning.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Nguyen, the new vice president and chief compliance officer, comes to MV after being general counsel for Regus Management Group and associate general counsel for ­STMicroelectronics Inc.

Megan Smale joined MV as vice president and associate general counsel for labor, employment and litigation. She has worked in private law firms and in-house legal departments and, most recently, was associate general counsel with Sabre.

Marcus Peoples
SAN ANTONIO—The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County recently honored Marcus ­Peoples, vice president of human resources, VIA Metropolitan Transit, with its Corporate-Individual Volunteer of the Year Award. Peoples serves as the executive management representative for VIA’s United Way charitable campaign; under his leadership, VIA had both the highest level of contributions and the largest number of donors in its history.






Sandy Draggoo
LANSING, MI—Sandy Draggoo, chief executive officer/executive director of the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), recently received the Leadership in Individual and Social Responsibility Award from Olivet College. Draggoo began her career at CATA in 1974 as executive secretary and has served in the top post since 1985. APTA honored her as its Outstanding Public Transit System General Manager in 2003.






Colin Lawrence
ISELIN, NJ—Colin Lawrence, Hatch Mott MacDonald’s practice leader for tunnels, has been elected to The Moles, a fraternal organization of the heavy construction industry founded in 1936. Lawrence is a senior vice president of the company, working on projects including the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access.

Philip Stephens
CHICAGO—Philip Stephens has been appointed a senior principal ­technical specialist in the ­Chicago office of ­Parsons Brinckerhoff, serving as quality task lead for Illinois DOT’s ­Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail program. Stephens has more than 20 years of experience in the application of quality standards for major transportation infrastructure projects, most recently with a Chicago construction engineering firm.