Passenger Transport - July 29, 2016
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NEWS HEADLINES

Foxx Announces Plan to Streamline DOT's Financing, Grantmaking; Calls Build America Bureau 'One-Stop Shop'

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx recently announced that DOT has established the Build America Bureau, which will combine several public transportation infrastructure-related programs, streamline credit and grant opportunities, provide technical assistance and encourage best practices in planning, financing, delivery and monitoring.

The bureau combines the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF), the private activity bond (PAB), the Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) and the new $800 million Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program.

“The Build America Bureau will be a one-stop shop to help develop projects and provide financing in a single streamlined, effective and comprehensive manner,” Foxx said. “It will allow DOT to be responsive to America’s changing transportation needs and opportunities so we can deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional and national population centers.”

How It Will Work
The bureau will use resources from all the DOT modes to create one entity in charge of DOT credit, large scale and intermodal project development and to provide a single point of contact for working with DOT on infrastructure finance.

The bureau outreach and development team, continuing the work of the BATIC, will collaborate with project sponsors to help combine DOT credit, funding and project delivery approaches (such as P3s) and then offer technical assistance.

DOT’s credit team will be able to underwrite loans from multiple sources so the customers no longer get a TIFIA or RRIF loan, but a single credit package from DOT to help them build the infrastructure they need. In addition, officials said, the bureau will manage the application and evaluation process for the FASTLANE program, which funds high-impact projects.

BATIC, which was announced in 2014, coordinates DOT support for states, municipalities and project sponsors looking for federal transportation expertise in applying for federal transportation credit programs and exploring ways to access private capital in P3s. Since BATIC was formed, DOT officials said the department has closed more than $10 billion in financing to support $26 billion in projects.

For more on the center’s role in P3s, see BATIC Executive Director Andrew Curtis Right’s “Commentary” in the Jan. 11 Passenger Transport.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx recently announced that DOT has established the Build America Bureau, which will combine several public transportation infrastructure-related programs, streamline credit and grant opportunities, provide technical assistance and encourage best practices in planning, financing, delivery and monitoring.

 

RTD Celebrates New B Line Commuter Rail

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its partners commemorated the grand opening of B Line commuter rail with ribbon-cutting ceremonies July 25—the agency’s third opening this year with two more in the works.

More than a hundred people gathered to watch local dignitaries at the new Westminster Station cut the ribbon to officially open the six-mile line between Westminster and Denver Union Station, followed by games, food and live music. RTD provided free rides on the line for the rest of the day, with additional festivities scheduled for July 30.

“RTD continues our year of a transportation ­renaissance with the opening of the B Line,” said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Dave Genova. “With the opening of five new projects this year, the Denver metro area will be connected through transit like never before. And now the citizens of the Westminster area will be able to travel to and from Denver to Westminster in no time flat.”

The B Line, part of RTD’s FasTracks program, continues the agency’s record of opening projects on-time and on-budget. The opening follows similar unveilings for the Flatiron Flyer BRT and the University of Colorado A Line.

“The B Line to Westminster not only provides transportation for riders from Westminster to Denver, but also offers riders multimodal connections at Union Station to get them anywhere they want to go in the region,” said RTD Board Chair Tom Tobiassen.

The B Line is part of RTD’s $2.2 billion Eagle P3 project, which also includes two other rail lines, procurement of 54 commuter rail cars and a commuter rail maintenance facility. It is the first segment of rail construction that ultimately will connect Denver Union Station to Longmont.

RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova and Board Chair Tom Tobiassen joined board members and officials from across the region at the opening of B Line service.

 

SEPTA Transports Thousands of DNC Attendees; In Cleveland, RTA 'Promised a Lot, and We Delivered a Lot'

As the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provided service to thousands of Democratic National Convention delegates and other guests during the July 25-28 event in Philadelphia, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was taking stock of its efforts during the Republican National Convention the previous week.

Bus riders during the Democratic convention could find information on temporary route detours on the SEPTA website, with last-minute route updates posted on the agency’s Twitter feed.

During the convention, SEPTA continued to deal with a shortage of regional rail seats while its 120 Silverliner V railcars underwent repairs for a structural defect. The Maryland Transit Administration leased five more of its MARC commuter rail cars to SEPTA in addition to five other cars it leased earlier, operating along with two locomotives and five passenger cars leased by Amtrak and one locomotive and eight passenger cars from New Jersey Transit Corporation.

On July 26, APTA and partners including the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, African American Mayors Association, National Organization of Black County Officials, Democratic Municipal Officials and National Democratic County Officials hosted an event, “Progress and Prosperity: A Local Officials Reception,” with support from SEPTA. The reception brought together the public officials attending the convention from the co-hosting organizations with other convention delegates.

As Passenger Transport went to press, SEPTA was offering free test rides July 28 on its Proterra Catalyst battery-electric bus in partnership with Proterra and PECO Energy Company, starting at the agency’s headquarters building.

In Cleveland, RTA received high praise from all sides for providing service without incident during a week of prime-time TV coverage, delegates from every state and 50,000 visitors, including 15,000 reporters from around the world—not to mention increased national and international tension and groups of protesters.

APTA Chair and RTA Board Member Valarie J. McCall, the city’s chief of governmental affairs, noted that the RNC selected Cleveland for the convention because of its “great transportation system” and added that “GCRTA promised a lot and we delivered a lot. It was a great week.”

RTA Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Joe Calabrese said the agency “planned for the worst and hoped for the best. We got the best—even the weather cooperated.” He added that more than 100 agency employees volunteered during the convention.

APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White, left, and APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall join SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel at the reception co-hosted by APTA during the DNC.

 

FTA Final Rule on TAM Details Requirements

FTA issued a final rule July 26 on transit asset management (TAM) that requires its grantees to develop management plans for their public transportation assets (including vehicles, facilities, equipment and other infrastructure), inventory and assess the conditions of their assets, develop priorities for investment based on the inventory and establish performance targets.

The TAM final rule also asks public transit agencies to develop a strategic approach to improving capital assets. The rule, established under MAP-21, is intended to close the gap on aging and poorly maintained transit assets.

The Federal Register text of the rule is available here.

FTA also released two proposed TAM guidebooks that detail methods for transit agencies to measure and report conditions of guideways and facilities to the National Transit Database. The Draft Facility Condition Assessment Guidebook and the Draft Guideway Performance Assessment Guidebook were released for a 60-day public comment period beginning July 26. The FTA website also includes information on a multi-part webinar series to provide technical assistance on the rule.

For more information about transit asset management, contact Rich Weaver.


DOT Awards $500 Million in TIGER Grants to 40 Recipients

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on July 29 that 40 recipients will receive nearly $500 million in the eighth round of the highly competitive TIGER grant program.

The grants will support $1.74 billion in overall transportation investments from public transit agencies, the private sector, state and local governments and MPOs, DOT officials said.

“For the eighth year running, TIGER will inject critical infrastructure dollars into communities across the country,” Foxx said. “This unique program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to difficult and sometimes dangerous transportation problems. A great TIGER program doesn’t just improve transportation; it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community.”

Eleven APTA members will receive funding directly, ranging from $8 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments for its Redlands passenger rail initiative (total project cost of $262.3 million) to $25 million to Chicago Transit Authority for its Garfield Gateway Station project (total project cost of $50.4 million). Other organizations receiving funding include city, county and tribal governments, state DOTs and port authorities.

Since 2009, the program has provided $5.1 billion to 421 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and tribal communities.

This year, DOT received 585 eligible applications that collectively requested more than $9.3 billion.

To see the complete list, click here.

DOT Offers PTC Implementation Grants

On July 29, DOT announced that commuter rail agencies can apply through Sept. 28 for $199 million in competitive grant funding for PTC implementation, to be selected by FRA and awarded and administered by FTA.

The funding, is open to any agency eligible to receive grants from FTA, such as commuter railroads, operators and state and local governments.

FRA will help FTA monitor the PTC implementation and progress of the grantees. In addition, applicants should contact FRA with PTC technical questions.

Applications must be submitted via Grants.gov.

Find eligibility details and other information from the Federal Register notice here.

20 Agencies Receive $55 Million in FTA 'Low-No' Grants

FTA has selected 20 public transit providers in 13 states to receive $55 million in Fiscal Year 2016 funding for new technology buses—battery-electric or fuel cell powered—through the Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Competitive Grant Program. Seventeen of the grant recipients are APTA members.

“Our Low-No grant projects represent the latest and greatest bus services running on state-of-the-art technology, resulting in cleaner air and lower costs in the long run,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “By investing in new technology bus fleets, we help transition an industry that many depend on to a model of green, efficient service.”

Among the recipients of the largest grants are Clemson (SC) Area Transit, Port Arthur (TX) Transit and Park City (UT) Transit, $3.9 million each; Santa Cruz (CA) Metropolitan Transit District and Chelan-Douglas Public Transportation Benefit Area (Link), Wenatchee, WA, $3.8 million each; Chicago Transit Authority, $3.6 million; Lane Transit District, Eugene, OR, $3.5 million; and Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, $3.4 million. The complete list appears here.

The grants allow agencies to acquire buses and supporting facilities and infrastructure such as maintenance and recharging equipment, including “en route” charging that extends battery life. Many agencies also use the grants to train their workforces in operating and maintaining a new generation of buses.

Metrolink Unveils First Low-Emission Locomotive

Metrolink commuter rail unveiled its first Tier 4 locomotive July 18 at Los Angeles Union Station, the beginning of a long-term plan to purchase up to 40 of the vehicles for approximately $280 million.

Metrolink was the first U.S. commuter rail agency to purchase Tier 4 locomotives, in 2013. The state-of-the-art EMD F125 locomotives are expected to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 85 percent while providing up to 57 percent more horsepower than existing locomotives.

“The Tier 4 locomotive is quite a piece of equipment,” said Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy. “We will get more horsepower, less fuel consumption and lower emissions. We could not have done this without the partnership and collaboration from our federal, state, regional and local partners.”

In addition, the locomotives are equipped with updated rail safety technologies, including PTC and crash energy management.

Shawn Nelson, chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors and an Orange County supervisor, thanked legislators, business and environmental stakeholders and the community for their support. “Upgrading our fleet with Tier 4 locomotives has taken a great deal of support and collaboration,” he said. “We could not have done this alone and we look forward to full implementation of the entire 40-locomotive fleet.”

Funding for the vehicles came from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which approved $74.85 million over the past three years from the Carl Moyer Program and an additional $36 million to be considered in future requests, and from the state, which provided $41.2 million from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program and $2.7 million from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Metrolink will cover the balance through a combination of member agency contributions and other subsidies.

Metrolink expects to introduce the first of the low-emission locomotives to service late this year, with the remainder arriving in 2017.

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, which operates Metrolink, comprises five county agencies that were tasked with improving mobility throughout Southern California: transportation agencies: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties and San Bernardino Associated Governments. In its 20 years of service, Metrolink has grown from three service lines and 11 stations to seven lines, 59 stations and 536 route miles.

Metrolink CEO Art Leahy speaks at an event at Los Angeles Union Station to introduce the commuter rail system's first Tier 4 locomotive, designed and manufactured by Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company.

 

New York Subway to Order 1,025 Railcars; Part of $27 Billion MTA Capital Program

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently unveiled the design features of 1,025 new and reimagined subway cars for MTA New York City Transit, part of a $27 billion, five-year New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital program to renew the subway network.

“New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st-century economy,” Cuomo said at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. “The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand. We are going to do more than renovate—we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays.”

The subway car order, which MTA has just opened for proposals, could include up to 750 vehicles with an open car end design, which replaces the door between cars with an ­accordion-like connector allowing for improved ­passenger flow and increased capacity. Other design elements will include wider doors so passengers can enter and exit more promptly, LED headlights and amenities such as Wi-Fi, USB chargers, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras.

The initiative also establishes improved design standards for subway stations and calls for renovations at 31 stations across the city’s five boroughs. Enhanced lighting, improved signage and amenities such as countdown clocks and Wi-Fi are part of the plan, as is consideration of historical elements in the existing facilities.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the design features of 1,025 new and reimagined subway cars during an event at the New York Transit Museum.

Photo by Philip Kamrass/Office of the Governor

 

First Transit Enters North American Rail Market with DCTA Agreement

First Transit has announced its first rail contract in North America: a nine-year contract with the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), Lewisville, TX, with an additional five-year option, to provide operations and maintenance services for A-train commuter rail effective Oct. 1.

The scope of work includes operations, dispatch and maintenance for the 21-mile regional rail system connecting Denton and Dallas counties. DCTA has five A-train stations, two in Denton and three in Lewisville, and carries more than half a million passengers per year. The A-train also connects with Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail.

First Transit is a division of FirstGroup, a rail operator in the United Kingdom.

“We’re excited to extend our partnership with First Transit to our A-train rail operations and maintenance,” said DCTA President Jim Cline. “First Transit’s innovative solutions in rail infrastructure maintenance will enable us to provide enhanced rail services for the many communities we serve.”

First Transit President Brad Thomas said, “We have a great deal of rail expertise in the U.K. and look forward to bringing it to the citizens of Denton County. With our extensive rail operations, including passenger high-speed and commuter, and our strong relationship with DCTA, this is a natural fit.”


DCTA’s A-train commuter rail service has entered into a contract with First Transit, a division of a rail operator in the U.K., for the company’s first contract in North America.

Photo courtesy of DCTA

 

Rep. Matsui Tours New Siemens Rail Service HQ

Siemens recently hosted Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) for a tour of its new 60,000-square-foot plant in Sacramento dedicated to its rail service, maintenance and repair operations; the facility also serves as Siemens Mobility Customer Services U.S. headquarters and West Coast logistics hub.

With more than 60 employees, ­Siemens has nearly doubled its workforce at the site since its opening in February and plans to continue hiring to support its service business.

“This new facility is integral to Sacramento’s continued growth as a manufacturing hub in our region,” Matsui said. “The work being done here not only contributes to job growth in Sacramento, it also is an investment in our clean energy future. I look forward to continued collaboration with Siemens as we work together to advance a long-term, sustainable vision for our region’s transportation infrastructure and economy.”

Siemens Customer Services Vice President Chris Maynard said, “Our new plant is not only the U.S. headquarters for our ­service business, it has also enabled us to continue to grow highly-skilled employment oppor­tunities for the Sacramento region.”

One of the first projects at the new facility is a $21 million contract to modernize 32 SD160 light rail vehicles for Calgary Transit in Alberta, Canada, and a partnership with the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) to complete the refurbishment of 21 light rail vehicles for the RT system. The refurbishments will add approximately 15 years of useful life to the vehicles.

The new rail service facility will complement Siemens’ existing rail manufacturing operations located in South Sacramento, which has been in operation for almost 30 years. It currently employs nearly 1,000 people and includes a recent 125,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate growing production needs.

Rep. Doris Matsui and Siemens Vice President Chris Maynard, right, toured the new 60,000-square-foot Siemens facility, currently modernizing light rail vehicles for Calgary Transit and Sacramento RT.

 

CHSRA Enters MOU with State

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and California Energy Commission have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow the agencies to work together on implementing green technology and best practices during the design and construction of the high-speed rail system.

“California has always been a leader when it comes to using renewable energy, reaching our climate goals and fighting global warming,” said CHSRA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Morales. “This MOU with the energy commission is another step in the right direction that will help us build a first class high-speed rail system in our state.”

Commission Chairman Robert B. Weisenmiller noted that transportation is the single largest source of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, saying, “The plan to power the [high-speed rail] system with 100 percent renewable energy, have zero net energy stations and use alternative fuels in support vehicles shows, once again, the state’s commitment to a more sustainable future.”

To read the MOU, click here.

IN DEPTH

Come Fly With(out) Me; Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Public Transportation

BY ALLISON I. FULTZ and STEVEN L. OSIT
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP


Aviation meets the public transportation ­industry, thanks to advances in technology that make unmanned aircraft ­systems (UAS)—or, if you prefer, drones—increasingly accessible tools for providers.

On June 28, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule(1) governing the use of drones under 55 pounds for a wide variety of purposes. The rule establishes various parameters to set the limits of UAS use, but does not require users to seek prior approval from the FAA before conducting UAS operations. Rather, the new rule significantly streamlines the process needed to begin flying UAS, allowing an FAA-certified “remote pilot” to operate any UAS that has been registered with the FAA without further approval in most cases.

This article will describe the types of tasks public transit properties can accomplish with drones, the parameters for operations allowable under the new FAA rule and the means for instituting drone operations.

What They Are, What They Do
UAS consist of a remotely operated aerial vehicle, a ground control system and the electronic communications link that connects them. The vehicle may have operating rotors (typically in sets of four, six or eight) or fixed wings, and may either be self-launching or require a launch device such as a catapult.

Ground control systems range from those as portable as a user’s smartphone to robust computer systems with multiple monitors and control inputs. Most commercial and recreational uses of drones also involve video or still image capture through cameras mounted on the vehicle, while some employ high-tech sensors capable of detecting the temperature or composition of objects or materials and even tracking otherwise imperceptible changes over time.

Industries as varied as railroads, property management, real estate sales, surveying, natural resource management, agriculture and utilities are rapidly adopting UAS as essential tools. A properly-equipped drone allows, for example, photographic and locational data to be collected and stored to create valuable and accurate inventories of property and facilities, including the production of detailed three-dimensional models.

Role in Public Transit
Specifically in the public transportation industry, UAS enable providers to conduct detailed visual inspections or emergency response without placing personnel at risk. Agencies of all modes already use drones for such tasks as asset and track inspections, inventory and logistics, emergency response and accident and incident investigations.

The physical dimensions of most UAS meeting the requirements of Part 107 of the aforementioned newly issued FAA regulation typically do not exceed a width and depth of 48 inches even with a payload such as a camera.

Part 107 allows UAS to operate at a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level or higher if within 400 feet of a structure. When used for facility or site inspections, UAS can get very close to structures and retrieve high-resolution images, thereby reducing the time and risk involved for a person to conduct those inspections on foot, on ropes or in a cherry-picker or crane.

For inspections along rail corridors, UAS allow both track-level and overhead inspections to occur without interruption to rail traffic. Rather than having to suspend rail operations in a corridor to allow a high-rail vehicle or crane the right-of-way, the UAS can simply move out of the way when a train passes through and resume activities as soon as it goes by.

Public transportation providers can use UAS to inventory their fleets and other assets through the use of visual markers or radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that the UAS scans as it flies through a warehouse or yard. As with inspections, UAS can cover territory quickly and without interruption to activities on the ground, allowing personnel to use the information retrieved to identify those items requiring specific attention.

Drones may also reduce risk, save time and increase the amount and quality of information retrieved in connection with emergency response. They can be sent to survey areas that are ­inaccessible to or too dangerous for human responders or inspectors to enter and can provide both close-up and wide-range views of an accident site. Such reconnaissance can help responders on the ground quickly locate persons needing assistance.

FAA Final Rule: What Users Need to Know
The final rule, 14 C.F.R. Part 107, does away with most of FAA’s previously required application and permitting requirements by establishing objective criteria for permissible operations. As long as the operator acquires the appropriate certification for remote piloting and the UAS being used is registered on the FAA’s UAS database, public and private entities can operate as long as they observe the limitations defined in Part 107.

For circumstances in which an operator may need to seek a waiver of the Part 107 criteria, FAA has established a process to demonstrate that the grant of the waiver will not jeopardize the safety of the proposed operations,

When it becomes effective on Aug. 27, the final rule will authorize routine civil (i.e., non-military) use of UAS under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS), which includes the airspace, navigation facilities and airports of the U.S., along with associated information, services, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, personnel and equipment. The NAS includes components shared with the military and is one of the most complex aviation systems in the world.

Importantly, Part 107 also permits FAA to waive the majority of its requirements on a case-by-case basis if the applicant provides supporting documentation with the waiver request that proves the proposed use will be safe. The goal of the regulation is to integrate this new species of aircraft into the NAS.

This means that the nation’s skies will ultimately accommodate flights by drones and manned aircraft of all sizes on a routine basis. The process to achieve this level of integration will necessarily take years, primarily because regulation will likely lag behind technological advances.

Operator Certification. Part 107 requires the designation of a “remote pilot in command” who is directly responsible for the operation of a UAS and for ensuring that it results in no undue hazards to other people, aircraft or property in the event of a loss of control.

The remote pilot must pass an aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a “remote pilot” certificate with a “small UAS” rating, which will be made available prior to the effective date of the final rule on Aug. 27. The individual manipulating the flight controls of a UAS operated under Part 107 need not hold a remote pilot certificate or any other qualification, provided that he or she is under the direct supervision of the remote pilot in command and the remote pilot in command has the ability of immediately assuming direct control of the aircraft.

In general, a remote pilot must be at least 16 years of age; be able to read, speak, write and understand English; not know or have reason to know of a physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small drone; and pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test and a recurring test every 24 months. The pilot may also be assisted by a visual observer, who is not required to be certified.

Operation Dos and Don’ts. The following requirements generally apply to UAS aircraft and their operation:

* Weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg);
* Remain within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the remote pilot in command or the visual observer, provided the UAS remains close enough to the remote pilot in command for him or her to be capable of seeing the aircraft with unaided vision except for corrective lenses;
* Operate only during daylight hours or civil twilight with appropriate anti-collision lighting;
* Yield the right of way to other aircraft;
* Remain below the maximum authorized ground speed (100 mph);
* Remain below 400 feet above ground level or within 400 feet of a structure;
* Maintain visibility of three miles from the control station;
* Perform a preflight inspection to ensure the aircraft is in safe condition for flight;
* Not be operated from a moving aircraft;
* Not be operated from a moving vehicle or watercraft unless in a sparsely populated area;
* Obtain authorization from air traffic control when operating in the vicinity of a controlled airport;
* Not be operated in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another; and
* Report any serious injuries, loss of consciousness or damage exceeding $500 to property other than the UAS.

Importantly, however, the majority of these parameters may be waived by the FAA upon an individual application demonstrating that the operation can be safely conducted under the terms of the requested waiver. The FAA “expects that the amount of data and analysis required as part of the application will be proportional to the specific relief that is requested . . . [and] that the time required for it to make a determination . . . will vary based on the complexity of the request.”

FAA will consider requests for a certificate of waiver (CoW) of the following provisions of Part 107 if the applicant demonstrates to its satisfaction that the operations can be safely conducted under the terms of the CoW:

* Section 107.29, daylight operation;
* Section 107.33, visual observers;
* Section 107.31, visual line of sight, unless to allow carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire;
* Section 107.35, operation of ­multiple small UAS;
* Section 107.37(a), yielding the right of way to other aircraft;
* Section 107.39, operation over people;
* Section 107.41, operation in Class B, C, D and E airspace;
* Section 107.51, operating limitations for small UAS; and
* Sections 107.25, operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft.

The FAA will continue to permit operators with authorization obtained prior to the release of Part 107 to operate under the terms of that authorization, which in some cases may be less restrictive than the measures set forth in Part 107. FAA will also continue to accept applications and renewals for authorization for those operations falling outside certain parameters of Part 107 (such as operations using UAS weighing more than 55 pounds).

Privacy, Security Concerns
Although Part 107 provides a substantial degree of freedom for UAS operations, privacy is a significant concern in connection with UAS use. Many local governments and public transit properties have also expressed concerns over the proliferation of drones and what that means for the security of their communities and systems.

Users must be aware of the privacy standards that apply in the jurisdictions in which they operate to protect the rights of individuals not involved in UAS operations. For public entities, constitutional prohibitions on unreasonable searches and seizures are integral to this analysis. A discussion of these issues is beyond the scope of this article, but the ability of drones to reach and observe areas that previously raised few concerns demands that users take responsibility to confine UAS operations to the purpose at hand and to avoid intrusions on the privacy of others.

Similarly, to provide for the protection of critical infrastructure, Congress included a provision in the FAA extension enacted on July 15 allowing applicants to seek permission to prohibit or restrict UAS operations in close proximity to a “fixed site facility,” including energy transmission or distribution facilities and equipment or other facilities that warrant such protection.

Public transportation providers may want to consider whether to seek designation of their power distribution facilities or other components critical to operations. While FAA has yet to implement the provisions of the legislation, such a designation may be crafted to allow for the agency’s own inspection of its assets by UAS while prohibiting overflight by others.

Part 107 has removed many barriers to entry for prospective UAS users. With this change in the FAA’s stance from “you may operate UAS only if we permit you” to “obtain remote pilot certification, register your UAS and comply with these general standards,” public transportation providers now have increased latitude to explore the aspects of their operations that may be enhanced by the incorporation of UAS and to either hire operators in-house or contract for third-party services, as best suits each agency’s needs.

We are at the very beginning of an era of new technology that can enhance human efforts and make public transportation operations safer and more efficient.

Fultz and Osit are attorneys at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP. They represent a number of APTA members and other entities in connection with passenger rail matters related to UAS. Fultz is a member of the APTA Legal Affairs Committee and the Rail Conference Planning Subcommittee.

(1) 81 Federal Register 42,063 ­(adding 14 C.F.R Part 107 and ­amending various other sections of FAA’s regulations).

 

Who’s Doing What
FAA estimates that about 2.5 million drones currently regularly fly in U.S. airspace and predicts that the number will reach 7 million by 2020.

All those drones are having a growing impact on the economy. “Taking Off: State Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policies,” issued by the National Conference of State Legis­latures (NCSL), cites a March 2013 report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which projects that by 2025 more than 100,000 jobs will be created with an economic impact of $82 billion.

A March survey from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) found that 33 state DOTs are exploring, testing or using drone technology to monitor traffic conditions, make safety-related inspections and save resources.

Specifically, the AASHTO survey reports that 17 state DOTs have studied or used drones. They are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington. In addition, 16 were exploring drone usage, helping to develop polices or supporting research. They are Alaska, Colorado, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Find the NCSL report here and the AASHTO report here.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet George Furnanz!

George Furnanz
Chief Executive Officer
Stacy and Witbeck
Alameda, CA
Member, High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Committee and Streetcar Subcommittee

Please describe your organization’s scope.

Stacy and Witbeck is one of the country’s largest heavy civil contractors specializing in streetcar, light rail and commuter rail projects. We have averaged approximately $350 million in revenue over the last 10 years and currently have over 250 salaried employees with an average of 750 craft employees across the country.

Our corporate resume includes rail transit construction in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Kansas City.

How long have you been involved in public transportation?

I personally have been involved in the transportation industry for nearly 30 years. When I began my career with Stacy and Witbeck in 1987, we were involved in utility construction projects in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter we began pursuing road reconstruction projects as well as transit projects for both Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency in San Jose and Muni in San Francisco.

I am not sure it was an attraction at first, more like fate, but once involved with moving people during construction and after, it was clear that I possessed a passion for this business. Developing strategies to move people and cars with different phasing schemes through the construction phase is challenging, yet enjoyable and rewarding. Through the years of similar construction, the ability to come up with better ideas of how to move trains, cars and people is very rewarding.

Please describe your involvement with APTA.

Stacy and Witbeck has been an APTA member for the last 15 years. In the beginning, we would send a small group to the Annual Meetings and through this participation, found the value and need for a contractor like ourselves to get more involved.

Over the years we have had many of our key employees speak on panels, become part of the Board of Directors, participate as committee members and the like. We have also found the benefits of becoming sponsors of the many APTA events and have enjoyed the people we have met and with whom we have established long-term friendships and relations.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?

The sharing of information to better this industry that truly exists to improve the lives of the people is the greatest benefit. The ability to participate in the forums and events allows our people to understand better how things work, what makes them happen and some of the roadblocks that we face on the projects we build.

Together, I feel that we can improve the way we do business; it just takes a little trust, sharing of information and then, most importantly, the honest communication it takes to work together with the good of the project as a common goal.

What do you like most about your industry involvement?

I enjoy that Stacy and Witbeck is still one of the only contractors that truly is ‘all in’ when it comes to APTA.

We feel that we were the trailblazer for our industry to not just build the work, but to get to know the owners we work for and understand the challenges they face as well as our own. We realize that the projects we build are challenging, but together through our increased communication, participation and furthering the education of our team, we can and will get better.

Working with both the project team and the public is exciting. It is rewarding to look back at the projects we have constructed, remember the people who helped witness the transformation of the cities following the opening of these transit projects and be able to ride ­public transportation systems we helped build.

What would readers be surprised to learn?

I am not sure it would be a surprise to most involved with APTA, but although we are a construction company by name, our business really is about moving people.

After many years of actually constructing these transit projects (which, by the way, is the most fun when you are physically out managing the day to day work, as I did for the first 10 years with Stacy and Witbeck), it really came down to how you moved the people around your construction that was key.

Finding the different ways to phase traffic, reroute major roads around the construction, and reroute pedestrians and bicycles safely through the jobsite was the real key to success. Also, getting to know and work with the community, both living and working, where we built, was very key to the success of a project.

These were things that our company truly believes in and still does. We believe that Stacy and Witbeck is second to none in the industry we call home. As we say…Happy Community, Happy Project!

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Sharon Royster!

Sharon Royster
Human Resources Specialist
Finance Department

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

As a human resources specialist, I assist the senior director, human resources, in developing, implementing and coordinating policies and programs covering the human resources function at APTA. These include employment (recruiting, interviewing, testing and reference checking), benefits (I assist the senior director in developing and managing the benefits package for APTA employees) and compensation (I assist with administration of APTA’s compensation program).

I also conduct orientation and training sessions for new employees, counsel staff members on association-related concerns, policies and procedures, and participate in planning and implementing projects as assigned. For example, I coordinated the employee benefits fair where employees could learn more about their insurance and other benefits.  I also took part in planning the annual holiday party and other staff events.

I don’t have much direct contact with APTA members, but I provide support when they visit our Washington, DC, offices. I also help with APTA’s monthly Transportation Tuesdays program, which brings in transportation experts to discuss their areas of expertise.

I am a member of the internal Customer Service Working Group, which strengthens our customer service best practices with an ongoing focus on APTA members. The group delivered three rounds of workshops for APTA staff in June. The workshops addressed several customer service areas, including ways to help APTA reinforce its core goal of providing top-notch customer service to our members.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
My duties include a major role in APTA’s new hire orientation program, which recently has been updated. Through this process, HR documents the first few months of an employee’s tenure. Now, the individual departments also do their own quarterly orientation programs for new hires.

In retrospect, one of the things I’m proudest of is being part of APTA’s move into its new offices on I Street NW; in fact, the day of the move was my first day on the job.

Starting on our first day in the new APTA offices, I immediately felt like part of the APTA team because the staff was very welcoming and excited about being in our beautiful new space. The day started with breakfast and a briefing in the reception area, then everyone worked on unpacking their boxes, setting up their areas as well as helping one another get settled into their spaces. I’m pleased that I helped put the finishing touches on the new space.

Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry? What brought you to APTA and how long have you worked here?
I never worked in public transportation, but I’ve always been a big supporter. I live in DC and take the bus to work.

Before joining APTA about nine months ago, I worked in human resources for three Marriott hotels—the historic Mayflower in downtown DC and the Renaissance and Residence Inn in Arlington, VA—for four and a half years. That job taught me a lot about customer service: As an employee of a large company, working with people from all over the world, I learned to connect with guests, labor unions and the human resources offices at the regional and global levels.

Earlier I worked for two other associations, which introduced me to the kind of member-centered duties I have at APTA.

What professional affiliations do you have?

I’m a member of the DC Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I enjoy all types of music, such as jazz, R&B, gospel, classical and pop.

COUNTDOWN TO 2016 ANNUAL MEETING

Annual Meeting: Something for Everyone in Public Transportation

The 2016 Annual Meeting, Sept. 11-14 in Los Angeles, is the public transportation industry’s flagship event for agency and business leaders, board members and government officials to learn about and share best practices, network, hear about product and service trends and join tours.

The meeting presents an array of programs and sessions—from General Sessions covering topics and issues relevant to all attendees to mode- and audience-specific educational programs and breakout sessions, special workshops and behind-the-scenes tours of LA Metro’s key initiatives.In addition, many sessions are specifically tied to the five goals in APTA’s strategic plan, which reflect the industry’s most pressing challenges: safety and security first, resource advocacy, workforce development, demographic shifts and technological innovation.

Throughout the meeting, attendees will have an opportunity to explore such hot topics as transformative technology, community building, innovative funding and finance, safety, workforce development and mega projects. Find details on some events and sessions below and on pages 9-15.

General Sessions: Thought Leaders, Transit Trends, Presidential Politics

The Annual Meeting features several General Sessions during the four-day event, offering attendees an opportunity to hear from thought leaders on a wide range of topics and ideas—all designed to spark new thinking and fresh insights. A summary follows:

Monday, Sept. 12

Opening General Session: Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows

Start the conference with a strong message about the value of public transportation to build communities and regions, support economic development, create jobs, improve the quality of life and contribute to energy independence. This session will also report on APTA’s key initiatives, provide highlights of LA Metro’s progress and showcase APTA’s leadership transition.

Featured speakers include Acting President & CEO Richard A. White; ­Phillip A. Washington, CEO, LA Metro, host agency; APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall, board of trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; and Vice Chair Doran J. Barnes, executive director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, incoming chair. Session sponsored by Proterra Inc.

Your Brain Is Good at Inclusion ... Except When It’s Not


Immediately following the Opening General Session, keep your seat for a session that examines diversity and inclusion from the framework of human behavior and neuroscience—a perspective that helps make the case that organizational leaders can enhance inclusion and create environments where people feel valued as key strategies for optimizing individual and organizational performance.

Presenter Steven Robbins, chief “what if” officer, S.L. Robbins & Associates, merges a science-based approach with real-world relevance, storytelling and humor to dispel some myths and offer some practical strategies. Following this session is a related breakout ­program. Sponsored by AECOM.

Tuesday, Sept. 13
2016 Political Overview with Paul Begala and Mike Murphy

Two political commentators, both known for their independence in political ideology and willingness to move beyond “right and left” politics, will ­discuss this year’s election season, including the presidential campaign.

Begala, a commentator for CNN, is part of a team that won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award. He was a senior adviser for the Obama Super PAC and helped steer President Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, making him one of the few people to play a critical role in electing two different presidents.

Murphy, one of the Republican Party’s leading media consultants, has handled strategy and advertising for more than 26 successful gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns. He has been called a “media master” by Fortune magazine, the GOP’s hottest media consultant by Newsweek and the leader of a “new breed” of campaign consultants by Congressional Quarterly.

Sponsored by APTA Business Member Activity Fund.

A Dialogue with USDOT

This session, a perennial APTA conference favorite, features a conversation with FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers and FRA senior representatives and staff members who will field questions from APTA members on a wide range of issues. Previous sessions have featured questions on safety, SMS, state of good repair, transit asset management, PTC, the FAST Act and the funding and grant making process. Be sure to bring your questions for this interactive session.

Wednesday, Sept. 14
Wednesday Wake Up Breakfast: Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom

How did the industry’s most powerful women rise to top leadership positions, and what have they learned along the way?

Several women will share their compelling career stories, as reported in Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom, a book authored by Grace Crunican, APTA Board of Directors, and general manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, who is moderating the session, and Elizabeth Levin, president, Liz Levin & Company. Presenters include Levin; Shirley DeLibero, principal, Shirley A. DeLibero, and past APTA chair; Dana C. Hook, vice president, CDM Smith; and Mary E. Peters, past DOT secretary; current board member, HDR Inc., and principal, Mary E. Peters Consulting Group.

Closing General Session: Transformational Leadership

The rapid pace of technological change affecting public transportation makes long-term planning and decision-making even more challenging.

How can industry leaders successfully predict what’s ahead while managing day-to-day challenges? This session will feature senior executives who will discuss dynamic leadership and performance excellence. They include Deborah Flint, chief executive officer, Los Angeles World Airports; Andy Byford, APTA Board of Directors, and chief executive officer, Toronto Transit Commission; and Paul Comfort, APTA Board of Directors, and administrator and chief executive officer, Maryland Transit Administration.

Schedule-at-a-Glance

Editor's Note: This version of the story does not include graphics that appear in the print edition. To see these graphics, click here.

Saturday, September 10


7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
APTF Golf Tournament, DeBell Golf Club, Burbank, CA
(7 a.m. shotgun start)

1 – 5 p.m.
APTA Board of Directors Meeting

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Technical Tours

1 – 5 p.m.
NTI Training: Understanding ADA

Sunday, September 11

7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Committee Meetings

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Technical Tours

1 – 2:15 p.m.
This Is APTA

6 – 8 p.m.
Welcome to Los Angeles Reception at the Products & Services Showcase

Monday, September 12

8 – 9 a.m.
Opening General Session: Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows

9 – 10 a.m.
General Session: Your Brain Is Good at Inclusion . . . Except When It’s Not, with diversity guru Steven L. Robbins 

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
5 Educational Sessions, including a discussion session with Robbins, Smart Cities and Trend Setting Initiatives: California on the Move

11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Products & Services Showcase—includes lunch

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
General Session

3:45 – 5:15 p.m.
7 Educational Sessions, including the AdWheel Awards Ceremony, Early Career Program Graduation and Transforming Lives and Communities

Tuesday, September 13

8 – 9:15 a.m.
General Session sponsored by Business Member Activity Fund: 2016 Political Overview with Paul Begala & Mike Murphy

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
General Session: A Dialogue with USDOT featuring representatives of FTA and FRA

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
7 Educational Sessions, including APTA/COMTO Assembly and Changing Dynamics of Small, Urban and Rural Systems

12:15 – 2:15 p.m.
APTA Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

3 – 4:30 p.m.
5 Educational Sessions, including ADA Session for Transit Board Members and Access Committee Members and Update on the Federal DBE program

3 – 5 p.m.
2 Educational Sessions, including Creating Communities with Station Design & TOD Roundtable and Mobility & Technology

3:30 – 5 p.m.
Leadership APTA: Celebrating Tomorrow’s Leaders; Class of 2016 leadership project presentations and graduation and welcoming the Class of 2017

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
APTF Scholarship Awards

Wednesday, September 14

7:30 – 9 a.m.
Wednesday Wake Up Breakfast: “Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom”: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories

9:30 – 11 a.m.
7 Educational Sessions, including High-Speed and Intercity Rail, Mobility Management Strategies for Integrated Mobility and Sustainable Facilities

9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Technical Tours

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Closing General Session: Transformational Leadership

12:30 – 5 p.m.
Committee Meetings

1:30 – 5 p.m.
FTA Workshop: Capital Investment Grants Program

Schedule as of July 27

LA Metro's Goal: Tackle City's Transportation Challenges Today and 'Once and For All'

As APTA and its members prepare to descend on Los Angeles for the upcoming Annual Meeting starting on Sept. 11, they will land in a city being transformed by ­public transit.

Passenger Transport asked Phillip Washington, chief executive officer of Los ­Angeles Metro, host system for the meeting, and APTA immediate past chair, to tell us how the agency is changing the city, what’s next on the horizon and to share some insights for his industry colleagues on what’s next for the agency and the city.

How is public transit changing the transportation landscape in the greater LA metropolitan area?

Los Angeles County is in the midst of a transportation revolution. At Metro, our goal is to be bold and not only tackle the transportation infrastructure challenges of today … but once and for all.

We cannot leave future generations with crumbing bridges, highways and rail. We must leave them with an infrastructure inheritance so that when they look back on this time they will say, “We’re enjoying a good quality of life today because of the efforts made yesterday by folks who invested in mobility.”

Los Angeles County was once known as the car capital of the world but that is changing. On the heels of Metro Rail’s 25th anniversary we opened two major rail line extensions: the Gold Line to Azusa and the Expo Line to Santa Monica. This brings our system from 0 miles of rail to 105 miles in just 26 years.

Three other major rail projects are under construction. The Regional Connector will link our light-rail lines under downtown Los Angeles so that passengers don’t have to change trains. The Crenshaw/LAX Line will connect us to LAX and the people mover being built by the airport authority. The Purple Line subway to Beverly Hills will eventually travel to UCLA and the Veteran’s Administration campus in Westwood.

We are supporting numerous highway projects, including a massive multi-year I-5 Freeway widening between Orange County and the 605 [freeway]. And we are investing in active transportation because we know our customers are no longer “single-mode” travelers.

In LA County we now move around by car, bike, bus, train, foot, rideshare and ride-hailing—often in combination—to get where we want to go.

Some of our multimodal efforts involve building bike paths—like a beautiful path along the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley and a bike path along the Expo Line to Santa Monica.

We have partnered with ride sharing services such as UberPOOL and car-sharing companies like ZipCar at our stations—to help travelers connect to our buses and trains.

In July, hundreds of bicyclists hit the streets of downtown LA for the launch of Metro’s new bike share program, putting more than a thousand bikes at dozens of bike stations in downtown LA. We predict it will be a huge success as part of Metro’s effort to improve first-last mile connectivity.

What do you want your industry colleagues to know about Metro before they arrive in LA?
Here in Los Angeles County, we’re excited about the future of transportation and we know we are having an impact. As usual for transit, among the primary issues are securing the support of the public and getting the political will and funding needed.

At Metro, we are fortunate to have a board of directors that supports system expansion and is looking toward the future. Our board decided in June to place a sales tax measure for transportation on the November ballot. The sales tax measure—called the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan—proposes a new half-cent sales tax starting in 2017 and a replacement of the current Measure R tax, starting in 2039 and continuing until voters decide to end it.

Goals of the measure include improving freeway traffic flow and safety; synchronizing street signals; repairing potholes, local streets and sidewalks; earthquake retrofitting of bridges; job creation; keeping fares affordable for seniors, students and the disabled; and expanding our rail and bus system.

Once we build out projects, we need to keep them in a state of good repair—so our plan would also dedicate funding to keep our system in good working condition.

Whether the ballot measure passes or not, Metro will continue to do all it can to move LA County forward as we tackle the transportation challenges of today … and tomorrow. We are proud to be a part of that.

More than 30 Educational Sessions at Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting schedule includes more than 30 educational sessions covering a range of topics from public transportation planning and maintenance to workforce development, funding and major ­projects.

Descriptions for most of the sessions follow. Find the complete list here.

Complete Streets and Complete Trip. Public transit agencies and their partners are implementing complete streets policies that focus on the whole trip, from the walk to the transit stop to the walk after leaving the system.

First and Last Mile. Convenient access to transit is fast becoming the top criterion in deciding where to live, work and play. Transit agencies are implementing new approaches to access stops to solve the first and last mile problem and extend the reach of transit to more customers.

An Open Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Close. Following his General Session presentation, Steven Robbins leads a discussion on the benefits of open-mindedness, including group activities.

Trend Setting Initiatives: California on the Move. California has been a springboard for a wealth of new and potentially trend-setting transportation ideas.

AdWheel Awards Ceremony. The 37th Annual AdWheel Awards competition honors the best in public transportation marketing and communications. This event recognizes the 11 Grand Award winners.

Early Career Program Graduation. The third class of the Early Career Program will graduate at this event, which also includes highlights of this year’s class projects.

Leadership APTA: Celebrating Tomorrow’s Leaders. Members of the Leadership APTA Class of 2016 will give their project presentations before participating in graduation ceremonies. This session will also introduce the Class of 2017.

State of Good Repair, Transit Asset Management—Prioritize for Quality Service. Transit performance management practices allow agencies to better communicate their transit asset management needs to state and regional entities and receive the funding necessary to address state of good repair challenges.

Transforming Lives and ­Communities: The Power of Transportation ­Investment. There is an important connection between transportation investment—jobs, economic impact—and the opportunity to help drive positive outcomes for historically underutilized groups. This session highlights the U.S. Employment Plan developed by JMA, an LA-based nonprofit organization, in coordination with DOT.

Advancing Transit: Perspectives on Multimodal Long Range and Strategic Planning. Hear the latest information on the recent rule on metropolitan and statewide transportation planning and how practitioners from around the country are advancing collaborative decision making to build integrated transportation systems.

Creative Finance and Public-Private Partners. Panelists will advise on strategies to make the most of alternative project delivery tools and partnerships, federal credit programs and incentives to stimulate transportation and infrastructure investment.

Creating Communities with Station Design and TOD Round Table. TOD efforts are increasingly expected to deliver affordable housing, support community and economic development and grow ridership. Speakers will explore how TOD transforms communities while maintaining equity.

On the Right Path: Transit/Bike Partnerships Round Table. Transit/bike partnerships can help solve first mile and last mile issues.

Public Transportation “Pitch” Session. APTA invites young transportation professionals and local graduate students from transportation-related programs for an opportunity to promote enlightened “pitches” on innovation and technology.

Integrating Innovation into Your Organization. Get an inside view from officials who work across organizational silos to chart new directions for agencies and businesses.

APTA/COMTO Assembly—Gentrification: A Moving Target for Equitable Service Provision. How can public transit agencies deal with the demographic shifts in urban cores and maintain service equity for the transit-dependent, low-income riders being pushed out of cities by rising housing costs?

Update on the Federal DBE Program. Information on recent changes, discussion of new initiatives and an interactive exchange between DBE program administrators and policy officials.

The Procurement Super Session! Panelists with substantial industry experience will take procurement-related questions from the audience.

Arts in Transit. The spotlight will be on public transportation art projects and their role in helping revitalize their communities.

Mobility and Technology. As technology and innovation progress, how do you choose the right technologies to complement your system?

Mobility Management Strategies for Integrated Mobility. Panelists will identify ways to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of transit through partnerships with new mobility services that improve access to transit for all riders.

Mega Projects Worldwide. The projects highlighted in this session will help transform their communities, bolster regional economies and serve future generations.

High-Speed and Intercity Rail. This session will focus on the latest California and U.S. developments, as well as regional rail integration here and abroad.

Title VI, Environmental Justice and Social Equity in Transit. Through federal programs and other agency initiatives, the industry is proactively working to expand economic opportunity, socioeconomic mobility, and community health while limiting further disparate impact.

Smart Cities: Reimagining Transportation. Transportation agencies, municipalities and businesses are creating vastly improved services by working together, joined through communications and information technology.

Understanding the Complexities of a Comprehensive Payment System Serving the 21st Century. Today’s transition to an updated electronic payment system, serving not only traditional public transit fare collection requirements but also accommodating multi-party ridesharing services and non-transportation transactions, is a multifaceted endeavor requiring dissection, identification, and processing of layers of interconnected operational, financial, security, public and overall organizational considerations.

A Brief Preview of Big Ideas on Diversity, Inclusion; Expert Shares Fresh Workplace Strategies in Monday's Session

What makes diversity and inclusion such powerful workplace strategies, and how can public transportation leaders think about these concepts in a new light?

Steven Robbins, self-described chief “what if” officer for his consulting firm, S.L. Robbins & Associates, Grand Rapids, MI, offers some powerful new strategies for examining diversity and inclusion from the framework of human behavior and neuroscience.


In an Annual Meeting General Session set for Monday, Sept. 12, titled “Your Brain Is Good at Inclusion ... Except When It’s Not,” Robbins will make the case that “diversity” (or lack of it) is not the problem; rather, the issue is individuals’ hard-wired bias to be ­cautious about unfamiliar people, places and things.

Passenger Transport
recently talked with Robbins about these ideas. Excerpts of the conversation follow.

Being a “what if” officer …
One of my main messages when I talk with people in the organization is to be open-minded, and one of the ways to practice open-mindedness is to regularly ask, What if? What if we thought about it this way? What if we see it from this perspective? What if there’s something else? So I made myself the chief what if officer to remind myself and others to practice open-mindedness.

Understanding diversity and ­inclusion as a human behavior …
The diversity issue for me is a human behavior issue, and as a neuroscience I look at it from a brain perspective. From a brain perspective, our brain is always trying to conserve energy. The places that it conserves the most amount of energy are in surroundings that are familiar, around things that are familiar, whether those things are people or ideas. And that’s what often leads us to exclude others who are not familiar or not like us.

Fostering a culture; optimizing performance …
Research that tell us that when human beings experience rejection or they’re not part of a group, they experience what’s called social pain, which is similar to physical pain because we use common circuitry in the brain to process pain. And pain, whether it’s physical or social in this case, is a distractor, and when people are distracted they don’t perform very well. They’re not as productive.

Tapping creativity and innovation …
Every organization is in the business of solving problems. For-profit organizations make more money when they solve problems better and faster than others. For not-for-profits and government institutions, they can serve their clientele, their people better when they can solve problems faster. How diversity helps with problem solving—I’ll put it very simply: The more and different ideas that you have, the greater the probability that one or a combination of those ideas will solve the problems you have. So when you’re excluding people who are different, you’re excluding their ideas. If the vast majority of people in your organization have similar experiences, they kind of come up with the same type of ideas. That’s why you want to have different types of people with different sets of experiences.

Save on Travel Costs to LA with APTA's Partners

APTA is partnering with United and Delta airlines and Amtrak to provide discounted fares to people attending the APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Both airlines are offering fare discounts of 2-10 percent into Los Angeles International Airport between Sept. 8-17, depending on travel requirements and airline stipulations, while Amtrak is offering a 10 percent discount off the best available fare. Airline customers can book flights either online or by phone; Amtrak provides only a phone option.

For more details, including discount codes, click here.

APTA Awards Honor 18 Exemplary Agencies, Individuals

APTA is recognizing 18 outstanding public transportation professionals, agencies and supporters this year for their leadership, dedication and contributions at its annual award ceremony and luncheon on Sept. 13.

Information follows about each of the winners. In addition, please watch for a special commemorative section on the awards in the Sept. 12 Passenger Transport.

Hall of Fame
These five longtime APTA members have been named to the APTA Hall of Fame for their achievements in the industry:

John B. Catoe Jr. has worked in ­public transportation for more than three decades and received the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager honor in 2009. From 2007-2010, he was general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, overseeing Metro efforts for Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. ­Earlier he was deputy CEO for Los ­Angeles Metro and director of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus.

Frank Thomas Martin became interested in public transit as a master’s degree candidate at Fisk University. During a 40-year career, he has worked in planning, operations and executive management in cities from Gainesville, FL, to San Jose, CA, and rebuilding the public transit system in Birmingham, AL. He was the founder of the APTA International Rail Rodeo, which began in 1993 in Miami, and has worked with the APTA Board of Directors, Business Member Board of Governors and American Public Transportation Foundation.

Michael Scanlon spent 48 years in the public transit industry, beginning with 26 years at the Port Authority of Alle­gheny County in Pittsburgh, then heading Broward County (FL) Transit and the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), from which he retired in 2015. Scanlon has served on the APTA Board of Directors for more than 15 years and is a past APTA chair.

William L. Volk was managing director of the Champaign-Urbana (IL) Mass Transit District from 1974 to 2014. He organized the first meeting of the Illinois Public Transportation Association in 1975 and became its first president. He served on the APTA Executive Committee as vice president-marketing and vice chair-small operations and received the 1991 Jesse Haugh Award (now the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager).

Alan C. Wulkan has held numerous APTA positions including three elected terms on the Executive Committee, BMBG chair and co-chair of two reauthorization task forces. With 43 years in both the public and private sectors, he received the Business Member Outstanding Transportation Award in 1999. During the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans, Wulkan led a task force of APTA business members to help the St. Bernard Project rebuild houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Outstanding Public Transit Systems

Three agencies are receiving this award, based on ridership: EMBARK, Oklahoma City, four million or fewer annual trips; Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority (JTA), more than four million and fewer than 20 million annual trips; and Metro Transit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, 20 million or more annual trips.

EMBARK faced a major challenge in providing public transit in Oklahoma City, which covers 620 square miles. Following a system-wide overhaul, the system has seen the number of service hours increase by 18 percent and a 15 percent increase in ridership over the past five years, with more than three million passenger trips in Fiscal Year 2015.

JTA’s modes of service include local buses, BRT and a 2.5-mile elevated downtown people mover. The system improved its on-time performance from 64.8 percent to 76 percent through a targeted on-time transit operations initiative, which was followed by a restructuring of the entire bus system called the Route Optimization Initiative to make service more direct, frequent and reliable. Safety improvements, vendor diversity and customer service outreach also have been part of the agency’s plans.

In 2015, Metro Transit reported its highest annual ridership in three generations, but growing ridership is only one of its successes. Safety efforts have included growth in its police department and enhanced operator training; new transit information tools and fare programs for students and low-income residents have made service more available to more people; and the agency is expanding its partnerships with the communities it serves.

Outstanding Public Transportation Manager
Gary Thomas, president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and a past APTA chair, is the award winner in this category.

During Thomas’ tenure, DART has doubled the size of its light rail system twice, to a total of 90 miles, converted the bus fleet to CNG and launched the city’s first modern streetcar system, among many other accomplishments.

Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member
This award recognizes Michael I. ­Schneider, senior vice president and director of professional services for HDR Inc. in Irvine, CA. His 40-year transportation career began with Los Angeles DOT and included 30 years with Parsons Brinckerhoff. He is a longtime member of the APTA Board of Directors and immediate past chair of the Committee on Public-Private Partnerships.

Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member
This honor is going to Shirley Harris, a member of the SamTrans Board of Directors, and Thomas Nolan, chair of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board.

Harris has served on the board since 1994, including three terms as its chair, and has been a member of the APTA Transit Board Members Committee since 2001. She was named an emeritus member of the APTA Leadership Committee following 12 years of service and was a member of a task force that made recommendations on changes to the APTA governance process.

Nolan has served on public transit boards throughout the San Francisco Bay Area over the past few decades, joining the SFMTA board in 2006 and chairing it since 2010. He oversaw the most expansive review of the Muni network in 30 years, advocated for the 1.7-mile Central Subway and worked to fulfill the city’s 1973 “Transit First” policy that balances public transit, walking and bicycling with automobile use.

Special Award for Extraordinary Leadership
Joni Earl,
who retired this year as chief executive officer of Sound Transit in Seattle, will receive this special award from APTA. When Earl joined Sound Transit in 2000, four years after its founding, she implemented enhanced accountability and management reforms that made the agency a nationally recognized leader in public transit.

Innovation

APTA is presenting two awards in this category, one to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the other to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) in Las Vegas.

CTA received recognition for its lead role in developing the ­Ventra mobile app, which allows users to pay for rides on all three Chicago area public transit systems (CTA, Metra and Pace Suburban Bus) from their mobile devices. With funding from the Regional Transportation Authority, the three systems worked with Cubic Transportation Systems to create a “one-stop shopping” experience with the Ventra fare payment system, owned by CTA.

RTC developed the Mobility Training Center, the only facility of its kind in the western U.S., which provides mobility training, paratransit assessment and certification and blindness skills training in a single location. The center offers two fully functional 40-foot fixed-route buses for hands-on boarding and farebox training, placed in a simulated streetscape with a transit shelter, street crossings and traffic simulations.

National Distinguished Service
APTA is recognizing three members of the House of Representatives, all members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I): Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman; Peter DeFazio (D-OR), ranking member; and Dan ­Lipinski (D-IL).

Shuster has been a member of T&I since he entered Congress in 2001 and is serving his second term as its chair. He oversaw passage of the FAST Act, which provides long-term public transit funding certainty and enhanced flexibility for states and local governments while emphasizing safety and enhancing the use of technology.

DeFazio, a member of the House since 1987, has served on T&I for his entire tenure and was elected ranking member in 2014. His efforts in support of the FAST Act included strengthening Buy America requirements.

Lipinski, in his sixth term, is co-chair and a founding member of the Congressional Public Transportation Caucus. He serves on three T&I subcommittees: ­Highways and Transit; Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials; and Aviation.

AdWheel Awards Honor Members for Communications and Marketing Efforts

The AdWheel Awards recognize the marketing and communications efforts of APTA’s members and showcase the strategic value of communications and marketing in the industry.

Public transportation systems and businesses compete for Grand Awards against their peer group, based on number of annual passenger trips or in the separate business member group. The 2016 awards will be presented at a special ceremony Sept. 12, during the Annual Meeting. This year, more than 150 entries were judged by 60 industry experts to produce 11 Grand Award winners in the following three categories:

Campaigns to Increase Ridership or Sales
Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority for its Regional Consumer Marketing Campaign, “Ride On.” This campaign associates public transportation with maximizing riders’ time, money and lifestyle and humorously highlights the frustrations of driving. It uses a variety of media including TV, radio, billboards, print, digital display, video, events/street teams and social media, with Facebook advertising alone resulting in 26 million impressions and half a million uses of the RTA Trip Planner.

Connecticut DOT for CTfastrak Marketing. This effort—which introduced a new BRT system using various media, including television and radio—has been cited as a success story by the governor and state DOT commissioner. Ridership on CTfastrak in the month after the campaign launch was 14.2 percent higher than the month prior to the launch.

Southern California Regional Rail Authority for the Metrolink Antelope Valley Line 2015 Fare Reduction Marketing Campaign. The success of a six-month pilot program encouraged agency leaders to extend the fare reduction offer another six months, resulting in a successful launch of a new fare initiative that encouraged more local trips and increased ridership by 16.4 percent.

PAVLOV Advertising Agency for its Client Acquisition Campaign, which led to increased activity on the agency’s social media and website. The campaign had two goals: to introduce PAVLOV’s new transit account director and to roll out an awareness campaign to the industry.

Campaigns to Highlight Transit Needs/Funding
Fort Worth Transportation Authority for the FWTA Transit Master Plan Campaign. This effort encompasses strategic goals to establish The T as a transportation leader in the community. It has sparked conversations about transit needs in Fort Worth via events, digital marketing and traditional advertising, creating greater awareness of the community’s transit needs and funding requirements.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority for Envision Silicon Valley Public Engagement. This multi-year effort showcases how innovative digital community engagement tools can be integrated with traditional techniques to highlight public transit needs. The approach broadened public understanding and involvement and let people “learn by doing” on an interactive, multilingual microsite that produced more than 740,000 sessions and 900,000 page views from more than 194,000 users.

Ventura County Transportation Commission for the VCTC Education and Awareness Campaign, “The Future of Ventura County is in Your Hands.” After three months, the campaign generated 69 percent support for a transportation sales tax in Ventura County and showcased the best of public transportation—the need, the value and the possibilities—with a comprehensive, strategic and efficient effort that targeted messaging to a large population.

Educational Campaigns
Denver’s Regional Transportation District for its campaign, “With 4 New Rail Lines, 2016 Is Going to Be Big.” The advertising campaign was eye-catching and easy to remember, resulting in an increased awareness of the A, B, G and R Line names, colors and project details. This comprehensive campaign generated 141 million impressions across a wide array of media and familiarized riders and others in the community with the openings in 2016.

EMBARK in Oklahoma City for “Say Hi to Free Wi-Fi.” The agency created a small but mighty campaign that advanced its ForwardTogether plans and spurred many opportunities to reach new audiences using its Wi-Fi service as a way to promote transit and engage the public at fairs and events with bus-based Wi-Fi serving as a hotspot. Using a data-driven strategy, agency staff developed a result-oriented campaign that helped boost ridership, elevate the status of the agency and build community support.

The Rapid (Interurban Transit Partnership), Grand Rapids, MI, for “There’s More to the Ride,” which educated community residents about the merits of public transportation through simple, powerful, consistent and positive messages. The Rapid has elevated public awareness by reaching 85 percent of the target audience 5-7 times per month. The Rapid is going beyond a transactional “getting from point A to point B” thinking and presenting a value proposition that transcends the traditional numbers about ridership and cost per trip.

BYD Motors Inc. for “Happy Employees Make Greener Buses.” This video campaign helped increase the number of people applying for jobs at BYD and created ways to connect people: people building the buses with people riding buses, community leaders with the organization, and BYD with other community and industry leaders.

Art to Architecture, Land to Sea, Regional Rail to Water Taxis: Tech Tours Cover Them All

Los Angeles Metro, host system, and its regional partners have scheduled nine technical tours before and after the Annual Meeting.

Metro’s Sustainable Bus Facilities: Division 13 and El Monte Station. Both of these facilities are LEED Gold Certified. Division 13 is Metro’s first new bus operations facility in more than 30 years, serving 200 CNG buses, and the new El Monte Station is the largest bus station west of Chicago.

Iconic Union Station: Past, Present and Future. Los Angeles Union Station is headed for major improvements to better accommodate Los Angeles County’s rapidly growing public transit system. The tour includes historic station properties and track areas planned for future improvements to better accommodate Amtrak, Metrolink and high-speed rail.

Where Magic Meets Metro. Construction is underway at Metro’s Universal City/Studio City and North Hollywood stations, including an underpass between North Hollywood and the Metro Orange Line Depot and the Universal Pedestrian Bridge that connects Metro Rail and bus patrons with the Universal Studios tram stop.

Metro Art Moves! All Metro stations incorporate public art into their designs, strengthening the system’s ties with the communities it serves.

Metro Regional Connector, Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line Construction Projects. The Regional Connector Project will connect light rail lines through downtown Los Angeles and the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project brings together the Metro Expo Line, LAX and Metro Green Line.

From Delis to K-Town to the Walk of Fame: Metro’s Red Line. This tour visits joint development sites in some of Los Angeles’ most diverse and growing neighborhoods, with stops at Westlake/MacArthur Park, Wilshire/Vermont Station in the Koreatown community and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). Tour participants will experience PTC and crash energy management technology firsthand as well as the new Tier 4 locomotive on display at Los Angeles Union Station for this tour, which includes interaction with Metrolink staff.

Land to Sea: Metro Blue Line to Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Metro and Long Beach Transit (LBT) partner on a ride on the Metro Blue Line to Long Beach for a boat tour of these two ports, where more than 40 percent of the nation’s international goods are received and distributed.

Land to Sea: Long Beach Transit’s ­Multimodal Operations on the Waterfront. LBT presents downtown Long Beach via battery-electric bus and the coastline via AquaLink water taxi.Sign up on site at the host information desk, located in the APTA registration area in the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE.

We Love LA--And You Will Too; LA Insight from Insiders

Passenger Transport asked the experts—LA Metro staff—for their best recommendations for things to do, places to visit, off-the-beaten-path restaurants and other “can’t miss” LA spots many tourists never see.

Here’s what they shared to help make your Annual Meeting visit fun—as well as being educational: No trip to LA is complete without …

Attending a Dodger game!
— Claudia Galicia, Transportation Planner

Putting your toes in the sand. Why? Because the great Pacific Ocean is the mighty anchor and the moment of Zen that every Angeleno and visitor can share. And because, no matter who you are, where you’re from or how long you sat in traffic to get to it, the embrace of our ocean, the sound of the surf, the salty tang of the air and the feel of sand between your toes is a deep and elemental LA pleasure.
— Michael Lejeune, Creative Director

A Metro Art tour! Free docent-guided tours of the art in the Metro system.
— Maya Emsden, DEO, Creative Services

A visit to downtown’s Preux and Proper’s to enjoy its cast-iron baked ­macaroni and scallops.
— Shelby Adams, Metro Trainee

A visit to the world-renowned Santa Monica Pier and beach. There are lots of things to see and do over there. And while you’re at it, ride a bike, walk, skate or jog and take in the sights at the nearby Venice Beach.
— Nof Orfano, Maintenance Specialist, Div 20

Seeing the Watts Towers Art Center, located at 1727 E. 107th St. The phone number is (213) 847-4646.
— Gail Harvey, Director, Customer Relations

A walk through historic Union Station, where Metro Art Presents also offers arts and cultural programming reflecting the diversity and talents of one of the world’s leading creative capitals.
— Maya Emsden, DEO, Creative Services

Being on a game show or in the audience of a live TV show. Click here.
— Eric Somilleda, Customer Information Agent

A walk down Colorado Boulevard. Every New Year’s Day, the nation tunes in to watch the Pasadena Tournament of Roses (TOR) Parade. At the corner of Orange Grove Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard sits the Norton Simon Museum, a landmark of the TOR Parade. The walk down Colorado should start at Norton Simon, passing through a couple of the high-end auto dealerships and conclude at one of the eateries located in Old Towne Pasadena. This would make for a great (but very warm) lunch or a close to great summer evening. Also—seeing Angeleno Heights—a historic neighborhood of 1890-1910 era of Los Angeles’ oldest Victorian homes. See the homes used in the TV show “Charmed” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
— Quintin Sumabat, DEO Finance

Urban Lights at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Broad Museum, Disney Concert Hall, the Getty Museum.
— Hamid Mahramzadeh, Supervising Engineer

Taking a ride in a Metro seat!
— Paula McEwing, Metro Slogan

A visit to El Mercadito in East Los Angeles—Mexican food and snacks, a Mexican-style market, mariachi, ornaments and trinkets.
— Flor Anaya, Senior Administrative Analyst

Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade, Exposition Park, Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard.
— Brandon Farley, Senior Manager, Transportation Planning

A visit to the Griffith Observatory! You can see the whole LA basin, Hollywood sign, Pacific Ocean, downtown skyline and Santa Monica mountains from this fantastic viewpoint. Take the Metro Red Line to the Vermont/Sunset Station and connect to the LADOT DASH Observatory Shuttle. You won’t have to deal with traffic and the hassle of finding parking. The shuttle runs on Saturday and Sunday only from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., with service every 20 minutes. The cost to ride is 35 cents if you use your TAP card. Shuttle service days and hours of operation may be expanded in the near future. To view a live map, schedules, fares and for more information, visit the LADOT Observatory Shuttle website.
— Bronwen Keiner, Senior Community Relations Officer

A trip to the Last Bookstore, located at 453 S. Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles. This bookstore is unique in the fact they carry many rare and hard to find books and vinyl records! Also, no visit to LA is complete without a trip to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, located in Arcadia. The arboretum has some of the most amazing gardens and natural landscapes along with a very relaxing atmosphere.
— Della Montes, Customer Information Supervisor

A visit to Trails Cafe in Griffith Park and a hike from the cafe/trailhead to the Griffith Observatory.
— Jenna Hornstock, Deputy Executive Officer, Countywide Planning and Development

A trip to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor using Metro’s Expo Line.
— Stephanie Burke, Senior Administrative Analyst

Seeing the Chandelier Tree in Silver Lake and visiting the permanent Farmers’ Market at 3rd Street and Fairfax Boulevard—75-plus years and counting. The Grove adjacent to the Market is a destination also...like an adult Disneyland.
— Jim Conerly, Senior IT PM

A visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). While there you can view the beautiful works of art on the walls, have a picnic lunch on the grounds and some evenings listen to free music.
— Deneise Glover, Principal Contract Administrator

Visiting the Los Angeles County Fair which, by chance, will be held at the same time as the APTA meeting. The fair is a little slice of rural country in one of the largest urban city areas of the United States. It is also one of the largest county fairs in America.
— Rich Famighetti, Director, Maintenance Ops

Seeing the city views (and sometimes stars) from the Griffith Observatory.
— Georgia Sheridan, Manager, Transportation Planning

APTF to Present 27 Scholarships at Annual Meeting; First Valarie J. McCall, Bombardier Scholarships; Special Marsella Scholarship

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) will present a record-breaking $125,000 in scholarships to 27 recipients at ceremonies Tuesday evening, Sept. 13, during the Annual Meeting.

APTF will award two new named scholarships for the first time: the ­Valarie J. McCall Scholarship, in honor of the 2015-2016 APTA chair, and the Bombardier Transportation Scholarship.

The Valarie J. McCall Scholarship will be awarded to an applicant pursuing studies in urban transportation planning or public administration with a focus on transportation. APTF created the scholarship following a successful event held in McCall’s honor at the 2015 Annual Meeting, which was sponsored by HNTB, HDR, the Solis Group, Legacy Resource Group and Olivier Incorporated. The Business Member Activity Fund has also supported the scholarship.

The recipient of the Bombardier Scholarship will be a rail engineering student who intends to pursue a career in rail manufacturing or public transportation.

Also, this year APTF will award a one-time scholarship in memory of Clarence (Cal) Marsella, former general manager of Denver’s Regional Transportation District and a longtime supporter of APTF. This scholarship was made possible through the generous support of the Marsella family and contributions made by colleagues and friends to commemorate Marsella’s career and service on behalf of the industry.

Last year the foundation awarded more than $110,000 to 32 students—at the time, the largest amount in its history. Since its founding in 1988, APTF has awarded more than $850,000 to more than 250 recipients.

APTF’s mission is “to increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career by providing scholarships and engagement opportunities to deserving students and transit professionals—our future leaders.”

Passenger Transport will announce the 2016 winners in the Sept. 12 issue.

Tee Time for Scholars
Show your support for the next generation of public transportation’s best and brightest by playing in the APTF Golf Tournament at the scenic DeBell Golf Course in Burbank, CA, Sept. 10, the Saturday before the Annual Meeting officially opens.

All proceeds will benefit the APTF scholarship program.

Golfers will play on the PGA-recognized, par 71 course, which offers 5,633 yards of golf from the longest tee. The public course, designed by William F. Bell, features views of the beautiful San Fernando Valley and is about a 30-minute drive from downtown LA.

The tournament, open to all APTA members, begins with a shotgun start at 7 a.m. and will feature team challenges, competitive activities and a closing awards presentation. Donation levels are $250 for individual players or $900 for foursomes.

For more information, click here.

Members of the APTF Board of Directors met recently at APTA offices to discuss and select this year’s scholarship winners. They included, back row, from left, Hugh Mose, Jeff Wharton and Michael Scanlon; and front row, from left, Bonnie Shepherd, Jill Stober and Jennifer Mitchell, APTF chair.

Photo by Mitchell Wood

 

2015 Flashback: Members Value Networking, Sharing

Click here to see representative scenes from the 2015 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The Annual Meeting offers dozens of opportunities for members to chat informally, get acquainted and strengthen partnerships. Sessions during the meeting feature speakers and panelists who share best practices, trends and industry updates.

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

PSTA-Uber Pilot Provides Connections to Jobs

As Passenger Transport went to press, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg,FL, was preparing to introduce TD Late Shift, a collaboration with Uber that will provide free, on-demand rides to low-income residents to and from work during hours when PSTA buses do not run.

“We are solving age-old transportation barriers with technology, innovation and Uber,” PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller said of the one-year pilot program, funded with a $300,000 grant from the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (TD). “This is what the future of transportation in Pinellas County looks like. It’s multimodal, high-tech and on-demand,” he added.

TD Late Shift will allow riders to request up to 23 free rides per month between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

PSTA first announced its relationship with Uber earlier this year when the two transportation providers launched Direct Connect, a six-month pilot program that connects people to bus stops for a subsidized rate. Now PSTA is expanding that program to span the entire county, offering unlimited, on-demand Uber and taxi rides for approximately $1.

Other recent recipients of TD grants include Manatee County Area Transit in Bradenton, which received $90,000 to provide daily bus passes to qualified low-income transportation disadvantaged riders to help them access medical services, in partnership with the county’s Department of Community Services and certain medical facilities, and MV Transportation in Alachua County, which along with other organizations received $55,350 to provide 31-day reduced fare bus passes in the Gainesville area for eligible transportation disadvantaged riders receiving services through the local homeless shelter.

TfL and Cubic to License Contactless Ticketing Worldwide

Transport for London (TfL) and Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) recently announced their agreement to license and adapt a contactless ticketing system—known as ­Oyster—to cities around the world.

The £15 million agreement (about $19.9 million U.S.) is the first in a number of planned initiatives to sell or license TfL’s expertise around the world. Agency officials say TfL is the first ­public transport provider in the world to accept contactless payment cards, which it launched in December 2012 on buses and expanded to cover Tube and rail ­services in London in September 2014.

CTS President Matthew Cole said, “The challenges of mobility in 21st-century cities—including access for all, inclusion, environmental concerns and the pressure of ever-growing populations—can only be met through cooperation and partnership. No single entity has all the answers, and this agreement between Cubic and TfL sets a new standard in public-private partnerships for addressing these issues and acknowledges the success of account-based payment for transit for which there is clear interest from many cities across the world.”

TfL and CTS have a long-running partnership, including introducing the Oyster card system in 2003.

Since the contactless system launched, riders have made more than 500 million trips using more than 12 million unique credit and debit cards from 90 different countries or using contactless-enabled mobile devices. Around one in 10 contactless transactions in the UK are made on TfL’s network, making it one of the largest contactless merchants worldwide.

CTS also provides smartcard ticketing technology to numerous cities worldwide.

Voices of Experience Engage Leadership APTA Class

Public transit chief executives and senior leaders including APTA Vice Chair Doran Barnes, executive director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, spoke about their career journeys and shared insights about their roles as executives during the Leadership APTA Class of 2016’s recent capstone session in Chicago.

Barnes led a session on the many benefits, challenges and outcomes of diversity in the public transportation industry. His presentation, which included open discussion, considered ways to build on diversity accomplishments and set new growth areas to maintain continuous improvement.

Other presenters during the week included Grace Crunican, general manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; Jerry Premo, principal, Premo Partnerships, Orange, CA, and emeritus member, Leadership APTA Committee; Susannah Kerr Adler, chair, Leadership APTA, and transit and rail-senior vice president, CH2M; Debbie Alexander, assistant executive director, Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI; and Joe Alexander, president, the Alexander Group.

The session also provided an opportunity for class members to give presentations based on their executive leadership projects.

Four CEOs of Chicago-area public transit agencies attended the Leadership APTA session to discuss how they have worked to build partnerships among their organizations. They are, from left, T.J. Ross, Pace Suburban Bus; Don Orseno, Metra; Dorval Carter, Chicago Transit Authority; and Leanne Redden, Regional Transportation Authority.

Photo courtesy of Regional Transportation Authority

Blumenauer Joins in BIKETOWN Launch


Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), an outspoken supporter of bicycles and public transit, joined the July 19 launch of BIKETOWN, the public bike share system in Portland, OR, by riding across the Tilikum Crossing bridge, which serves all transportation modes except private cars and trucks. “We like bike share because it extends the reach of transit, making trips by bus or train more accessible to more people,” TriMet said in a post on its blog, “How We Roll.”  “It also helps to make one-way bike trips possible and reduces barriers to biking like ownership, storage, maintenance and concerns about theft.” Nike and the Portland Bureau of Transportation entered into a $10 million, five-year partnership to provide the bikes.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Cheney, Portland Business Journal

FRA Approves New England Plan

FRA has announced a finding of no significant impact regarding the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative, clearing the way for states and the federal government to invest in future passenger rail service in New England.

The initiative proposes to restore service between Boston and New Haven through Springfield and Hartford and add new service between Boston and Montreal. FRA awarded $942,775 to Massachusetts DOT and the Vermont Agency of Transportation through its Next Generation High-Speed Rail Program to study potential service options and complete the Tier 1 Environmental Assessment, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act; Connecticut DOT also was a member of the study team.

The states will coordinate the initiative with other projects, including NEC FUTURE, FRA’s ongoing effort to define, evaluate and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor.

Aylward Is New Volpe Director

DOT has named Anne Aylward the new director of Volpe, he National Transportation Systems Center, where she has been employed for more than 20 years.

During her tenure at Volpe, she has helped to lead the center’s efforts on numerous high-visibility priorities including Beyond Traffic: US DOT’s 30 Year Framework for the Future.

Aylward went to Volpe after 17 years with the Massachusetts Port Authority, 10 of those years as director of the port of Boston. She was the first woman elected to chair the American Association of Port Authorities.

AC Transit Launches On-Demand Flex Bus Service

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) in Oakland, CA, introduced a year-long pilot program called AC Transit Flex—an on-demand bus service—on July 18.

With Flex, AC Transit passengers within two designated zones can schedule their pick-up and drop-off locations directly with a phone, smartphone or computer. The service allows riders to bypass waiting at an existing bus stop, reducing their wait time overall and reach their destinations faster.

A 30-day beta-testing period will allow the agency to identify and solve possible software issues. “Simply put, beta testing allows AC Transit to place our new service into the ‘real world’ with our ‘real’ riders,” said General Manager Michael Hursh. “Once a trip is completed, each rider is encouraged to offer feedback on service quality, rider experience, pick-up and drop-off options, website functionality, software ease of use and reservations, to name a few. Customer survey cards are available onboard or feedback can be provided online.”

The agency has designated two existing bus lines and corresponding stops as the reserved pick-up and drop-off sites, but Flex riders decide the day, time and bus stop where they will begin their trips. The website or live customer service assistant will then provide departure times and estimated arrival times.

AC Transit Flex operates using navigation software, which follows a traditional fixed bus route with turn-by-turn directions for operators to reach a reserved rider. Similar on-demand systems in Salem, OR, Chicago and Denver have resulted in lessened travel times for riders and resulted in a high degree of rider support.

APTA's Advocacy Video Honored

For the second consecutive year, APTA’s Voices for Public Transit (VPT) initiative received a Telly Award, which honors exemplary film and video productions, both online and on television.

This year, the VPT campaign was awarded a bronze award, the second highest honor, in the Government Relations, Online Video category. APTA and its consultant DDC Advocacy won for a grassroots recruitment production titled “Time is Running Out,” which encourages local advocates to take action and tell their congressional leaders to support long-term funding for public transportation during passage of the FAST Act.

The 37th Annual Telly Awards received more than 12,000 entries from organizations ranging from large international firms to local production companies and ad agencies located in all 50 states and across five continents. This year, fewer than 10 percent of entries won a silver award and fewer than 25 percent received a bronze.

See the 50-second video here and learn more about the VPT initiative here.

SEPTA Food Drive Fights Child Hunger


Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) collected food donations at 43 locations across its service area through its eighth annual “Stop Hunger at Your Station” food drive. SEPTA holds the annual two-week event around the end of the school year, when hundreds of thousands of children in the region will no longer have access to the free and reduced cost meals they get at school. Since 2009, SEPTA customers and employees have contributed the equivalent of more than 214,400 meals for residents of the greater Philadelphia region.

Previous Champ Wins Cable Car Bell Ringing Title


Independent judges at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) recent 53rd Muni Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest declared Leonard Oats world champion. Oats, a previous three-time champion, won for speed, rhythm and ability to replicate a melody. Byron Cobb placed second and Trini Whittaker was third in the division for cable car crew members and conductor Cassandra Griffin was the first woman finalist to compete in the pro division. Local media personalities led amateur bell-ringers competing on behalf of the charity of their choice, donating their prizes to victims of the nightclub attack in Orlando, FL, United Way and AIDS Walk. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company joined SFMTA in presenting the event in Union Square.

APTA Recognizes Sustainability Achievements


APTA recognized six public transportation agencies for their outstanding achievements as signatories in the APTA Sustainability Commitment program during the recent Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop in Austin, TX. The new honorees, joining representatives of agencies whose sustainability levels have risen to higher levels, are the Ann Arbor Area (MI) Transportation Authority and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA, Gold Level; San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District and Santa Monica’s (CA) Big Blue Bus, Silver Level; and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL, and Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Cincinnati, Bronze Level. Launched in 2009, the commitment now has 133 signatories, of which 38 signatories have received recognition.

 

'Every Place Counts' to Reconnect Neighborhoods

DOT recently launched the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge, which encourages four U.S. cities—Spokane, WA; Philadelphia; Nashville, TN; and St. Paul-Minneapolis—to reimagine existing transportation projects to reconnect neighborhoods isolated by the construction of interstate highways.

DOT employees and other experts held two-day workshops in each of the four cities to help communities and decision-makers work together to develop context-sensitive design solutions that reflect and incorporate the input of the people and communities they impact.

The program does not have a funding component, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said; its goal is to increase the visibility of the problem, which could lead to the use of public and private funding already available for transportation.

'RideKC Taxi' Expands Travel Options

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) recently launched a regional taxi voucher program for older riders and persons with disabilities in Johnson County, KS, and eastern Jackson County, MO.

The “RideKC Taxi” pilot program expands the transportation options available to these riders, providing trips anywhere in the region up to 10 miles for $5 each way. Users can take up to 10 one-way trips each month, using a KCATA-issued card with value loaded onto it to pay fares.

“We’re thinking outside the box and looking for new and innovative ways to offer public transportation to our residents,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA’s president and chief executive officer. “We want to provide more flexibility to get around while measuring whether there is a more cost-effective way to provide public transportation.”

KCATA Board Chairman Steve Klika added, “We are now talking about a 21st-century model of transportation that will unlock doors for our seniors and our riders with disabilities. We are very excited about providing this new pilot service for parts of our metro area.”

TranSystems Acquires Athalye

TranSystems Corporation, a national consulting firm headquartered in Kansas City, MO, has acquired Athalye Consulting Engineering Services Inc. (ACES), a Southern California consulting firm established in 1991 that specializes in transportation construction engineering and design services.

“Athalye’s strong expertise in highway and bridge design, construction management and inspection, along with their foothold in Southern California, complements TranSystems’ transportation focus,” said TranSystems Chief Executive Officer Richard Morsches. “This is a great arrangement for both firms and our clients will reap the benefits of our expanded service offerings.”

HART Achieves ISO Certification

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), Tampa, FL, recently became the only public transit system in Florida—and only the 13th in the U.S.—to achieve official ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Sustainability and Management System.

“Developing an ISO 14001-certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System program provides assurance to our community, stakeholders and employees that our operations and services are environmentally friendly,” said Jeff Seward, HART chief financial officer and the agency’s sustainability champion.

ISO is an independent, non-governmental organization that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop standards that provide solutions to global challenges such as environmental management.

HART began the certification process in 2013, when it was accepted to FTA’s two-year ISO 14001 EMS Institute at Virginia Tech.

SPECIAL NEWS

Public Transit Stands Up for LGBT Pride

Public transportation agencies throughout North America celebrated Pride Month, held every June, which commemorates a watershed moment in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. On June 28, 1969, police raided a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn and patrons fought back, leading to riots and protests. LGBT Pride Month features festivals, parades and marches around the world. Here are a few photos showing how public transit participated this year.

A rainbow-decorated miniature San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District railcar participated in San Francisco Pride.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority employees staffed a booth at Capital Pride in Washington, DC.

Photo by Mitchell Wood

A Halifax Transit bus participated in the Pride parade in Halifax, NS.

The Chicago Transit Authority promoted its rail routes (of many colors) as the practical way to get to the city’s Pride Parade.

 

 

COMMENTARY

Using 'Asset Genetics' to Unlock Hidden Capital; Understanding an Infrastructure Asset's Unique Characteristics Can Extend its Life Span--and Save Money

BY JANNA de GROOT and ASHAY PRABHU

To continue to grow, the world needs to invest in new infrastructure—and it is not keeping up. According to recent McKinsey research, current infrastructure spending is $2.5 trillion to $3.0 trillion a year, far short of the $6.0 trillion needed to meet average annual demand to 2030.The need to renew existing infrastructure is also acute, and doing so will be expensive. Once an asset—whether it is a road, a bridge, a pipeline or a rail track—degrades beyond a certain point, it enters the “failure zone” in its life cycle (Exhibit 1).

The cost to maintain such assets is high, adding further financial pressure. In addition, the service an asset provides declines substantially when it is not renewed.

Investing capital in existing infrastructure at the right time reduces the proportion of assets that enter the failure zone. When an asset reaches that juncture, it can become necessary to pour in emergency money. By paying attention to the factors that help estimate the point in the asset’s life cycle where it makes sense to invest in renewal, such emergency spending can be avoided, unlocking capital for new projects. In this article, we explain how the concept of “asset genetics” can help.

What is asset genetics?
The unique characteristics of an infrastructure asset—such as its location, construction materials, usage statistics, physical condition and maintenance history—constitute its DNA, or its asset genetics. These factors determine how fast the asset degrades and how long it can last: in short, the shape of its life-cycle profile. Using the data embedded in an asset’s genetic code can help to optimize spending and thus cut future costs.

Imagine a rail-network operator that is managing a portfolio of thousands of assets worth $10 billion. Typically, such an asset portfolio degrades at a rate of 3 to 4 percent a year, or $350 million of value. An approach emphasizing asset genetics helps identify the right time to invest in the renewal of the right assets to reduce the rate of decline by half—without needing to spend more money.

There are three steps to make this happen.

Understand the Assets. This means compiling relevant information, such as age, location and condition from on-site visits, surveys and data collection. For example, a rail owner or operator needs to know what its assets are, where they lie and how they should be segmented according to characteristics such as construction material, location and usage. It can then develop a life-cycle profile for each segment, including average useful life and typical maintenance costs at different points in the life cycle. The owner or operator can then use current condition data to determine where each asset is in its life cycle.

Set up a Framework. The next step is to tap into the knowledge of internal and external experts to create a framework for evaluating options and determining when to intervene for each asset segment (early, middle or late in the life cycle). The goal is to recognize the different points where investment might be appropriate, the cost of the treatment and its impact on overall portfolio-maintenance costs. For a rail operator, this would involve understanding the costs, benefits and optimal time to rehabilitate its tracks, which is much less expensive than replacing them.

Decide What to Do. The framework described above can offer clarity about available options. At this point, financial-optimization models should be used to determine the best combination of interventions across the portfolio. Software can be used to determine the type, timing and level of investment to produce the lowest renewal and maintenance costs and best service.

Taken together, these three steps can reduce the proportion of assets that enter the failure zone and thus lower renewal and maintenance costs significantly.

deGroot is the general manager for product, marketing and strategy, and Prabhu is the cofounder and joint managing director of Assetic, a Melbourne-based infrastructure asset management firm. This article was originally published by McKinsey & Company as part of its Global Infrastructure Initiative. Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. See the article and additional graphics here. McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that serves leading ­businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and not-for-profits.

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


PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who's Doing What in the Industry

Editor's Note: This version of the story does not include graphics that appear in the print edition. To see these graphics, click here.

ARLINGTON, VA—Diana Mendes has joined HNTB Corporation as senior vice president and national transit/rail practice leader, based in the firm’s Arlington office.

Mendes has 30 years of transportation and public transit experience, coming to HNTB after working as Americas transit/rail director for another engineering firm. For more than a decade she has been a lead instructor for transit professional development courses sponsored by FTA and the National Transit Institute.

For APTA, she is vice chair of the Legislative Committee and a member of numerous other committees and the Board of Directors.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL—Volton (Michael) Williams has joined Palm Tran as Fiscal Manager II in the Administrative Services Division. He most recently was chief administrative officer for the SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, CA, and worked 13 years in several posts with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority in Pompano Beach.

PHILADELPHIA—Martin Paone, a 40-year veteran in railway signals design, has joined Burns Engineering as a project manager in the Railroad and Transit Signals & Communications Group, working with clients including the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Amtrak and the Delaware River Port Authority.

NEW YORK CITY—­John McConkey will lead electrical design teams for tunnel and transit projects as a senior engineering manager with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), based in the firm’s New York office.

McConkey served the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 30 years, as its chief electrical engineer since 2007.

Also, WSP | PB has opened a new office in San Jose, CA. Mike Zeuger, senior associate with the firm’s buildings practice, has relocated from San Francisco to manage the group’s new practice.

NEW YORK CITY—The Fund for the City of New York recently presented the Sloan Public Service Award to George Menduiña, MTA Bus Company vice president and chief facilities officer for MTA New York City Transit’s Department of Buses.

Menduiña started his career at NYC Transit in 1977 as a maintainer, rose through the ranks to lead the stationary engineering division in the Department of Subways, then moved to the Department of Buses to become the assistant chief facilities officer, managing facility operations and construction throughout the city. He has served in his current positions for the past three years.

The honor is given annually to six extraordinary New York City employees whose performance and commitment to the public transcend their job descriptions and demonstrate their ability and dedication to going above and beyond their call of duty.

TYSONS CORNER, VA—VHB announced the addition of five employees to its National Capital Region office: Eric Tang, Mid-Atlantic safety team; Craig ­Schneider, Janie Nham and Javier Revilla, transportation team; and Jen McGovern, Mid-Atlantic regional marketing manager for the firm’s six offices in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.

Tang is a senior highway safety engineer with 12 years of expertise in transportation policy, planning, safety and engineering. Schneider is a transportation analyst joining the transportation engineering team. Nham, a transportation planner, is responsible for multimodal transportation planning, research and policy projects. Revilla is a recent graduate of George Mason University with experience in campus transportation planning, transportation infrastructure design, and bicycle and pedestrian campus integration. McGovern has 11 years of marketing, writing and editing experience.

CINCINNATI—Transdev North America announced the promotion of Dick Alexander to executive vice president of business development and the hiring of Rob Mowat for Alexander’s previous position, senior vice president of business development.

Alexander is also a member of the Transdev North America Executive Committee, responsible for developing corporate strategy and policies, and was part of the recent effort to create Intelliride, the company’s brokered on-demand business providing non-emergency medical and paratransit services to persons with disabilities.

Mowat joins Transdev with more than 25 years of expertise, most recently seven years in a succession of jobs at Nova Bus. He is a member of the Leadership APTA Class of 2003 and serves on the APTA Board of Directors.

CINCINNATI—Ken Reed, vice chair of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board, recently received the Public Service Recognition Award from the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.

Reed joined the board in 2011 and was re-elected vice chair earlier this year. He is manager of loss control services for the Ohio Transit Risk Pool, responsible for the oversight of all loss control, training and risk auditing activities.

PASADENA, CA—Parsons announced the appointments of William (Bill) Crosbie as senior vice president and business development director for its Transit Division and Ettore Morelli as vice president and global business development manager responsible for major pursuits.

Crosbie has more than 30 years of experience, including seven years as chief operating officer of Amtrak and previous service as Parsons’ railroad program vice president.

Morelli has more than 17 years of experience and returns to the firm after a four-year hiatus.

ROCHESTER, NY—The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) has named Geoffrey Astles of Ontario County chair of its board of commissioners. He succeeds James Redmond, who stepped down from the board after serving 12 years, six of them as its chairman.

Other officers named were Paul J. Battaglia, Genesee County, vice chairperson; Edward W. White, Seneca County, secretary; and Michael P. Jankowski, Wayne County, treasurer.

Four new members also joined the board: William Faber, Don Jeffries and Kelli O’Connor, all representing Monroe County, and Rich Kosmerl, Wyoming County.

LOS ANGELES—BYD America has announced the following hirings and promotions:

Macy Neshati has been promoted to senior vice president of BYD’s new B2B Division, which focuses on providing battery-electric vehicle technologies to business customers. He previously led the company’s coach and bus unit.

Vice President Micheal Austin has been named to lead the company’s energy storage business; Brendan Riley has been appointed vice president of BYD’s newly created materials handling division; Andy Swanton will lead the company’s newly created fleet division, which will include electric-powered trucks; and Zach Kahn, formerly an employee in the coach and bus division, has been promoted to the newly created position of government affairs director.

GOLDEN, CO—Steve Mentzer has joined Lytx as an enterprise sales director, government fleets. He spent the past 16 years training professional bus operators through the use of simulator-based training activities. Mentzer is a member of the APTA Bus Safety Committee.

LOS ANGELES—Ian Choudri has joined HNTB Corporation in the new position of national rail and transit business development director and senior vice president. He previously served another consulting firm as vice president and global business development director.

PHOENIX—The two boards that oversee Valley Metro in Phoenix have elected new officers for Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

Phoenix Councilmember Thelda ­Williams is the new chair of the Valley Metro Regional ­Public Transportation Authority Board of Directors, which has responsibility for the region’s bus service and alternative transportation for commuters, older riders and persons with disabilities. Scottsdale Councilmember Suzanne Klapp is vice chair and Glendale Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff is treasurer.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell was elected chair of the Valley Metro Rail board, which provides policy direction for light rail. Vice chair is Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh.