Passenger Transport - March 24, 2017
Public transportation has a long history of adopting, adapting and maximizing new technology, from replacing horse-drawn vehicles with steam engines in the mid-1800s to swapping gas-powered motors for diesel engines in the 1960s to the highly complex, integrated, digital systems routine in many operations today.
All of the above, predict some industry experts. As APTA’s TransITech Conference begins, Passenger Transport asked a few industry leaders to look ahead and share their thoughts about transportation technology’s next big thing.
Technology’s Four Critical Impacts
Director of IT, Access Services
El Monte, CA
Chair, APTA Information Technology Committee
Member, APTA Board of Directors
Information technology has been a major driving force in stimulating global economic growth since the 1990s. Almost everyone and everything is influenced by the Tech Four—Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon—in a dramatic way, as described by renowned tech columnist Walt Mossberg.
The APTA Information Technology Committee’s mission is to share resources and introduce new technologies, which are increasingly critical as the industry balances its focus on day-to-day operations, safety and security and rolling stock with a constant commitment to the future. We really need to ask ourselves, “What’s really coming in the technology pipeline that will change the transit landscape as we are moving forward?”
Here are a few of the “next big things” coming to transit, which are in line with this year’s TransITech Conference presentation sessions:
* Multimodal User Centric Mobile Solutions: This is not your traditional mobile trip planner or mobile ticketing app or combination of the two. It is a solution to provide all modes of transportation at users’ fingertips when they need to make their own transportation decisions. It also provides a single payment method for the mode(s) they have chosen.
* Automated Vehicles: This trend describes not only connected vehicles, but also autonomous vehicles and hyperloop. It will dramatically change the transportation landscape, including the role of public transit agencies in providing transportation solutions.
* IoT (Internet of Things) with AI (Artificial Intelligence): This advance is no longer a typical big data analytic activity. IoT in the future will quickly collect massive amounts of data (measured in such sizes as petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte or even yottabyte quantities). Machine learning with AI on IoT data will quickly transform travel patterns and transportation usage of the future, not to mention business opportunities for the private sector.
* 5G Infrastructure: All of the above trends need reliable, secured communication networks to cover the transmission of structured and unstructured data simultaneously. 5G, along with higher cybersecurity requirements in the standard setting, will lead the way in mobile communications to fulfill the future data communications requirements.
Tsuei is the former chief technology officer, Valley Metro, Phoenix.
Seamless Fare Collection for Mobility Management
Elk Grove Village, IL
Secretary-Treasurer, APTA Executive Committee
At Genfare, we believe that fare collection technology can enhance the public perception of transit by delivering the simplest and easiest to use rider experience for the fairest price possible.
Vehicle to Infrastructure Connections
Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)
Member, APTA Board of Directors
The RTC recently introduced several new updates to our transit system that are enhancing the travel experience of our residents and visitors. We implemented new touch-screen TVMs, a mobile-ticketing app and complimentary Wi-Fi on all fixed-route vehicles. These upgrades allow transit riders to stay connected and enable us to provide customers with close to real-time bus location information.
Additionally, Southern Nevada recently became the first region in the U.S. to implement Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) technology by connecting our traffic signal network to vehicles thanks to a partnership with Audi and its “Time to Green” technology.
This technology provides real-time information to the driver, including when green lights will occur, and ultimately connects the car with the RTC’s traffic management center.
This data will help our traffic management center improve mobility and better manage congestion. This precedent-setting partnership has established the foundation for how local governments and auto manufacturers can develop meaningful polices, build infrastructure and connect our systems to accommodate V2I technology that improves mobility, increases safety and reduces congestion.
While no one knows what the future holds, we are certainly planning for it. The RTC actively seeks out innovative ways to overlay new technologies and services with our current transportation network in order to continue to improve the overall system.
As an example, we are currently in the process of launching a pilot program aimed at enhancing the customer experience while also creating a more cost-effective transportation model by partnering with TNCs and taxi companies to offer same-day, on-demand paratransit and senior and transportation options. We will also study new emerging technologies and their short- and long-term impacts on transportation planning and infrastructure.
Bottom line—we are embracing innovation and working toward creating a smart community. New technologies, paired with several long-range plans aimed at moving more people safer, quicker and more efficiently, will help ensure that Southern Nevada is ready for what the future holds.
Automation and Connectivity
President & CEO
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Member, APTA Board of Directors
Like many large urbanized areas, Houston faces complex mobility challenges. On any given day, our regional transportation system must move five million people on a roadway network that is at capacity.
Providing 110 million passenger trips per year, Houston METRO is a critical variable in this equation. Technology has provided many solutions to regional mobility challenges and continues to transform the way people interact with transportation systems.
METRO believes that the next driver of change will come from the automotive industry’s global research involving automation and connectivity. Public transit has the opportunity to leverage these technologies to improve public safety, increase operational efficiency and maximize mobility. As near-term applications, METRO is interested in bus platooning and automated shuttles.
METRO owns and operates more than 100 miles of dedicated high-occupancy vehicle/high-occupancy toll lanes and believes that these corridors could be used to deploy platooned buses. Platooned buses operate similarly to trains with close following distances and autonomously controlled braking and accelerating. Platooning may increase operational efficiencies by increasing fuel economy and increasing high-capacity transit without additional infrastructure.
METRO also focuses on automated shuttles for campuses, medical centers and other geographically defined areas where vehicles can operate safely at slow speeds in mixed traffic. Imagine a shuttle that would operate both on-demand (summoned by customers through their smartphones) and at various pre-defined locations. In both scenarios, customers would be fed into transit hubs to bridge first/last mile connections.
Texas’ recent designation by U.S. DOT as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground sends a strong signal that our state is open for innovation. We are excited to test these technologies in living lab environments in Houston.
Thanks to a partnership with the city of Myrtle Beach, SC, the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority (Coast RTA) has opened a new transfer center in a 960-square-foot building owned by the city, repurposed by city employees and named for the agency’s founder.
"The Ivory Wilson Transfer Center will enhance the overall Coast RTA customer experience by providing our passengers and the general public with a modern, clean and visually appealing structure that will better accommodate our passengers’ needs,” said General Manager Brian Piascik.
|Cutting the ribbon at Coast RTA’s Ivory Wilson Transit Center, from left: Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes; Wilson, agency founder and board member; Joseph Lazzara, chairman of the Coast RTA Board of Directors; and General Manager Brian Piascik.|
APTA, in partnership with TSA, the FBI and UITP, recently organized and conducted a multi-day international security and emergency management peer exchange that paired North American transit leaders with their counterparts throughout Europe.
The five-day program—attended by transit chiefs of police, law enforcement officials and senior agency officials—gave attendees an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and best practices on a wide range of issues, including active shooter/attacker training, social media and communication strategies during an event, integration and coordination between law enforcement and transit operations, technology applications and public safety outreach programs.
Delegates included Fred W. Damron Jr., Maryland MTA; Edward Eviston, Metro Vancouver Transit Police; Todd Johnson, MBTA; John Jones, Capital Metro; Dave Jutilla, King County (WA) Sheriff Office; Veronique Moulin, Societe de Transport de Montréal; Ronald A. Pavlik, Jr., WMATA; Alex Wiggins, Los Angeles Metro; Al Guarnieri and Stephen Khoobyarian, FBI; Sonya Proctor and Chris McKay, TSA; and Randy Clarke and Geoff Dunmore, APTA.
The review also featured tours of transit facilities at British Transport Police (BTP), London Underground, CrossRail, Metropolitan Police and STIB-MIVB, the public transportation provider in Brussels.
BTP polices Britain’s railways, the London Underground and other rail systems. STIB-MIVB operates the metro, tram and bus systems in the Brussels capital region.
An expanded group will continue this exchange at APTA’s Annual Security and Emergency Management Roundtable June 9-10 during the International Rail Rodeo and Conference, June 8-14, Baltimore.
|Participants in the recent APTA security and emergency management peer exchange on tour at CrossRail, the largest public transit project in Europe.|
The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) recognized 11 women representing a broad cross-section of transportation in both the public and private sectors at the sixth annual Women Who Move the Nation awards ceremony March 15.
COMTO selected the honorees based on their demonstrated leadership in all modes of transportation, including public transit, and on their commitment to the advancement of women, diversity and inclusion. More than 60 individuals have received this honor to date.
Many of the honorees are APTA members and public transit leaders, including Juanita Abernathy, board member, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, who also received COMTO’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award; Margareth Bonds, senior vice president and director-state municipal government relations, Parsons; Sharon Greene, senior vice president and finance market sector director, HDR Inc.; Loretta Kirk, deputy general manager-finance and administration, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; Terry Solis, principal, The Solis Group; and Veronique (Ronnie) Hakim, interim executive director, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Jannet Walker Ford, vice president and general manager of the eastern region, Americas, for Cubic Transportation Systems, chaired the Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation event.
|Recipients of COMTO's 2017 Women Who Move the Nation awards.|
The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) in Detroit named Tiffany J. Gunter, deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer since 2014, interim CEO following the departure of Michael Ford. Before joining the authority, Gunter worked in higher education and as a regional planner for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Ford joined RTA in 2014 as its first CEO after serving as chief executive of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.
As Passenger Transport went to press, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) was preparing to introduce service March 25 on the Warm Springs Extension, which connects the existing Fremont Station to the new Warm Springs/South Fremont Station and serves a fast-growing Silicon Valley community.
The $890 million project came in more than $100 million under budget.
“The new station and 5.4 miles of new track will be a difference-maker in addressing the gridlock on Interstates 880 and 680 by taking thousands of cars off the road each day,” said BART Director Tom Blalock, who represents Fremont. “We’re also helping people reduce their carbon footprint by making the station fully accessible to pedestrians, bus riders and bike riders.”
In addition, BART General Manager Grace Crunican noted that the new station meets the FTA guidelines to incorporate artwork into public transit projects. “BART has commissioned artwork from professional artists for the new station and at the existing Fremont Station,” Crunican said. “A 7,000-square-foot art glass display at the new station anchors it to its surroundings by featuring abstract images of local landmarks.”
The station also features 2,082 parking spots, including 42 solar-powered electronic vehicle charging stations, as well as intermodal connections to AC Transit and private shuttles.
Solar panels installed on the roof of the station and on several parking canopies will produce more than enough energy to meet the station’s daytime power needs. Additionally, BART has installed bioswales that naturally filter silt and pollutants in surface runoff water before it enters the San Francisco Bay watershed.
The extension paves the way for “BART to Silicon Valley,” a 10-mile Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority project currently under construction, which is expected to open for service later this year.
Los Angeles Metro began construction March 21 for a Metrolink commuter rail station that will be part of a proposed mixed-use development project featuring a new Burbank Airport terminal within walking distance.
The Burbank Airport-North Metrolink Station on the Antelope Valley Line should be completed in the spring of 2018, funded with $12.3 million from Metro and $2.7 million from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. Metrolink already serves the airport with a one station; the new station will be approximately one mile from the current airport terminal, served by a free shuttle operated by the airport.
“This project will provide a better, faster and more seamless rail connection between Burbank Airport and the Metrolink commuter rail system,” said Metro Board Chair John Fasana. “It will also encourage more Southern Californians to utilize the Burbank Airport and provide an alternative to driving on the I-5 Freeway.”
Metro Chief Executive Officer Phillip A. Washington called the new station “part of Metro’s commitment to regional mobility. This station brings new and quicker options for residents from the Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley and northern San Fernando Valley who want to get to the airport without driving.”
Station amenities will include seating, bike racks and LED display boards showing train, flight and bus arrival and departure times. A pedestrian sidewalk and transit plaza will be built adjacent to the platform.
The Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority (JTA) and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro), Austin, TX, recently hosted demonstrations of the 12-person EasyMile EZ10 autonomous shuttle vehicle for possible future use.
JTA is considering replacing its existing driverless Skyway vehicles after more than 25 years of service with the EZ10 as part of modernizing the 2.5-mile line. The agency’s board of directors has authorized staff to begin work on development of the Ultimate Urban Circulator Program (U²C), which will use the Skyway’s existing resources and maximize emerging technology to improve the service in and around downtown Jacksonville.
Capital Metro joined RATP Dev, parent company of McDonald Transit, in deploying the autonomous shuttle vehicles on a closed course on the University of Texas at Austin campus. RATP Dev helps Capital Metro manage and operate its entire 269-vehicle fleet.
Earlier this year, DOT selected UT Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR) as a testing site as part of designating the entire state an autonomous vehicle proving ground. The CTR has been developing and exploring technologies that allow vehicles and infrastructure to collect roadway data and then share that data through wireless communication.
“Because transit is not a one-size-fits-all solution to mobility challenges, we are actively working to identify cost-effective technologies that will allow us to better match our services to the needs of the community,” said Wade Cooper, chairman of the Capital Metro Board of Directors.
Previously, First Transit tested autonomous shuttles in an office park in California and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Keolis and the manufacturer NAVYA collaborated on a week-long pilot of an autonomous, fully automatic shuttle on public roadways in Las Vegas.
|A passenger boards JTA’s autonomous shuttle vehicle.||The EasyMile EZ10 shuttle operated by Capital Metro and RATP Dev tested various technologies at the University of Texas at Austin.|
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston has announced plans to invest $7.9 million in a complete overhaul of its historic Presidential Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars that have operated on the 2.6-mile Mattapan-Ashmont Station High Speed Line since 1955; the vehicles date to 1945-46.
MBTA has 10 of the PCC vehicles in its fleet, of which seven operate in revenue service. Because of their age, the streetcars require constant repair and replacement of parts that are no longer available on the market and either must be manufactured by MBTA machinists or obtained from museums, all adding to the overall cost of repairs.
“These historic vehicles are among the very last of many thousands that operated in major cities across the United States and are beloved by many residents in the communities they serve,” said MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve.
Over the next two years, MBTA will install new propulsion, brakes and power supply systems in the PCC cars, which should keep them operating for another decade, and will consider options for the future of the line. The capital project should be completed by late 2018.
MBTA will invest an additional $1.1 million to review operations, track, bridges, vehicles and other infrastructure and will study future vehicle options for the route including light rail (with PCC cars, replica trolleys or light rail vehicles), BRT and alternative propulsion technologies.
The Mattapan High Speed Line opened in 1929, converting a former steam railroad to a rapid transit line.
|One of MBTA's PCC streetcars in operation on the Mattapan line.|
Morris (Morrie) Fisher, 79, of Pacific Grove, CA, the longest-serving member of the Monterey-Salinas Transit Board of Directors in its history, died March 13.
Fisher served 23 years on the board, including 19 years as its chairman or vice chairman. He also was a 22-year member of the Pacific Grove City Council and served three terms as mayor.
The following brief reports recount some of the highlights from the APTA Legislative Conference.
Howard: Define Terms of Infrastructure Proposal
Jack Howard, senior vice president, congressional and public affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called on APTA members to help define the terms of the infrastructure proposal forthcoming from the Trump administration, which he said he hoped would be underway by August.
“We want a focus on real projects that will result in long-term economic growth,” Howard said during “The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry,” a breakfast session sponsored by the APTA Business Member Activity Fund.
Further, he said, public transit supporters must make Congress understand that “infrastructure is more than just highways. We must make that case.”
|APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes, left, and APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White, right, with speaker Jack Howard of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, second from left, and BMBG Chair Jeffrey Wharton.|
Howard noted that more than two-thirds of Republicans serving in the House were elected since 2010, meaning that they have never worked with a president of their own party until now and are used to serving as the opposition.
He also reported on the challenges facing Congress and the president, including the upcoming issue of whether to raise the debt ceiling and the April 28 deadline to pass FY 2017 appropriations bills before continuing resolutions expire that day.
Jeffrey Wharton, chair of the APTA Business Member Board of Governors; member, APTA Board of Directors; member-at-large, APTA Executive Committee; and president, IMPulse NC LLC, Mount Olive, NC, presided at the session. “I’m proud of business members’ role in building partnerships,” he said, noting that APTA business members have planned a fly-in for later in the year.
APTA is a longtime member of the U.S. Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition and has worked with business, labor and highway interests on recent authorization bills, a partnership that will continue on new infrastructure investment proposals.
Strong Transit Leads to Vibrant Cities and Neighborhoods
Robust public transportation strengthens the heart of city and regional development by leveraging investments, revitalizing neighborhoods and supporting jobs, said panelists at the “Public Transportation: A Catalyst to Local Economic Development” session.
|Panel moderator Valarie J. McCall, left, with Robin-Eve Jasper, Tom Murphy and Scott Rowe.|
McCall cited a study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy reporting that the HealthLine returned $114 for every $1 invested, “the highest ROI of any public transit project in North America, regardless of mode.”
Pittsburgh’s former mayor, Tom Murphy, now with the Urban Land Institute, encouraged attendees to take advantage of changing employment patterns and shifting lifestyle choices by people who want to live in cities.
“Take advantage of this moment,” Murphy said. “Will we think about transit as we have for the last 30, 40 or 50 years or look at what’s happening today?” he asked. “It’s up to us.”
Scott Rowe, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Upper Marlboro, MD, described the evolution of TOD at a shopping center on WMATA’s Yellow and Green Metrorail lines.
“You can afford to wait; you only get it right once,” he said, adding that agencies should use their influence to advocate for TOD-friendly regulations.
Robin-Eve Jasper, NoMa Business Improvement District, Washington, DC, described transit’s role in the neighborhood, which includes a stop on WMATA’s Red Line that opened in 2004.
“Ten years later in 2014, 2.6 million square feet of office, 270,000 square feet of retail and 3,300 residential units had been added,” she said.
The Transit Coalition: Partners in Funding
APTA’s coalition partners in the surface transportation authorization process discussed in a session how their organizations and members are advocating for additional infrastructure investment under a new administration.
Diana C. Mendes, member, APTA Board of Directors; vice chair, Legislative Committee; HNTB Corp., moderated the session. Referring to the current political landscape, Mendes said, “we need to think creatively and build all the partnerships we can to advance our shared outcomes.”
|HNTB’s Diana Mendes, vice chair, Legislative Committee, moderated a panel of public transit coalition members, including, from left, Jim Tymon, AASHTO; Sean O’Neill, Associated General Contractors of America; and Dean Franks, ARTBA.|
Jim Tymon, COO/director of policy and management, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said his organization represents all modes of transportation and “we are committed to multimodal solutions to transportation issues. We don’t just look at things from the highway perspective.”
He added that it was “great to get the FAST Act for multiyear projects,” but said the problem is that five years of “predictability and stability doesn’t mean a whole lot if Congress is not able to pass yearly appropriations bills.” Without a full year 2017 appropriations bill, Tymon said, “states and transit agencies are behind the eight ball because we’re looking at the upcoming construction season.”
Sean O’Neill, senior director, congressional relations, infrastructure advancement, Associated General Contractors of America, said his members’ focus in the short term is on the FY 2017 appropriations bill being passed into law.
He expressed concern as well about the upcoming construction season and said state DOTs “won’t let projects happen whether they be transit projects or construction projects.”
Dean Franks, vice president, congressional relations, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, echoed the need for a full 2017 bill.
One of his association’s focuses, he added, is the possibility of including a Highway Trust Fund fix in any tax reform package considered by Congress.
Welcome to Washington: The Insider Perspective
During “Welcome to Washington,” Amy Walter, national editor, Cook Political Report, and Robert Costa, national political reporter, Washington Post, shared their insights on the dynamics between the new administration and Congress.
Paul Wiedefeld, member, APTA Board of Directors, and general manager/CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, welcomed attendees.
Walter said the traditional “rules of the game we have played by, that certain rule of political gravity that campaigns had to follow, got thrown out and we had an untraditional, unorthodox candidate. Now we have an untraditional, unorthodox president and it’s either going to work or it’s not.”
What’s working, said Walter, is that Trump has a Republican base that is committed to him. And, she noted, he still has a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans.
|Session speakers included, from left, Gregory R. Yates, AECOM; Paul Wiedefeld, WMATA GM/CEO; Amy Walter, Cook Political Report; Robert Costa, Washington Post; APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes; and APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White.|
She encouraged attendees to watch what is taking place in the Oval Office and not get caught up in the distractions.
Costa recounted the more than 50 interviews he has had with Trump since 2013, during which the president talked often about immigration, trade and rebuilding America.
Costa also spoke about White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who “truly believes in things like infrastructure and transportation.” He said Bannon is “at the heart of this presidency and is the one, in fact, who proposed the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan that was floated to Trump.”
Saying he’s known both men for a long time, Costa said, “I can tell you they are not Republicans at heart, but in Bannon’s words, he is kind of a populist nationalist. And Trump is a Trumpist—he wants to win and he is willing to change.”
Upcoming hearings on Capitol Hill, he said, will forecast much of what is in store. AECOM sponsored the session.
Words and Pictures
Supplement these articles by watching videos of the Opening General Session and the General Session featuring members of Congress. Find them here.
A $200 billion investment in public transit—a portion of President Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan—could create 10 million jobs nationwide and help sustain economic growth by contributing $800 billion to the Gross Domestic Product over a 20-year period, according to the APTA Infrastructure Analysis released during a press conference at the recent Legislative Conference.
Several national news media participated in the press conference, including the Washington Post, NBC News, National Public Radio, CQ/Roll Call, Politico, The Hill, Chicago Reporter and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, in addition to many local and trade publications.
“Public transit’s role in getting people to work and bringing customers to businesses results in the far reaching economic impact of this investment,” said APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes, executive director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA.
“This, coupled with our extensive supply chain, provides for manufacturing jobs in small, mid-size and large communities,” Barnes added.
Public transit agency executives joined Barnes to share local stories about the impact of increased federal investment on public transportation. They were Dorval Carter, president, Chicago Transit Authority; Paul Wiedefeld, general manager/chief executive officer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Michael Terry, president/chief executive officer, IndyGo, Indianapolis; and Eric Wolf, general manager, Altoona (PA) Metro Transit, and APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White.
For details, contact Mantill Williams.
|Transit agency GMs who participated in the press conference during the Legislative Conference included, from left, Eric Wolf, Altoona (PA) Metro Transit; Dorval Carter, Chicago Transit Authority; APTA Acting President & CEO Richard White; Chair Doran J. Barnes; Paul Wiedefeld, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; and Michael Terry, IndyGo.|
Click here to see more photos from the 2017 APTA Legislative Conference.
APTA continues to add general session speakers to the schedule for the 2017 Bus & Paratransit Conference, May 7-10 in Reno, NV.
Presenters at “How Transit Agencies Are Integrating Rideshare and Public Transportation” will consider new approaches for public transit agencies to coordinate and integrate with car-sharing, ride-sharing and bike-sharing services to create a convenient, efficient system.
The moderator will be Susan Shaheen, co-director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. Panelists are Emily Castor, transportation policy director, Lyft Inc.; Dani Simons, director of communications and external affairs, Motivate; Justin Holmes, director, corporate communications, Zipcar; and Chris Lowe, executive director, Bus Association Victoria Inc., Port Melbourne, Australia.
“Reimagining Bus Service in Your Region” will feature public transit agency chief executives describing their efforts to redesign their bus systems to align with employment centers and growth patterns. The moderator will be Thomas C. Lambert, member, APTA Board of Directors and president and CEO of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. Panelists include Linda Watson, president/CEO, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX; Henry Li, general manager/CEO, Sacramento Regional Transit District; Edward D. Reiskin, director of transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; and W. Curtis Stitt, member, APTA Board of Directors, and president/CEO, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus.
To register, click here.
The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) is accepting applications for its 2017 scholarships for college students or public transit professionals who are interested in pursuing or advancing a career in the public transportation industry.
Applications must be submitted electronically by 5 p.m. (eastern) June 16. APTF will award a minimum of 20 scholarships for the academic year, beginning in the fall 2017 semester. The scholarships range from $2,500 to $5,000 each and cover tuition or other educational expenses.
Find details at the APTF website or contact Lindsey Robertson.
As this Passenger Transport enlists the help of industry leaders to predict “the next big thing” for transit technology (see elsewhere in this issue), our look back in PT’s archives revealed this June 19, 1970 issue, which explores tech-related news from a few perspectives.
Consider this page 1 story, which credits the “technologies and materials of aerospace research with giving one of man’s oldest energy concepts a modern application.”
BY BOB GRAVES
Second perhaps only to waterways, road systems have had the greatest impact on the design and physical structure of our cities. The car-centric redesign of the American city that began in the early 20th century was embraced with open arms by urban planners and citizens alike. Yet now, in the early 21st century, its limitations are clear. There is a rapidly growing awareness that simply expanding our roadways won’t end congestion and gridlock.
The future, more and more urban transportation experts are coming to believe, lies in mobility-friendly networks in which cars are just one element—and an ever-shrinking one as we move from a system in which the personally owned vehicle is king and toward a multimodal future of on-demand driverless vehicles, ride-sharing, expanded public transit, greater reliance on human-powered transportation and other alternatives.
How far could such a new mobility paradigm take us? Jerry Weiland, a 30-year veteran of General Motors who now leads the Rocky Mountain Institute’s mobility program, believes that, over the long haul, the United States could reduce the number of urban/suburban vehicles on the road by up to 90 percent and in the process redefine cities just as the horseless carriage once did.
Whether or not this scenario plays out, it’s clear that cities need a roadmap to guide the next generation of infrastructure investment decisions. Roads and bridges last a long time, and new infrastructure is costly. What should city leaders be thinking about when they look at repositioning their infrastructure for the future?
The Power of Robust Networks
“The first thing cities should understand is that all of the transportation infrastructure is about networks, whether it’s bike-share, whether it’s light rail, whether it’s roads,” says Cooper Martin, co-author of a 2015 National League of Cities’ report, City of the Future: Technology & Mobility. “One line, one bike-share station, one road doesn’t cut it.”
Martin illustrates this concept by describing how the original Washington, DC, bike-share system played out when it was piloted several years ago. The city installed a limited number of stations around the city, then declared the system a failure because few people were using it. But later, when the system was built out on sufficient scale, it flourished. The problem wasn’t lack of demand but the need to create a network robust enough to be useful.
For many decades, until its own growth began clogging roads and intruding too heavily on neighborhoods, the individually owned automobile was just such a robust solution. Its success sets a high expectation in our minds for an acceptable replacement. “We have to devise a solution that’s 100 percent fail-safe,” Weiland says. “The new mobility has to offer people a complete answer, not a partial one. Otherwise you’re not going to get rid of your car.”
It’s safe to say that the best fail-safe alternative solution is a multimodal transportation system in which many options—bikes, transit, car- and ride-sharing—are readily available at a moment’s notice along the direction of travel. With near real-time information, the traveler can seamlessly shift from one mode to another and choose the one most suited to his or her needs.
So how will our cities get to that seamless, fail-safe, multimodal future? Due to varying population densities, economic resources, legacy infrastructure and resident demands, no two communities will take the same approach. Certainly in rural communities—and no doubt many suburban ones—the personally owned car will remain the dominant transportation choice for some time.
But in more urban settings, networked alternative transportation choices are already proving to be very dependable alternatives. With improving integration across transportation modes and seamless payment solutions, their growth is all but secured.
Our mobility-friendly, multimodal urban transportation future may be closer that we realize.
Graves is associate director of the Governing Institute, the designated content curator for the FutureStructure initiative and a co-founder of e.Republic, the parent organization of Governing. This column is reprinted with permission from Governing magazine. Copyrighted 2017. E.Republic, Inc. 128343:0317CH
"Commentary" features points of view from various sources to enhance readers' broad awareness of themes that affect public transportation.
Here is the text of the latest two pages of People on the Move. To see the complete version of these pages, which include graphics, click here.
LONDON, U.K.—Network Rail Consulting, based in London, has opened a Canadian subsidiary headquartered in Toronto and named Susanne M. Manaigre vice president to lead the office. Manaigre’s 30 years of rail experience include serving as chief of operations for GO Transit/Metrolinx in the Toronto region.
OAKLAND, CA—Peter Gertler has rejoined HNTB Corporation as a senior vice president in a corporate and national strategic business development role. He previously served the firm from 2004-2014 as rail and transit market service leader and principal project manager.
Gertler is a nationally recognized rail and public transit expert with three decades of infrastructure experience. Prior to rejoining HNTB, he managed global business and strategic development for a technology firm.
For APTA, he is a former member of the Board of Directors and numerous committees and immediate past chair of the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Committee.