Passenger Transport - November 17, 2017
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BREAKING NEWS

APTA Board of Directors Selects Paul P. Skoutelas as APTA's President and CEO

In a unanimous vote Nov. 17, the APTA Board of Directors named Paul P. Skoutelas to serve as the association’s next president and chief executive officer. Skoutelas has spent his entire career in public transportation, leading transit systems in Pittsburgh and Orlando, and as a senior vice president with WSP USA.

APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr, chief executive officer, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority, said, “Paul Skoutelas is a well-respected and recognized transportation leader who has a vision and a passion for our industry. His strong management expertise, his extensive knowledge and understanding of the industry and of APTA, and his excellent communication and consensus-building skills make him ideally suited to lead APTA into the future.”

In accepting the position, Skoutelas said, “I am honored and excited to be selected as president and CEO of this outstanding organization. Public transportation has been more than my profession; it has been my lifelong passion. I commit to the board, our members and the staff my undivided attention, energy and leadership as we work together to take APTA to new heights and to create greater opportunities for our industry.”

Skoutelas is currently national director of WSP’s Transit and Rail Technical Excellence Center and serves as national transit and rail market leader. He joined WSP in 2005 after two successful tenures as CEO, at the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh and the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in Orlando.

He serves on APTA’s Board of Directors and is a very active member of the association. He has been a member of the Executive Committee, secretary-treasurer, and has chaired several task forces. He is a past president of the Florida Transit Association and has served on the boards of transportation organizations including the Transportation Research Board, the National Transit Institute and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Skoutelas will begin Jan. 8 and will relocate from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

His full bio is available here.

The APTA board also commended and thanked Acting President and CEO Richard White for helping to stabilize APTA and put it on a strong path for the future over the last 19 months. White will work with Skoutelas for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition.

APTA undertook a thorough, transparent and inclusive process to select its president and CEO. Beginning work in September 2016, the 50-member task force, led by Immediate Past Chair Doran J. Barnes, chief executive officer, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, was divided into four working groups to address the different aspects of the search process. This included recommending the hiring of the search firm Krauthamer & Associates and seeking member and stakeholder input on the attributes needed for the next CEO.

The second working group developed a compensation policy, and working group three developed a performance evaluation policy.

Working Group 4, which represented all segments of the association’s membership, oversaw the recruitment process and interviewed candidates. This group narrowed the field over the course of two rounds of interviews and unanimously recommended the appointment of Skoutelas. He was selected from a diverse pool that included 65 well-qualified individuals. Barnes noted it was gratifying that there were many qualified candidates. “It was a difficult choice but the working group was diligent and focused on finding the very best leader for APTA. We believe that Paul is the right person to lead APTA,” he said.

Members of Working Group 4 include:
•    Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., APTA chair and CEO, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority
•    Doran J. Barnes, APTA immediate past chair and CEO, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA
•    David M. Stackrow Sr., APTA vice chair and chairman, Capital District Transportation Authority, Albany, NY
•    Kim R. Green, APTA secretary/treasurer and executive director of business development, Genfare
•    Valarie J. McCall, APTA past chair and member, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees
•    Mike Allegra, member, APTA Board of Directors; president, KivAllegra Consulting, and executive advisor to Mott MacDonald; former president, Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City
•    Dorval Carter, APTA Executive Committee member and president, Chicago Transit Authority
•    Kristen Joyner, president, South West Transit Association
•    Paul Larrousse, chair, APTA Workforce Development Committee, and member, APTA Board of Directors; executive director, National Transit Institute
•    Bacarra Sanderson Mauldin, member, APTA Executive Committee, and board member, Birmingham (AL) Regional Paratransit Consortium dba ClasTran
•    Lauren Skiver, former member, APTA Board of Directors, and CEO/general manager, SunLine Transit Agency, Thousand Palms, CA
•    Jeff Wharton, chair, Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG), and Executive Committee member; president, IMPulse NC LLC 
•    Eve Williams, BMBG second vice chair and president/CEO, Dikita Engineering

Members of Working Group 4, from left: Eve Williams, Dorval Carter, Baccara Sanderson Mauldin, Mike Allegra, Doran Barnes, David Stackrow, Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Kim Green, Paul Larrousse, Kristen Joyner, Valarie J. McCall, Jeff Wharton. Not shown: Lauren Skiver.

NEWS HEADLINES

Congressional Outlook for Tax Reform

House and Senate Republicans have been working to pass tax reform legislation by the end of this year. The House passed its proposed tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), on Nov. 16.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a detailed description of the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Nov. 9, but has yet to unveil any legislative text. Throughout the week, the Senate Republican proposal was considered and amended in the Finance Committee, which then approved it the night of Nov. 16. Senate Republicans hope to vote on their version of the bill in the full Senate the week after Thanksgiving.

Once the House and Senate pass their versions of the act, they will have to reconcile the differences between the bills. A final bill will then have to be passed by both chambers before it can be signed into law by the president. Republicans hope to have the final bill passed before the end of the year.

The House GOP bill does the following:

Removes the current tax deduction for employers who help defray the cost of commuting for their employees,
thereby creating a possible disincentive for workplaces to offer this critical benefit. The bill would retain the commuter tax benefit for individuals as the pretax payroll deduction.

Repeals the use of Private Activity Bonds (PAB),
which are an important infrastructure financing mechanism, thus eliminating PABs as a tool to attract private-sector investment and encourage public-private partnerships.

Eliminates the advance refundability of municipal bonds, and therefore the ability to take advantage of lower interest rates for a one-time refinance.
The advance refundability contributes significantly to the attractiveness and utility of municipal bonds, which are an important infrastructure financing mechanism.

Fails to extend the alternative fuels and related infrastructure tax credits
that expired on Dec. 31, 2016. In particular, U.S. ­public transit agencies benefit from the 50-cent-per-gasoline gallon equivalent tax credit offered to transit agencies fueling their vehicles with compressed or liquefied natural gas.

While legislative text for the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has not been released, and is subject to amendment in the Finance Committee, its current form:

Removes the current tax deduction for employers who help subsidize the cost of commuting for their employees,
as in the House language. It appears, like H.R. 1, to continue the pretax commuter benefit, which allows employees to use pretax dollars to get to work and a payroll tax deduction for employers.

Eliminates the advance refundability of municipal bonds and fails to extend the alternative fuels and related infrastructure tax credits, just as the House bill does.

Retains the use of PABs,
another important infrastructure financing tool. Keeping PABs as a way to attract private-sector investment and encourage public-private partnerships is a positive difference between the Senate and House bills.

Unfortunately, neither bill would address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. This tax bill represents the best and most realistic oppor­tunity to accomplish this goal.

APTA urged Congress to “use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the tax code to encourage greater investment in our nation’s infrastructure.”

For more details on the House Republican bill, see the APTA Legislative Alert and read APTA’s letter to the members of the House Committee on Ways and Means. APTA has conveyed its concerns with the Senate Republican proposal in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee. For more information on the Senate proposal, see APTA’s Legislative Alert.

Metra Completes Upgrades to McCormick Place Station

Metra commuter rail in Chicago joined the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) recently to unveil an upgrade to the station at McCormick Place.

The project included the redesign and renovation of the waiting room, a new digital signage and sound system, new lighting and enhancements to the platform area, the addition of more visible signage to direct customers to and from the station, and a series of mural paintings from Chicago Public School students.

“We believe we’ve created a much more inviting, comfortable and functional Metra station, one worthy of being located in the world-class McCormick Place Convention Center,” said Metra Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director Don Orseno. “Metra has always been a quick and easy way to get to the convention center, and this new facility can only make our trains an even more popular option.”

When McCormick Place—the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America—hosts a major trade show or convention, the Metra Electric Line can serve thousands of additional customers per day. Longstanding shows continue to include Metra service as a part of their transportation plan. In 2016, those shows generated nearly 37,000 trips and more than $126,000 in fare revenue.

“We want Metra and other train riders to know when they have arrived at the McCormick Square campus,” said MPEA Chief Executive Officer Lori Healey. “The six bold murals painted by these talented young artists create a unique and welcoming environment.”

In the longer term, Metra is exploring the addition of a crossover track south of the station that would increase the capacity for train service between ­McCormick Place and Millennium Station, allowing Metra to provide additional rapid transit service when warranted.

Metra CEO/Executive Director Don Orseno, at podium, joins students who created the murals in the redesigned McCormick Place Station. Chicago Alderman Sophia King and Michael Merchant, MPEA director of intergovernmental affairs, are behind Orseno.

 

Broward County Transit Selected as a Model for Operations in Barbados

Broward County Transit (BCT) hosted a high-level delegation from the public transportation authority of Barbados that was visiting South Florida to learn about the most up-to-date advances in bus dispatch and traffic control, route scheduling, safety and security techniques and vehicle maintenance and repair. The Barbadian government is restructuring its public transit system.

Chris Walton, director of Broward County Transportation Department, led the tour. BCT, with bus operations in Dania Beach and Pompano Beach, is the second largest public transit system in Florida and provides services to parts of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

“We appreciate the opportunity to showcase BCT operations to the Barbados Transport Authority,” Walton said. “The visiting delegation admired the technology we use to track our buses and the maintenance of our vehicles … [and] expressed interest in adopting similar technology as they modernize and expand bus service in their country.”

Barbados Transport Authority Director Alex Linton said his agency’s goals are to “increase efficiency, expand bus service via private tours to bring in more revenue, upgrade our vehicle maintenance program and offer more advertising space on our vehicles.”

Participants in the Barbados Transport Authority’s visit to BCT, from left: Alex Linton, Barbados Transport Authority director; James Fourcade, BCT director of maintenance; Michael Lashley, Barbados minister of transportation; Abdul Pandor, Barbados Transport Authority chairman; Colin Mayers, Barbados consul general; Corwin Gibbs, BCT director of bus operations; and Chris Walton, director of Broward County Transportation.

 

Six Ohio Agencies Receive State EPA Emissions Grants

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) recently awarded a total of $10.4 million in ­Diesel Emission Reduction Grants (DERG) to six public transit agencies in the state for the replacement of older buses with newer, alternatively fueled or cleaner vehicles.

The largest grant, $2 million, went to the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus for the replacement of five diesel buses with new buses powered by CNG. Laketran in Lake County and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority each received almost $2 million for new buses, diesel for Laketran and CNG for Cleveland.

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority received $1.8 million to replace five older diesel buses with new diesel vehicles. The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Canton, will replace two diesel buses, one with a CNG bus and one with a hydrogen-powered bus, with its $1.5 million grant, and Cincinnati’s Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will use its $1.1 million grant to replace four diesel buses with new diesel vehicles.

The DERG program aims to replace public transit vehicles that are operating beyond their useful life to improve air quality while addressing needs identified in the Ohio DOT Statewide Transit Needs Study. It is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality dollars awarded by FHWA to Ohio DOT. Each grant recipient will provide a 20 percent local match.

DBEs Receive More than $1 Billion Through RTD's FasTracks

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) has disbursed more than $1 billion to small businesses—including women- and minority-owned and disadvantaged companies—over the past 12 years through the voter-approved FasTracks initiative to strengthen the region’s public transit infrastructure and boost the local economy.

“An important part of the story behind the infrastructure we are building is about those who are building it,” said RTD Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Dave Genova. “Small businesses have literally laid the foundation for each of our projects. Reaching this milestone is a testament to the strong partnerships built among our agency, prime contractors, resource partners and hundreds of small businesses.”

By receiving federal funds, RTD is required to have a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program for its federally-funded construction, design and engineering work. Over the past three years, RTD has met or exceeded its DBE goal of 19 percent on federally funded projects and since Fiscal Year 2017 has increased the goal to 24 percent.

Beginning in 2005 with an award to Jacobs Engineering Group to manage the project, FasTracks contracts have benefited more than 600 small and disadvantaged firms and more than 2,200 subcontractors. Contracts have ranged from thousands to multiple millions of dollars, with many firms receiving more than one award.

“Many small businesses were born and others grew out of the opportunities presented by FasTracks projects,” Genova said. “As firms become more competitive, everyone benefits: employees, the companies themselves, the larger business community and the state of Colorado.”

Senate Approves Kan as DOT Under Secretary

The Senate confirmed Derek Kan to be the next DOT under secretary for policy, the third highest post in the department, by a 90-7 vote.

Kan, general manager of Lyft, has served on the Amtrak Board of Directors since 2015 and previously was a policy advisor for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He also was a presidential management fellow at the Office of Management and Budget.


METRO Celebrates the Astros' Victory


As hundreds of thousands of Astros fans gathered in downtown Houston for the parade celebrating the team’s first World Series win, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) joined in with one of the high water vehicles the agency used during Hurricane Harvey to help transport people to shelters and get supplies to those in need. The day’s ridership of 395,000 was the largest in METRO’s history.

New CEO Named: Eagan Kelleman, Port Authority of Allegheny County

Pittsburgh’s Port Authority of Allegheny County has named ­Katharine Eagan Kelleman its new chief executive ­officer, effective January 2018. Kelleman has been chief ­executive officer of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, FL, since 2009 and earlier was the agency’s chief operating officer. At the Port Authority, she will succeed David Donahoe, who has been serving on an interim basis since Ellen McLean stepped down earlier this year.

Kelleman is a member of several APTA committees.


In Memoriam: Baer, Past CEO, St. Louis Metro

Robert J. Baer, 80, president and chief executive officer of Metro in St. Louis from 1974-77 and again from 2007 until his retirement in 2010, died Nov. 12. He was a former member of the APTA Rail Transit CEOs Subcommittee.

 

APTA NEWS

APTA to Host 4th Annual High-Speed Rail Policy Forum

APTA will host its Fourth Annual High-Speed Rail Policy Forum, “Getting to a Tipping Point for High-Performance Intercity Passenger Rail,” Nov. 29 at the APTA offices in Washington, DC.

The full-day event will probe the state, local and federal partnerships required to advance high-performance passenger rail projects. Featured speakers include state and federal public transit officials and staff, representatives from Capitol Hill and transportation advisors who will discuss strategies for moving forward on an ambitious passenger rail agenda.

FRA Acting Administrator Heath Hall will give the keynote address. Introductory speakers will include APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Acting President & CEO Richard White and High-Speed & Intercity Rail Committee Chairwoman Anna Barry, deputy commissioner, Connecticut DOT. Topics will include the state of high-speed rail around the world, innovative funding and finance, congressional perspectives and strategies for improving on-time performance and strengthening high-speed rail advocacy.

Registration is required. For hotel and logistics, contact Marcus Eng or Cynthia Owens, and for program information, contact Art Guzzetti. More information is available here.

2017 Mid-Year Safety Seminar Focuses on Rules and Regulations

APTA’s Mid-Year Safety Seminar, Dec. 4-7 in Houston, will bring together public transit professionals to network, discuss safety issues and learn from federal and state partners including FTA and FRA leaders.

Topics will include recently passed safety rules and regulations, federal oversight and technical assistance programs, and participants will share best practices regarding safety management systems, hazard and risk management and safety training.

For additional information, contact Brian Alberts. Learn more at the APTA website.

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

FTA Schedules Webinars

FTA has announced two upcoming webinars: on Transit Asset Management (TAM) internal coordination, Nov. 30, and FTA’s Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) plan, Dec. 6.

The hour-long webinar Nov. 30 will cover how public transit ­agencies approach internal coordination to support their TAM efforts, featuring presentations from Matthew Wilson, fixed asset manager for the Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority, and Justin Barclay, asset management coordinator for the Maryland Transit Administration. It is part of a larger FTA webinar series addressing important topics relating to TAM.

Registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be open to the first 500 participants. The webinar also will be recorded and made available on the FTA TAM webpage. To register, click here.

The 90-minute webinar Dec. 6, hosted by FTA and DOT’s ITS-JPO Professional Capacity Building Program, will focus on the STAR plan, a five-year research agenda to move the industry forward with automation technology, including risks, challenges and potential benefits. To register, click here.

SMART Reaches Out to Sonoma County Fire Victims

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District has announced the launch of the Individual Relief Pass and Business Relief Pass programs to help individuals and businesses in Sonoma County, CA, affected by the recent fires.

“Our community is still recovering and we want to do our part to help,” said SMART Board Chairwoman Debora Fudge. “Our goal is to provide some relief for both individuals and families who have lost their homes or their jobs due to the Sonoma County fires, and to help businesses that are struggling to survive in the wake of the fires.”

SMART is providing 5,000 Individual Relief Passes for those who have lost their home, rental unit, or place of employment due to the fires, providing unlimited rides on the commuter rail system through Dec. 31 at no cost to the user. The agency is partnering with more than a dozen community groups and agencies to promote the program and distribute the passes.

For businesses in the region, SMART is providing 5,000 Business Relief Passes to be distributed by the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“SMART’s Business Relief Program is an excellent way to help our local businesses during this difficult time,” said Judy James, chairwoman of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “Many of our businesses have seen a dramatic drop in business, and many of their employees have also lost their homes. This program will help us turn things around and help businesses get back on track through the holidays, which is a critically important time for businesses who rely heavily on that revenue.”

Chilean Bus Program Seeks U.S. Commercial Proposals

The U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, seeks proposals for a bus renovation program in progress at Transantiago, the public transit system in Santiago, Chile.

The agency is undergoing major renovations to its bus fleet and complementary technological services. The renovation of the city’s aging fleet of buses provides business opportunities as the government awards new contracts, especially to companies that can offer innovations in green technology and safety in the renovation of 1,500 buses including 90 powered by electricity and 90 high standard buses (CNG or hybrid).

The bidding guidelines for the Transantiago tender are available for purchasing (around U.S. $500). For information, click here.

The Ministry of Transportation in Chile expects to receive the proposals by Dec. 27 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The U.S. Commercial Service also is interested in receiving information about U.S. chassis manufacturers and CNG stations for buses. For further information, ­contact Claudia Melkonian.

Foothill Transit Introduces Long Range Electric Bus

Foothill Transit in West Covina, CA, introduced the nation’s first-ever long-range electric bus to service Nov. 3 on a 22-mile round trip route.

The Catalyst E2 bus from Proterra can provide continuous service as it charges in-route at a special docking station at the Azusa Intermodal Transit Center. When fully charged, the bus can travel 254 miles, which will allow Foothill Transit to achieve its goal of having an all-electric fleet by 2030.

Foothill Transit Executive Director and former APTA Chair Doran Barnes said, “Going all-electric means we need vehicles that can literally go the distance. We’re still leading the charge, and we can because of the constant evolution of electric bus technology, and because of the dedication of incredible engineers who believe that providing zero-emission vehicles ultimately improve our environment.”

Foothill Transit serves an area of more than 300 square miles with 39 bus routes, some of which have a round trip distance of more than 70 miles. The agency was the first to launch the fast-charge, all-electric bus in 2010, with three initial vehicles being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Its electric fleet has grown to 32 vehicles in the past seven years the electric fleet, with another 13 expected by early next year.

Clara White Mission Operates Cafe for JTA Employees

The Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority (JTA) has entered into a partnership with the Clara White Mission through which mission employees will provide quick breakfast and lunch service to JTA employees and ­contractors.

JTA and the mission commemorated the opening of “Clara’s ­Canteen” at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony at the agency’s Myrtle Avenue Campus.

“We are excited to partner with the Clara White Mission to provide our employees the opportunity to purchase homemade meals at a convenient location,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “This ceremony marks the beginning of a partnership that will also benefit individuals with on-the-job training.”

Since 2003, the mission has provided training in culinary arts and has been licensed by the Florida Department of Education. To date, more than 900 people have graduated from the program and 70 percent remain employed.

The canteen operates weekdays. All proceeds benefit the culinary arts training program.

“Clara White’s multifaceted services are designed to transition our students and graduates into independence in a service learning environment,” said Ju’Coby Pittman, chief executive officer/president of the Clara White Mission. “Our seamless continuum will generate qualified employees for Jacksonville’s workforce in the hospitality industry. This initiative with JTA will allow real people with real issues an opportunity to begin experiencing the quality of life of a new chance, a new choice and hope.”

The Clara White Mission was founded by Dr. Eartha M.M. White, whose compassion for humanity moved her to action. The mission has existed for more than 100 years, dedicated to serving the needs of the less fortunate in the community.

For information, click here.

Cutting the ribbon at “Clara’s Canteen” at the Clara White Mission, from left: Clara White Mission CEO/President Ju’Coby Pittman, JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Miss Jacksonville Corporate America Karen Britt and JTA Vice President of Administration Cleveland Ferguson.

 

COMMENTARY

Access to Jobs by Public Transit Increases in Many U.S. Metropolitan Areas

BY ANDREW OWEN, Director, Accessibility Observatory, University of Minnesota
BRENDAN MURPHY, Lead Researcher, Accessibility Observatory, University of Minnesota
DAVID LEVINSON, Professor of Transport, School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney

Annually updated research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota ranks 49 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for connecting workers with jobs via public transit.

This year’s report—Access Across America: Transit 2016—presents detailed accessibility values for each of the 49 metropolitan areas, as well as detailed block-level color maps that illustrate the spatial patterns of accessibility within each area.

The new rankings, part of a national pooled-fund study that began in 2013, focus on accessibility, a measure that examines both land use and transportation systems. Accessibility measures how many destinations, such as jobs, can be reached in a given time.

Though rankings of the top 10 metro areas for job accessibility by public transit remain unchanged from the previous year, new data comparing changes within each of the 49 largest U.S. metros over one year helped researchers identify the places with the greatest increases in access to jobs by transit. Cincinnati and Charlotte improved more than 11 percent.

Seattle, which ranks eighth for job accessibility by transit, improved nearly 11 percent. In all, 36 of the 49 largest metros showed increases in job accessibility by transit.

The cities that make up the top 10 transit accessibility ranks all exhibit a combination of high-density land use and fast, frequent transit service. However, there is still significant variation within this group.

In New York, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago, fast heavy rail systems connect both urban and suburban areas with a highly employment-dense core. It is instructive to compare these cities to Atlanta, which has a similar but smaller rail system but a much more decentralized job and population distribution and lower ­accessibility.

Seattle and Denver both have rapidly expanding light rail systems, supported by extensive and frequent bus networks.

Though Portland, OR, is famous for its streetcar service, this covers only a small part of the city and operates mostly in mixed traffic with very little access to proprietary right-of-way, limiting its service speed. Its urban growth boundary, combined with frequent bus service throughout core areas and light rail connections to suburban areas, likely plays a more important role in providing high accessibility: by encouraging both residents and employers to locate in parts of the city already well served by public transit, each new resident enjoys high accessibility but imposes only a small marginal burden on the system’s existing resources.

This new data makes it possible to see the change from year to year in how well a metro area is facilitating access to jobs by transit. Transit is an essential transportation service for many Americans, and the Observatory directly compares the accessibility performance of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

Key factors affecting the rankings for any metro area include the number of jobs available and where they are located, the availability of transit service and population size, density and location. Better coordination of public transit service with the location of jobs and housing will improve job accessibility by transit.

The findings have a range of uses and implications. State DOTs, MPOs and public transit agencies can apply the evaluations to performance goals related to congestion, reliability and sustainability. In addition, detailed accessibility evaluation can help in selecting between project alternatives and prioritizing investments.

The research is sponsored by the National Accessibility Evaluation Pooled-Fund Study, a multi-year effort led by Minnesota DOT and supported by partners including FHWA and 11 additional state DOTs.

The Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota is a leading resource for the research and application of accessibility-based transportation system evaluation. The Observatory is a program of the Center for Transportation Studies, a national leader in fostering innovation in transportation. Reprinted by permission.

Owen Murphy Levinson

Top Increases in Job Accessibility by Transit
  1.  Cincinnati  (+11.23%)
  2.  Charlotte  (+11.02%)
  3.  Orlando  (+10.83%)
  4.  Seattle  (+10.80%)
  5.  Providence  (+10.65%)
  6.  Phoenix  (+7.51%)
  7.  Riverside  (+6.59%)
  8.  Milwaukee  (+6.53%)
  9.  Hartford  (+6.44%)
10.  New Orleans  (+6.18%)

Top 10 Metro Areas for Job Accessibility by Transit
  1.  New York
  2.  San Francisco
  3.  Chicago
  4.  Washington
  5.  Los Angeles
  6.  Boston
  7.  Philadelphia
  8.  Seattle
  9.  San Jose
10.  Denver

"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.

CORONA, CA—Tolar Manufacturing Company has promoted five-year employee Kristen Allen to quality control manager. She joined the company in 2012 as an entry-level design engineer while attending college, later becoming communications liaison and quality control assistant.

 

PLATTSBURGH, NY—Prevost has named 26-year employee Guy French vice president and general manager for services for Prevost and Nova Bus following the retirement of Clay Flynt after 33 years with the Volvo Group, 10 of them in this job.


BLOOMSBURG, PA—Karyn M. ­McAlphin has joined SEKISUI Polymer Innovations LLC as design strategist consultant, focusing on product branding and design development. She has more than 18 years of experience in aircraft interior product development.


BLAIRSVILLE, PA—Penn Machine Co. has promoted John Santarlas to general manager, responsible for coordinating operations of the company’s rail transit and locomotive gear divisions, from his previous post leading the Locomotive Gear Division. Earlier he worked in strategic procurement and operational excellence posts with GE Transportation, Siemens and Kongsberg.


VANCOUVER, WA—Jim Quintana, director of operations for C-TRAN, is assuming a new role as the agency’s chief of safety and security. Quintana has served C-TRAN since 1988 in numerous positions including operations and field supervision, dispatching, bus operator training, administrator of organizational training and development, senior manager of customer service and communications and senior manager of development and public affairs.


DALLAS—The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors has elected Sue S. Bauman, representing Dallas on the board since 2016, as its chair for the coming year. She retired from the agency in 2011 as vice president of marketing and communication and now serves on the adjunct faculty at Richland College.

Plano representative Paul N. ­Wageman, elected vice chair, is an attorney and shareholder at the Dallas law firm of Winstead P.C. who joined the board in 2012. Dallas representative Michele Wong Krause, a board member since 2014 and a Dallas attorney, was elected secretary. Garland representative Jonathan R. Kelly, assistant secretary, is a senior portfolio manager with Northern Trust who joined the board in 2016.


NEW YORK CITY—WSP USA, formerly WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, has announced these appointments:

Reneé Ross has been named business development director for transportation and infrastructure in the company’s central region. She is a senior vice president in the firm’s St. Louis office and has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, project management and operations. She joins WSP from a global provider of technical, professional and construction services.

Kirsten Pennington has been named planning manager for the company’s Portland, OR, office. She has almost 20 years of experience with transportation policy, planning and implementation projects and is currently leading the Historic Columbia River Highway Congestion Mitigation and Safety Plan. Pennington served from 2011-2015 as planning manager and interim policy and development manager for Oregon DOT Region 1.

Ken Zatarain, a senior planning manager also based in Portland, will lead the firm’s station access planning for the California High-Speed Rail program. He joins WSP after 30 years with the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, serving most recently as director of service delivery. He co-chairs the APTA Environmental Justice/Title VI Subcommittee and is a member of several other APTA committees.


BUFFALO, NY—The Niagara ­Frontier Transportation Authority announced the promotion of Leonard Hubbard to transportation supervisor at Frontier Station and the hiring of Bob Chapman as resident engineer.

Hubbard previously was transportation supervisor for the agency’s public transit division, supervising operations and station clerks among three bus stations. He also worked in multiple maintenance positions.

Chapman previously worked on construction of the University of Buffalo’s new school of medicine and biomedical science as one of the superintendents.


DENVER—Mark Clendennen and Jason Orme have joined HNTB Corporation’s national rail systems team as rail operations planning manager and senior project manager respectively, based in the firm’s Denver office.

Clendennen has more than 12 years of rail experience, most recently as a project manager for a railroad contractor in Denver and earlier as program manager, rail systems and project management, for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, TX.

Orme comes to HNTB with almost 20 years of experience. He was a key contributor to the development of the GE Transportation Intelligent Control Systems validation and systems engineering processes and procedures.


CLEVELAND—Sheryl King Benford, general counsel and deputy general manager for legal affairs with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, has been inducted into the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Hall of Fame. She received her law degree from the school in 1979 and joined the authority as general counsel in 2000, part of more than 25 years in public-sector legal practice and management.


AUSTIN, TX—Jeff Travillion has been named by the Travis County Commissioners Court as its representative to the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, succeeding Beverly Silas, who stepped down. Travillion, who was elected to the court in 2016 and took office in ­January 2017, worked for the city of Austin for 16 years, retiring as team lead for the Code Department’s Neighborhood Enhancement Team.


LOS ANGELES—Teresa Cole has joined Keolis Transit America as vice president of safety and risk. She previously was senior director of safety in the eastern region for First Group, overseeing public transit and school bus operations across 300 properties. Cole is a member of the National Safety Council Board of Delegates and a past president and secretary for the American Society of Safety Engineers.


WASHINGTON, DC—Leif Dormsjo, former director of the District of Columbia DOT, has joined Louis Berger as senior vice president for infrastructure asset management, based in the Washington office. Dormsjo’s almost 20 years of experience also includes tenures as Maryland DOT deputy secretary, chief of staff for Baltimore DOT and an operations analyst for the Baltimore mayor’s office.


CHICAGO—Thomas J. Kotel, recording secretary of Pipe Fitters Local Union No. 597 since 2006, has joined the Regional Transportation Authority Board of Directors representing the city of Chicago. He was a commissioner on Chicago’s Public Building Commission from October 2012 to September 2017.


CHICAGO—Transdev announced that Gerry Weber has been named chief operating officer of VTMI, the firm’s railroad infrastructure and maintenance-of-way subsidiary. He comes to Transdev from Canadian National Railway, where he served most recently as vice president of supply/fleet/fuel management.


GRAPEVINE, TX—Richard (Rick) Bellew has joined RailPros in the new position of assistant vice president of safety and training. His more than 18 years of experience include leadership positions at FRA and railroad services companies. For APTA, he serves on the Rail Safety and Safety Coordinating committees and the Commuter Rail Safety & Security Subcommittee.


ROCKFORD, IL—David Sidney has been named to a four-year term on the Rockford Mass Transit District Board of Trustees, succeeding Gary ­Marzorati, and will serve as the board ­secretary/treasurer. Sidney is project director for Transform Rockford, the region’s strategic plan, and earlier was a comprehensive planning and design manager with the city. He has more than 11 years experience as an urban planner.