Passenger Transport - August 3, 2018
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FTA Begins New Era of Public Transit Safety

Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration

Safety is the number-one priority for U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and for all of us at FTA. In that spirit, I am excited to share some good news.

On July 19 of this year, FTA issued two final regulations to strengthen the safety of our nation’s public transportation systems: the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) rule and the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program rule (PTSCTP).

These rules complete the regulatory foundation for FTA’s National Public Transportation Safety Program, which Congress authorized in 2012 and again in 2015. Through these rules and the implementation of other FTA safety actions, we are entering a new era of public transit safety.

This administration has taken a performance- and risk-based approach to the development of these two new safety rules. The data shows that the greatest safety risk within the transit industry is concentrated in urban areas and rail transit systems. As a result, the requirements of both rules are scaled to address these safety risks.

The PTASP rule implements an innovative, risk-based and performance-based approach to improving transit safety founded on Safety Management System principles. It applies to both rail and bus transit operators in urban areas that provide approximately 97 percent of total public transit trips taken in the U.S. on an annual basis. The rule is not one-size-fits-all. Since no two public transit systems are alike, the rule sets scalable and flexible requirements for safety plans by imposing the appropriate regulatory burden in achieving safety goals.

FTA is deferring applicability of the safety plan rule for 2,000 small and rural public transit systems because these operators pose a lower safety risk. FTA will continue to analyze the safety performance of these systems to determine the need for potential regulatory action.

To further reduce the burden on small providers, states must draft and certify safety plans on behalf of bus operators with 100 or fewer vehicles in peak revenue service, unless the operator opts to draft its own plan. Rail transit agencies and bus operators with more than 100 vehicles in peak service are required to develop and certify their own safety plans.

The safety plan rule takes effect on July 19, 2019, and compliance with the rule is required by July 20, 2020. In the coming months, FTA anticipates making guidance available to public transit agencies to assist in their development of safety plans. We will also provide templates, guidance documents and continue to host webinars on specific topics through the implementation of the rule.

The PTSCTP rule establishes a safety training curriculum to enhance the technical proficiency of rail transit safety personnel in various aspects of safety. The rule is deregulatory, reduces the burden from the current interim requirements and creates a process for individuals to receive credit for completing equivalent but non-FTA-sponsored training courses.

The rule applies to State Safety Oversight employees and contractors who conduct safety audits and examinations of rail transit systems and to rail transit agency employees and contractors who are directly responsible for safety oversight. FTA encourages other safety personnel, including those from bus agencies, to voluntarily participate in the training program.

Individuals responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit have three years to complete applicable training requirements and must complete refresher training every two years thereafter.

The training rule replaces interim requirements and takes effect on Aug. 20, 2018. The two new rules will help make the public transit industry—which provides more than 10 billion passenger trips a year—even safer than it is today, improving safety for all passengers and workers who utilize, operate and maintain our nation’s transit systems. FTA is dedicated to continuing to work with state and industry partners to enhance public transit’s safety record.

Information about the rules, including dates and registration information for upcoming webinars, fact sheets, FAQs and graphics, can be found here and here. Additionally, you can email PTASP-related questions here.

Thank you for your continued partnership and for your commitment to transit safety.

FTA Webinars Focus on Safety Regulations

FTA has scheduled a series of webinars regarding the two final regulations on public transportation safety it issued July 19: the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) rule and the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program (PTSCTP) rule.

The PTASP final rule requires certain rail and bus operators to develop safety plans to better manage their safety risk using Safety Management Systems. The PTSCTP final rule establishes a basic curriculum for rail transit safety personnel responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit systems.

The webinars, which all begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time, are specific to the agencies and modes that must comply with PTASP and PTSCTP. ­Register according to this schedule:

* PTASP, Multimodal Agencies: Monday, Aug. 6, and Thursday, Aug. 30.
* PTASP, State Safety Oversight ­Agencies: Thursday, Aug. 9, and Wednesday, Sept. 5.
* PTASP, Bus-Only Agencies: Tuesday, Aug. 28.
* PTASP, State DOTs: Wednesday, Aug. 29, and Wednesday, Sept. 12.
* PTASP, Rail-Only Agencies: Thursday, Sept. 6.
* PTSCTP: Thursday, Aug. 16.

Senate Passes THUD Appropriations Above FAST Act Levels

On Aug. 1, the Senate voted 92-6 to approve H.R. 6147, which was amended to include four Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills including the Senate’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act, 2019.

This bill, like the 2018 THUD Appropriations Act, provides additional funding for public transportation: $1.3 billion more than authorized by the FAST Act for FY 2019. It includes a total of $16.1 billion for public transportation and intercity passenger rail—$13.6 billion for public transportation and $2.5 billion for intercity passenger rail grants. These total funding levels are slightly less than the historic FY 2018 funding levels.

In a statement, APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas applauded the Senate for passing the legislation. "This strong investment in public transit is directly tied to growing America's economy," he said, citing the connection between public transit investment and economic growth: 87 percent of public transit trips transport people to work and connect them to local businesses, and 71 percent of government funding for public transit flows through the private sector, supporting millions of jobs.

In addition, he commended the Senate for addressing concerns raised by the public transportation industry regarding FTA's new policies of the Capital Investment Grant program.

Click here to read APTA's Legislative Update on the appropriations bill and here to read the statement.

Valley Metro, Waymo Launch Partnership

At an event July 31 at the Valley Metro Rail Operations and Maintenance Center in Phoenix, Valley Metro joined self-driving vehicle provider Waymo to introduce a partnership that is expected to help drive the future of transportation.

Valley Metro Chief Executive Officer Scott Smith said, “This is the first partnership between a public transit system and a private autonomous vehicle company that will provide a mobility service outside of a controlled environment. Think of it as the start of mobility on demand or mobility as a service.”

Valley Metro will begin using the self-driving vehicle technology next month for first- and last-mile transit trips.

At the launch event, where the partners displayed two Waymo vehicles on either side of a Valley Metro Rail light rail vehicle, Phoenix Mayor and Valley Metro Rail Chair Thelda Williams said, “Technology is fueling a transportation revolution. Valley Metro and Waymo are joining forces to pilot autonomous vehicle trips to better understand the purpose of real-life trips and connectivity. AV [autonomous vehicle] technology, combined with public transit’s expertise, will help bolster and reinvent transportation.”

Shaun Stewart, Waymo’s chief business development officer, said, “Waymo is honored to be involved in the exploration of new transportation solutions with Valley Metro. We’re excited to learn how self-driving vehicles may connect people to public transit and help fill some mobility gaps across the greater Phoenix area.”

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said of the partnership, “This is a tremendous leap forward as the public transit industry transforms as the integrator and the backbone of a multimodal system. Congratulations to Valley Metro and Waymo for providing the leadership and a practical test pilot example of how to integrate this technology, which may someday be replicated by many transit agencies across the country.”

Shaun Stewart, Waymo chief business development officer, and Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO, shake hands over forging a new partnership that will help drive the future of transportation. Valley Metro RPTA and Valley Metro Rail board members unanimously approve the technology partnership between the agency and Waymo. From left: Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage, Gilbert Councilmember Brigette Peterson, Glendale Vice Mayor and Valley Metro RPTA Chair Lauren Tolmachoff, Chandler Councilmember Kevin Hartke, Phoenix Mayor and Valley Metro Rail Chair Thelda Williams, Scottsdale Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp and Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith.


St. Louis Metro Opens Cortex Station

Metro in St. Louis celebrated the 25th anniversary of the launch of MetroLink light rail during a July 31 event to dedicate the newest station on the line, Cortex.

Representatives of project partners attended the dedication ceremony for the 38th station in the system, which is also the first to be funded through a P3.

The Cortex MetroLink Station, located between two existing stations, is the 38th in the system. It is expected to provide a new, convenient transportation option for the thousands of employees and visitors in the central corridor of St. Louis, where parking is at a premium.

The event also marked the opening of the first quarter-mile segment of the five-mile Chouteau Greenway pedestrian and bicycle trail, located on the north side of the Cortex Station.

The celebration featured live music and entertainment, mobile health screening services and information about Metro’s Gateway Card smartcard.

Crowds attended the opening of MetroLink’s 38th station, Cortex, at a July 31 event also commemorating the 25th anniversary of the launch of the St. Louis light rail system.


APTA Study Mission to Canada Focuses on Best Practices

An APTA delegation representing public transportation agencies and businesses visited four Canadian cities July 22-27 to learn about how major investments in public transit infrastructure north of the U.S. border are being structured, developed and financed.

APTA members participated in presentations, panel discussions and site visits with Canadian public transportation authorities, government officials and business leaders throughout the six-day mission.

APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas led the 30-member study mission representing both the public and private sectors to Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Canadian systems and ­agencies that participated in the mission included L’Autorité Régionale de Transport ­Métropolitain, the regional authority for metropolitan transport for Montréal; Exo, officially the Metropolitan Transportation Network, the public transit system for the greater Montréal region; Société de Transport de Montréal, the Montreal public transit operator; OC Transpo, the urban transit service of Ottawa; Metrolinx, manager of public transit and road transportation services in the greater Toronto and ­Hamilton areas; the Toronto Transit Commission; and TransLink, the regional transportation network of metropolitan Vancouver.

In addition, the APTA delegation met with the mayors of Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver; U.S. Embassy officials in Ottawa; and national leaders, notably the associate deputy minister for infrastructure and communities for Canada, Yazmine Laroche.

One of APTA’s long-standing international partners, the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), supported and participated in the trip.

Members of the study mission at the conclusion of the event, along with (at center) Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink.

“At a time when the U.S. public transportation industry is adapting to the changing mobility landscape, this study mission gives APTA members a unique opportunity to gain insights from world-class systems and companies that are on the cutting edge of innovation for infrastructure development and operations,” said Ford.

Skoutelas said, “Public transit in Canada is being modernized and transformed thanks to a federal investment in infrastructure that is leveraging provincial, local and private funds. There are relevant lessons for us in the Canadian partnership models for governance, financing and procurement.”

Members of the delegation will share key takeaways at APTA’s Annual Meeting, Sept. 23-27 in Nashville. In addition, APTA will publish a report on the mission in the fall.

APTA's Ford, Skoutelas Address COMTO Meeting

APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. helped kick off the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ (COMTO) recent 47th Annual National Meeting and Training Conference in Baltimore during the Opening Plenary Session, joined by COMTO Chair Warren Montague; Neil Pedersen, executive director, Transportation Research Board; and keynote speaker, Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn.

Ford greeted attendees, acknowledging the leadership of Montague and COMTO President & CEO Brad Mims.

He highlighted the strong, successful and complementary 20-year working relationship between APTA and COMTO, and their mutual mission to increase diversity in the industry and access to opportunities for minorities through advocacy, training and professional development. He noted the benefits he has gained as a member of COMTO as part of his own professional development and acknowledged the organization for presenting him with the Thomas G. Neusom Founders’ Leadership Award last year.

Ford said the close collaboration between APTA and COMTO is more important now than ever. He explained that the new mobility paradigm is here, driven by the “Mobility as a Service” megatrend, and disrupting the public transit industry as we know it.

“We need to embrace the change,” he continued. “Earlier this month, we conducted APTA’s first Mobility Summit, ‘The Future of Mobility—From Transit Authority to Mobility Integrator,’ bringing together global thought leaders to address the seismic shift in the way we think about transportation—and it will continue to grow and become more interconnected.”

Ford announced that APTA has decided to induct the co-founders of COMTO, the late Rev. Jerry Moore and the late Harold Williams, into the APTA Hall of Fame at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Nashville. His announcement was met with a resounding standing ovation. He also acknowledged Bacarra Mauldin, chair of the APTA Awards Committee, for her leadership and hard work.

Skoutelas on Panel at Luncheon
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas was a panelist during COMTO’s Legislative Luncheon, joined by moderator Anibar Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group; FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams; Maryland DOT Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr.; and Michelle Pourciau, director of Baltimore DOT.

In response to the questions “How do we better predict the future of transportation?” and “What do you think is the next frontier for transportation and what are the responsibilities of the public and private sectors in guiding this process?”, Skoutelas noted how the mobility paradigm is transforming the public transportation industry, from one of operators of vehicles and fleets to becoming managers of a community’s mobility options. He listed new technology and business partnerships connecting complementary services, including public transportation, ridesharing, bike and scooter sharing and autonomous vehicles.

Photos by Frank T. Martin

FTA Announces Four More SSO Certifications

FTA has announced that ­Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin have obtained federal certification of their rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Programs in advance of the April 15, 2019, deadline.

These four states bring to 21 the number of U.S. states and territories that have obtained certification by that date, out of a total of 30 states and 31 SSO Programs. By federal law, the deadline cannot be waived or extended; if a state fails to meet the deadline, FTA is prohibited from awarding any new funds to transit agencies within the state until certification is achieved.

Arkansas DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Rock Region METRO streetcar system in North Little Rock. Louisiana DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority streetcar system. Texas DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Houston METRO light rail systems, the Dallas and El Paso streetcar systems and the Galveston and McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (Dallas) trolley systems. Wisconsin DOT is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Milwaukee and Kenosha Area Transit streetcar systems.

To achieve FTA certification, an SSO Program must meet several federal statutory requirements, including establishing an agency that is financially and legally independent from the rail transit agencies it oversees. In addition, a state must ensure that its agency adopts and enforces relevant federal and state safety laws, has investigatory authority and has appropriate financial and human resources for the number, size and complexity of the rail transit systems within the state’s jurisdiction.+

Tribal Transit Webinar Aug. 8

FTA has scheduled a webinar with information about its Tribal Transit Program competitive funding activity at 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Aug. 8, relating to the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program issued July 11. Advance registration is required for the webinar.

The application deadline is Sept. 10 for the program, which awards funds competitively to help with planning, capital and, in limited circumstances, operating assistance for tribal public transit services. Last year, FTA received 73 project proposals from tribes totaling approximately $14.2 million, although only $5 million was available for award.

Click here to register for the webinar.

SEPTA Enters Partnership with NRG Energy

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and NRG Energy announced a partnership July 26 that includes the renaming of SEPTA’s Broad Street Line station originally known as Pattison Station at the Sports and Entertainment Complex in South Philadelphia as NRG Station.

Starting this month, NRG Station will display new signage, maps and interactive screens. NRG Energy will also provide portable power packs at that station and others; SEPTA customers can rent them to charge phones and other electronic devices while they travel.

“This agreement with NRG will deliver major benefits to our customers and other taxpayers who help fund the authority’s operations,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon. “The income this generates will go directly toward the everyday costs of running the transit system.”

NRG Energy is making portable phone chargers available for rent at SEPTA stations as part of its partnership with the agency.
SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel called the agreement “a win-win for SEPTA customers, delivering improved amenities while generating new revenues beyond the farebox.” He added, “SEPTA has worked hard to find innovative ways to enhance service while controlling costs, and we will continue to aggressively pursue more opportunities moving forward.” The partnership with NRG includes SEPTA’s third major station renaming agreement in recent years.

This partnership is consistent with SEPTA’s mandate to seek alternative sources of revenue. A measure passed by state lawmakers in 2007 to provide funding for transportation in Pennsylvania called on the agency and others in the state to bolster efforts to generate non-farebox revenues.

A third partner—Intersection, a smart cities technology and media company—has worked with SEPTA on a campaign to bring in additional advertising dollars. The firm is supplying digital upgrades at NRG Station that will provide real-time information to customers and enhanced support to advertisers.

APTA Recognizes Members' Sustainability Accomplishments

APTA recognized the six newest signatories of its Sustainability Commitment, which marks continued achievements in sustainability by member organizations, July 31 during its Sustainability & Multimodal Planning Workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia.

During the workshop, APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas discussed the need for the public transportation industry to transition from serving as operators of vehicles to becoming managers of multimodal, interconnected mobility services. He said the challenge is two-fold: to prepare for this evolutionary change for the future while, at the same time, excelling at meeting the needs of passengers in the present.

He explained that, by combining sustainability’s promise with critical day-to-day planning and operational issues like service configuration, route design and ridership strategies, the workshop was designed to help APTA members meet this challenge.

“Sustainability and public transportation go hand in hand,” Skoutelas said regarding the APTA Sustainability Commitment. “Thanks to the voluntary commitments that these public transit systems have made to environmental, social and economic sustainability, communities across America are now more livable. I commend this year’s public transit systems’ Sustainability Commitment recipients located in Austin, Honolulu and Phoenix. Their leadership in sustainability and the successful results of their actions should serve as an inspiration to other organizations.”

The three most recent signatories are Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX, Gold Level status; Valley Metro, Phoenix, Silver Level; and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, Bronze Level. Earlier this year, APTA recognized three other agencies for achieving Silver Level status: the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and Caltrain commuter rail and the San Mateo County Transit District, both in San Carlos, CA.

Public transit agencies and businesses voluntarily choose to join the APTA Sustainability Commitment program and pledge to implement processes and actions that create continuous improvements in environmental, social and economic sustainability. Based on specific measurable achievements, organizations are given Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Level recognition. The program began in 2009 and now has 146 signatories, of which 46 have received higher-level recognition.

J. Barry Barker, executive director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY, and chair of the APTA Sustainability Committee and Steering Committee, addresses attendees.
From left: Barker; Robert Borowski, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Marwan Fadhil Al-Mukhtar, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Ryan Tam and Benjamin Trevino, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation; April Chan, San Mateo County Transit District/Caltrain commuter rail (representatives from Valley Metro not present); and Janet Gonzalez Tudor, transportation sustainability director and associate vice president, HDR, and vice chair of the APTA Sustainability Committee and Sustainability Steering Committee.
Photos courtesy Sara Borck Photography


TCRP Announces New Ambassadors, Webinars

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has announced the following members of its 2018-2020 class of TCRP Ambassadors:

* Rhonda Allen, director of executive strategy, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority;
* Genevieve Bajwa, corporate and community relations liaison, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Margate, FL;
* Christy Haven, senior project manager, HNTB, Gainesville, FL;
* Jerome Horne, special transit project coordinator, IndyGo, Indianapolis;
* Jennifer McGrath, strategic planner III, Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City;
* Joshua Munoz, staff consultant, mechanical, LTK Engineering Services, Ambler, PA;
* Beverly Neff, senior transportation planner, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System;
* Rachel Pallister, grants and contracts officer, Idaho Transportation Department, Boise, ID;
* Lisa Vickery, transportation superintendent, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA;
* Cyrenthia Ward, community planner, FTA, New York City; and
* Jake Warr, Columbia Gorge Express manager, Oregon DOT, Portland, OR.

These 11 industry professionals will travel to various parts of the country to enhance the understanding and use of TCRP-sponsored research products. Each ambassador is expected to volunteer for at least two public transportation venues a year.

The TCRP Ambassador Program is a joint effort among APTA, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), FTA and TCRP, managed by COMTO. For more information, contact COMTO.

TCRP has also released the following reports:

* Draft Report 202: Handbook for Examining the Effects of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Brokerages on Transportation Coordination;
* Draft Report 201: Understanding Changes in Demographics, Preferences, and Markets for Public Transportation;
* Draft Report 199: Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources;
* Final Report 197: Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency;
* Final Report 195: Broadening Understanding of the Interplay Among Public Transit, Shared Mobility and Personal Automobiles; and
* Final Report 193: Tools and Strategies for Eliminating Assaults Against Transit Operators.

TCRP also announced three upcoming 90-minute webinars, all free and beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Register at the links below:

Aug. 14, Webinar on Legal Digest 50: Emergency Preparedness Against Infectious Diseases on Public Transit;
Sept. 13, Webinar on TCRP D-17: Detecting and Mitigating Low-Level DC Leakage and Fault Currents in Transit Systems; and
Oct. 2, Webinar on TCRP Web-Only Document 71: A Transit Agency Guide to Evaluating Secondary Train Detection/­Protection Systems in Communications-Based Train Control Systems.

Agencies Purchase Buses, Locomotives

Several public transit agencies have announced the purchase and renovation of buses in their fleet and the North County Transit District (NCTD), Oceanside, CA, has approved the purchase of five new diesel-electric Siemens locomotives for its Coaster commuter rail service.

“Our board is happy to welcome the new fuel-efficient and lower-emission vehicles to NCTD. We look forward to the enhanced service our passengers will receive from them,” said board Vice Chair John Aguilera.

The new locomotives, being built in Siemens’ Sacramento, CA, facility and scheduled for delivery in 2021, will replace five other locomotives that have reached the end of their useful life. They are expected to operate with an estimated 90 percent reduction in emissions compared to the existing engines and a 16 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The vehicles being replaced were originally built between 1975-1992 and were purchased as used by NCTD.

NCTD’s purchase of the locomotives is part of a multi-state procurement with Caltrans and Illinois DOT. Funding for the vehicles, priced collectively at more than $37 million, has been made possible through state funding programs.

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), Hampton, VA, welcomed 28 new buses from Gillig at ribbon-cutting ceremonies July 26, allowing the agency to retire some of its older vehicles.

The bus order includes 13 29-footers, seven 35-footers, three 40-footers and five 40-foot buses for Metro Area Express intracity commuter routes, all powered by ultra-low-sulfur diesel. HRT noted that the 29-foot buses are the best fit for neighborhood routes with smaller roads and tighter turning demands.

Funding for the $13.6 million order was provided by Virginia, 70 percent; the federal government, 27 percent; and local cities, 3 percent.

“Few investments are as important to transit as buses,” said HRT President and Chief Executive Officer William Harrell. “Older buses require more maintenance and are less reliable. Some of our buses are well beyond their expected life. We are working hard to replace older bus equipment to enhance the transit experience, both for customers and our operators.”

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has placed an order for 12 60-foot articulated diesel-electric hybrid buses from New Flyer, converting 12 vehicles from an option backlog to firm orders.

The articulated buses, funded in part by FTA, can transport 115 passengers each, providing high-capacity transit along key WMATA routes.

New Flyer has delivered nearly 1,400 buses to WMATA since 2001, including electric hybrids, zero-emission battery-electric and CNG.

Montebello (CA) Bus Lines (MBL) has entered into a contract with Complete Coach Works to rehabilitate three New Flyer buses in its fleet, including a conversion from gas hybrid engines to zero-emission electric power.

MBL Director of Transportation Tom Barrio said, “We are looking forward to our first all-electric buses. We believe this is going to be a positive first step toward the next generation of our vehicles.”

When completed, the remanufactured buses will also offer composite floorings and lightweight seating, electric air compressors and power steering pumps, electric HVAC systems, all-LED interior and exterior lighting, paint/graphics, suspension, steering components and brakes.


Growing the Commuter Rail Workforce Improves Service, Provides Meaningful Careers

General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Keolis Commuter Services

All public transit agencies strive to continually enhance safety, improve performance and create a better passenger experience. Since Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis) became the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) operating partner for Boston area commuter rail in 2014, we have made considerable progress in a variety of areas including service, fleet management and technology. But an often-overlooked area in transportation operations is the critical importance of the people within the workforce and how best to attract and retain the workforce of tomorrow.

Conductors are the face of a passenger rail service, with these highly trained men and women playing an integral role in helping ensure the safety of passengers and providing a positive commuter rail experience. This is why we have placed a great emphasis on growing our active conductor roster.

In 2015, an average of 368 conductors and assistant conductors worked on MBTA’s commuter rail network. Due to a dedicated initiative to retain and hire more conductors and assistant conductors as a key component to further improve service, Keolis today employs 452 conductors and assistant conductors, a 23 percent increase over three years. Of note, a July graduating class of 16 new assistant conductors follows a January graduating class of 27—the largest ever.

Identifying and offering cutting-edge training packages that truly reflect the modern—and future—public transit landscape cannot be overstressed. MBTA assistant conductors participate in an eight-week Keolis program that includes customer service, railroad safety and the commuter rail network and facilities. The program consists of classroom instruction, exams and time on board trains. A recently unveiled locomotive simulator for engineer certification will also be made available for conductors to train on.

Equally important, and fundamental to an organization’s engagement with employees, is to provide opportunities for cross-training and career growth. At Keolis, for example, we offer employees tuition reimbursements for career development and provide in-house training classes to develop stronger skills in areas such as Microsoft Excel or delivering presentations.

Supporting our ethos of providing training and equipment that works in the real world, Keolis regularly seeks input from those on the front line. For example, all assistant conductors are now trained on our new mobile point-of-sale system. This system allows passengers to pay on board with credit cards and will be available on all trains starting this fall. Conductors contributed to the development of this new technology through a pilot program that incorporates their feedback into the design.

Incorporating employee feedback extends to the service too. Employees from all departments were consulted in developing a detailed plan to improve service on the Framingham-Worcester Line. The approach was so successful, it is currently being implemented on other lines across the commuter rail network.

With 10,000 more trains per year running compared to when we took over operations in 2014, increased numbers of effective and dedicated conductors are essential. Matching this growth, we’ve increased our workforce by approximately 19 percent to even more effectively manage the service and business. Public transit agencies across the country dealing with or seeking to attract increased ridership understand the magnitude of this task.

Never has there been a more critical time to recruit, hire, train and retain conductors and management staff who are sufficiently flexible and adaptable to thrive in the ever-changing integrated transportation landscape—all while providing exemplary service to riders. Keolis’ global reach affords its employees the opportunity to learn best practices from colleagues around the world, deepening the knowledge pool in Boston. Our talent acquisition teams balance this institutional knowledge both by promoting from within and seeking new hires with fresh perspectives.

Having more conductors helps improve commuter rail service, allowing for easier and faster boarding at stations and making service more resilient with broader staffing options. The 10-year average on-time performance is 87 percent for MBTA commuter rail. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 year-to-date we’ve operated at 89 percent on time, a steady positive trend that can continue with further investment and improvements.

Conductors have a responsibility for the safety of everyone on board trains. While it is certainly correct to associate the term “hero” with first responders—police, fire, nurses, EMTs, etc.—we also think of our conductors, assistant conductors and the many other railroad employees who help us deliver rail service every day as heroes. Some of these individuals have performed lifesaving activities while on the job, such as administering CPR, deploying automated external defibrillators and keeping passengers out of harm’s way. Their skills and commitment are testament to the training they receive. We cannot thank these Keolis Boston team members enough and were pleased to recognize them for their actions at our first Keolis Heroes ceremony last month.

A career as a conductor is an exciting and rewarding one. These front-line operators fully play their part in getting millions of riders where they need to be. With a hands-on, realistic approach to training, public transit agencies can ensure their riders are served and protected while perpetuating a dynamic workforce able to learn, retain and—­critically—pass on skills to the next generation of the public transit workforce.

"Commentary" features authoritative points of view from various sources on timely and pressing issues affecting public transportation. APTA would like to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting a original, thought-leader Commentary for consideration, please contact Senior Managing Editor David A. Riddy.


Kansas City: Building Partnerships to Expand Mobility Services

The Kansas City Area (MO) Transportation Authority (KCATA) started to adopt the mobility management concept in the early 2010s, identifying all mobility services (private and public) available in the Kansas City metropolitan area to facilitate access for the community.

In 2015, the agency reimagined its whole approach to providing service, coordinating regional efforts to build a comprehensive, seamless public transit system connecting the entire area. Now, KCATA is leading several initiatives to complement transit services and offer more mobility options for the community, such as a vanpool program for commuters and the RideKC Freedom program—an Uber-style app that provides on-demand services for both paratransit and non-paratransit customers.

Getting Started
Mobility efforts in Kansas City have been driven by two types of leaders: those who “prepared the runway for takeoff” and those who “are running down the runway” that has been cleared.

KCATA brought together a variety of services through adoption of a single “RideKC” brand to unite all public transit systems in the region, operating with a single pass.

The clearing of the runway has happened at a high level. The mayor is a strong advocate of all modes of public transportation and has supported KCATA’s innovations. The Kansas City Chamber has also engaged in these efforts by establishing transportation as one of the chamber’s top five initiatives for 2018, and KCATA’s chief executive officer and board have created a cultural path and buy-in to try new things, supporting successes and failures. The innovation team has played a key role in running down the runway, leading and coordinating the initiatives, and persisting when necessary to advance their projects. The marketing, IT and planning teams have also engaged in the new mobility initiatives, as has the business sector in programs related to job access.

The first step to advancing mobility was the adoption of a single RideKC brand to unite all the public transit systems in the Kansas City region, allowing people to buy a single pass and use it on different buses. The idea came from listening to customers who could not get from point A to point B (unless they used a car) because those points were served by different systems. To further facilitate access, a regional eligibility process was created and the various call centers were turned into one access point so people could apply for services, book paratransit trips or obtain fixed-route information for any system in the same place.

In 2016, leveraging emerging mobility services, KCATA built a partnership with Bridj and Ford to test an on-demand service. Using a mobile app, riders could request on-demand shuttle services that they accessed via dynamic rally points. The project had low ridership and was not continued but provided valuable insights for subsequent initiatives.

Moving ­Forward
Historically, KCATA’s approach to innovation has been in-house, reviewing services internally and focusing market research on current bus riders. Now, the agency has opened that process to actors whose input has not formerly been typically incorporated.

The agency established a cross-functional innovative work group comprising operations, planning, marketing and IT representatives, users and even contractors, and created an unsolicited proposal policy to hear ideas and innovation from outside. The group prioritizes ideas based on the expected benefits for customers and the operational costs.

The RideKC Freedom program uses an app to provide on-demand services for both paratransit and non-paratransit customers.

As KCATA’s role advances from a public transit provider to a mobility manager, it has begun developing a more customer-centric approach and more coordinated efforts. The agency is putting together consumer panels to build qualitative and psychographic profiles of current and potential riders to better tailor its services and marketing efforts. It also has restructured the organization to facilitate internal communication and coordination, with innovation moving higher up in the organization to span different processes from planning to marketing.

With key partners such as the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Kansas City Chamber and private companies like mobility operator Transdev, the agency is identifying how its interests fit into the broader vision to work together toward a shared outcome.

KCATA is also seeking collaborations that multiply the value of rides, supporting areas such as health, education or homelessness. RideKC Connections, registered as a 501(c)(3), acts as the nonprofit wing of the agency, allowing social net organizations to roll it into their grants, in which transportation is usually a major component. In this way, KCATA can move people back and forth to jobs, homeless shelters or hospitals at no cost to them.

The agency has developed a partnership with veteran groups to provide free bus rides for all Kansas City’s veterans and is now working with the health sector to bring down the overall cost of care for an individual.

To evaluate its main projects, such as the Bridj pilot in 2016 and the RideKC Freedom On-Demand program, KCATA commissioned an external party to provide impartial and objective results. The agency also asked the RideKC Advisory Committee, consisting of academics, the business community, riders and students, to define what success means for the multiple stakeholders, to complement the metrics.

Communication, ­Outreach and ­Marketing
From the Bridj project, the agency learned the relevance of incorporating users’ input into the design process and raising awareness of the program and how to use it. For the RideKC Freedom On-Demand project, KCATA designed a thoughtful marketing strategy, including targeted mailing, a page on the agency’s website, special messaging on the call center line and leveraging word of mouth to spread information throughout the community.

Communication is also central to building and keeping relationships with higher-level public representatives. Monthly communications from the agency’s CEO to elected officials, FTA and the business community present system activity, program and service changes and address issues affecting constituents. Additionally, KCATA works with lobbyists in Washington, DC; Jefferson City, MO; and Topeka, KS, to keep officials aware of the agency’s projects.

Project Implementation
To move from ideas to implementation, KCATA has relied on communication, collaboration and pilots to ensure that feedback is incorporated and to generate buy-in for projects.

As an example, the RideKC Freedom On-Demand pilot originated when senior KCATA executives inquired into improving paratransit service. A team was established, including the contractor, to work on an on-demand program. The team developed the Freedom app and tested it with 20 users, who provided input and acted as ambassadors for the program. By the time the project was launched, it was already known by the paratransit community. The service reached the expected ridership in the first month and saw that figure quadruple in the following eight months.

With the app, KCATA also adopted new software to manage ride information that is now being used by all its services, which means all data goes into one database and can be more easily used for planning purposes.

In the pipeline, KCATA is working with bikeshare companies, TNCs and other private providers to expand the agency’s footprint. This is a fundamental and cultural change. The agency used to directly operate everything except for paratransit. Now, KCATA understands that it is not competing with other providers, but looking for partnerships to provide mobility options, and to collaborate with other actors in the health, education or employment sectors to multiply the value of those services.


The World of Public Transit in One Place

Public transportation professionals, business leaders, board members and government officials will gather Sept. 23-26 in Nashville to participate in the 2018 APTA Annual Meeting, the industry’s flagship event with numerous opportunities to learn about and share best practices, network, hear about product and service trends and participate in tours.

The schedule includes General Sessions and audience-specific educational sessions and programs recognizing American Public Transportation Foundation scholarship recipients, the winners of the APTA Awards and AdWheel Grand Awards, and the Leadership APTA Class of 2018.

(As of July 27, 2018)

Saturday, Sept. 22

8 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Committee Meetings

Sunday, Sept. 23
7 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Committee Meetings
6 – 8 p.m.: Welcome to Nashville Reception at Products & Services Showcase
8 – 11 p.m.: American Public Transportation Foundation Fundraiser and Scholarship Reception
Location: Acme Feed and Seed, 101 Broadway, Nashville, TN

Monday, Sept. 24
7 – 8 a.m.: Committee Meetings
8 – 9:30 a.m.: OPENING GENERAL SESSION: Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows
Keynote Speaker: Daymond John, Founder/CEO of FUBU, Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, Star of ABC’s Shark Tank, and CEO of The Shark Group
10 – 11:15 a.m.: Educational Sessions
11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.: PRODUCTS & SERVICES SHOWCASE
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.: GENERAL SESSION
3:30 – 5 p.m.: Educational Sessions
5:30 – 7 p.m.: Committee Meetings

Tuesday, Sept. 25
7 – 8 a.m.: Committee Meetings
8 – 9:30 a.m.: GENERAL SESSION
9:45 – 11:15 a.m.: Educational Sessions
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: APTA AWARDS CEREMONY & LUNCHEON
2 – 3:30 p.m.: Educational Sessions
3 – 4 p.m.: American Public Transportation Foundation Scholarship Awards Ceremony|
4 – 5:30 p.m.: Educational Sessions
4:30 – 6 p.m.: Leadership APTA: Celebrating Tomorrow’s Executive Leaders
Class of 2018 leadership project presentations and graduation + welcoming the Class of 2019
5:30 – 7 p.m.: Committee Meetings
6:15 – 7:15 p.m.: Leadership APTA Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 26
9:30 – 11 a.m.: Educational Sessions
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: CLOSING GENERAL SESSION
1 – 3 p.m.: Committee Meetings

WeGo Public Transit: Connecting People, Enhancing Lives

As APTA and its members prepare for the association’s 2018 Annual Meeting, Sept. 23-26 in Nashville, Passenger Transport asked Stephen Bland, chief executive officer of WeGo Public Transit, host system for the meeting, to describe the evolving public transportation landscape in the region and how the agency is meeting the changing needs of its riders.

How is WeGo Public Transit adapting to and shaping the new mobility landscape in the Nashville area?

Going on my fifth year at WeGo Public Transit (formerly Nashville MTA), the landscape of the industry and our city has changed considerably. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., we face many of the same challenges and opportunities as much larger cities—particularly with respect to mobility.

When I arrived in Nashville, the idea of transportation network companies was just starting to gain steam, carsharing was finding its way out and bikesharing was becoming a fully formed mobility solution for cities other than New York and Los Angeles. In those few short years, we now refer to Uber as a verb; you’re as likely to hear two Nashville baristas talking about first-mile, last-mile solutions as you are transit planners; and the prospect for autonomous vehicles looms large, with all the potentially positive and negative consequences they will bring.

So, I find myself asking where public transportation fits in this new world of mobility solutions. And I believe the answer still lies at the heart of our industry, which is to connect people to the places and activities that enhance their lives.

To this end, in the fall of 2016, the boards of directors of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Regional Transportation Authority (including 28 of our regional mayors) jointly and unanimously adopted the nMotion Strategic Transit Plan. This plan established a 20-year timeline for improved public transit options in the region to meet its growing and changing mobility needs.

nMotion is the study that heavily influenced “Let’s Move Nashville,” the Davidson County component of this regional vision, which was brought to voters in May of this year as a means of starting the work necessary to create a regional transportation system by building a solid hub to which surrounding counties could connect.

However, Nashville voters elected to not support the historic, $5.9 billion transit funding referendum, which would have made “Let’s Move Nashville” possible. While it was a disappointing day for the city, we continue in our dedication to do our part to offer an increasingly dependable public transportation system for all those in Nashville.

On the heels of this setback, we have dug in and adopted the philosophy of “just because we’re not getting bigger immediately doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to get better,” and we continue to use nMotion as the framework for these improvements. Though major capital investments like light rail and Gold Standard BRT will not be possible in the short run, we continue to advance the dozens of other enhancements incorporated in the nMotion plan.

Among the many efforts we are making in this regard are a large-scale renovation of our primary downtown Transit Center, the replacement of almost 20 percent of our fleet, the addition of a new station on our Music City Star commuter rail line, a partnership with the city of Nashville to enhance one of our busiest transit corridors with queue jump and transit signal priority technology, an account-based smart payment system incorporating other regional mobility providers and a collaboration with Tennessee DOT on their “I24 Smart Corridor Initiative.”

Most noticeably to APTA members attending the Annual Meeting, we just kicked off a rebranding initiative for public transit in Nashville to start to change the way that Nashvillians perceive their transit system.

Shaping a new mobility landscape starts with strategic and creative innovation. We’re lucky to have an abundance of that here in Nashville and we look forward to growing with the region to move people, connecting them to their lives and their communities in new and exciting ways.

Travel Discounts Available

APTA has partnered with United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Amtrak to provide discounts on travel to Nashville, TN, between Sept. 20-29 for the APTA Annual Meeting.

Both airlines are offering discounts of 2-10 percent off published round-trip fares to Nashville International Airport, while Amtrak is offering a 10 percent discount off the best available fare.

By reserving online, United Airline customers can save an additional 3 percent off their fare. Choose flight times and access meeting discounts by inserting ZER4846055 in the Offer Code box.

United passengers may also call United Meetings at 1-800-426-1122 for reservations, referring to Z Code: ZER4 and Agreement Code: 846055. There will be a service fee collected for all tickets issued through United Meetings Reservations.

For Delta, attendees can also book flights online. The meeting code is pre-populated on this link; if it is not visible, enter the meeting event code NMRKX to get the discounted rate.

Passengers may also contact Delta Meeting Network reservations at 1-800-328-1111, but a direct ticketing charge will apply for booking by phone.

To reserve on Amtrak, call Amtrak at 1-800-872-7245 or a local travel agent. Refer to the fare code, X84H-999, when making reservations. Note that this discount is not available for online reservations. This offer is not valid on Auto Train and Acela service.

Annual Meeting Educational Sessions: Second to None

APTA’s Annual Meeting is the flagship event for public transportation professionals. An unparalleled array of cutting-edge educational sessions and renowned keynote speakers explore hot topics including transformative technology, community building, safety, workforce development, worldwide mega projects, innovative funding and finance, and more. This year’s offerings include:

Envisioning the Workforce in the Mobility Landscape.
The public transportation industry is rapidly transforming from traditional modal systems to one that is focused on an integrated mobility approach. Join APTA and industry leaders as we consider how advancing technology, culture change and a focus on overall mobility management will impact how we recruit, train and develop the next public transit workforce. This conversation will build on the discussions started at APTA’s April 2018 workforce summit, The Changing Mobility Paradigm and Its Impact on Tomorrow’s Workforce.

The Future is Now: Innovative Mobility Practices.
Faced with new technologies and private-sector operators that have entered the transportation space, public transit agencies are thinking about how best to meet the needs of customers by developing new programs and services. Learn how agencies are fostering innovation in areas such as system integration, partnerships, innovative business models and equity of service delivery, as well as leveraging federal programs like FTA’s Mobility on Demand Sandbox grants to improve mobility.

Community Connections: Building Livable Communities with TOD.
Neighborhoods in downtown, public transit-rich areas are prime examples of the benefits of transit-oriented development (TOD). But how can agency staff collaborate with external stakeholders to implement TOD strategies that energize traditional neighborhoods, farther from downtown, that have faced deindustrialization, foreclosure and population loss? Join this session to learn how to leverage national and regional opportunities to maximize the success of TOD and forge new partnerships that bring these developments to scale.
Nashville's Music City Center is the site of the 2018 APTA Annual Meeting.
Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
Innovative Infrastructure Development and Implementation in Canada. Key findings and observations from APTA’s 2018 Study Mission to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. The Canadian government is investing in transit infrastructure to the tune of $22.3 billion (U.S.), with additional investment from other levels of government and the private sector for an estimated $60.5 billion (U.S.) nationally between 2016 and 2028. The July 2018 APTA study mission to Canada gave participants the opportunity to explore how public transportation authorities in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver are pursuing major infrastructure projects and putting in place unique governance and partnership arrangements, innovative funding, financing and procurement models and streamlined business processes.

Strategic Planning for New Mobility.
Across the U.S., new transportation modes are rapidly emerging and changing the mobility landscape. Managing such a sprawling and complex mobility network requires integrating the new with tried and true public transit modes while coordinating among multiple state, regional, county and local jurisdictions, agencies and departments. Explore how transit agencies are planning for the future, setting regional goals and forming partnerships that help customers meet their mobility needs.

The Procurement Super Session!
Back by popular demand, FREE procurement consultants! Use this think tank of industry experts to answer your procurement questions. Contact APTA’s Beverly Hill — subject: SUPER SESSION QUESTION — to get your questions on the answer list.

The Transit Response to Homelessness.
While the circumstances of the homeless may not have changed for decades, the impacts have become more severe. What has changed is how public transit agencies see their response to this societal issue. Come and hear from agency personal about transit’s reply to this challenge and the partnerships and solutions needed as part of a new approach.

Curb Appeal: Balancing the Needs of All Curb Users.
A public transit agency’s needs can often be lost in the street design process. Parking, bus stops and lanes, bicycling, freight delivery and ride-hailing services compete for precious curb space. Still at the core of public transit ridership is convenience, affordability and ability to walk or bike on at least one end of a trip. Learn about various partnerships between transit agencies and shared-use mobility companies on first- and last-mile programs, how land use and technology can improve ridership and how agencies can be positioned to use these technological advancements to help implement complete streets that enable them to succeed.

Procuring Innovation in the Transit Industry.
The rapidly changing technology environment demands smart and innovative procurement. Big Data, the Cloud, Block-Chain, 3D printing, AI, P3s and other disrupters are changing the public transit industry and the way we conduct procurement. This is a two-part workshop. In part one, transit technology and innovation executives will discuss the rapidly evolving environment and the challenges of procuring innovation. In part two, transit and business procurement executives will brainstorm on bringing innovation to transit procurement while maintaining system integrity.

Transit’s Response to Trespasser Strikes and Intentional Deaths—A Roundtable Discussion.
Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Forty-three percent of railroad fatalities were trespassers or suicides. Railroads and public transit agencies are increasing their attention to this growing problem. Join a conversation on preventive efforts and partnerships designed for the prevention of trespasser and vehicle strikes, as well as the intentional deaths that occur on the rails.

Advancing Transit Asset Management.
What happens beyond the Oct. 1, 2018, compliance deadline for FTA’s Transit Asset Management (TAM) Final Rule? What are the lessons learned from agencies the success factors and pitfalls to avoid? How can an agency ensure the TAM targets are incorporated throughout an organization and in regional decision making? Presentations will focus on best practices in meeting rising challenges in capital planning, reporting and asset management and creating a transit asset management program beyond compliance with the TAM Rule.

Embodying Diversity as a Leader.
As the workforce changes, what are best practices to promote the full inclusion of new leaders? Should our concept of “what a leader looks like” change? What should emerging leaders do to meet expectations?

Autonomy of a Security Breach and the Vulnerabilities of Big Data.
Entities experienced a 44.7 percent increase in security breaches since 2016. Breaches are no longer a matter of “if” but rather “when” and “how often.” Mobility as a Service, Big Data analytics, mobile ticketing, social media integration, IT outsourcing and other advancements enhance the customer experience and improve operational efficiency. With these advancements, however, come risks. This session will provide an overview of the current legal framework and practical advice on preparing for, and responding to, security breaches, including a critical discussion about securing data rights among agencies, vendors and ridership.

Capital Projects.
This session covers extraordinary public transit projects in the U.S. and overseas. Some are highly visible and others are vitally important but less obvious during implementation, such as system upgrades. They all present challenges that require creative solutions and commensurate risks. There are exciting stories to be told and lessons to be learned.

Future Proofing Transit—Advancing Climate Resiliency.
Public transportation infrastructure is becoming more and more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The industry must adapt and become more resilient to remain viable and effective. Learn about different tools that help identify climate-related threats, organizational thinking and specific technologies to implement adaptation and resiliency projects.

Safety Management Systems (SMS): Information, Approaches and Best Practices.
SMS is a management process that allows public transit agencies to better analyze hazards and manage safety risk. Two agencies will discuss best practices for the implementation of SMS. In addition, a private engineering firm will present from the business member point of view as well as partnerships with transit agencies. Finally, FTA will discuss its programs and rules for the implementation of SMS, including the recently passed Agency Safety Plan final rule, which requires all urban rail and bus transit properties to have an SMS-based safety plan in place by 2020.

2018 APTA Awards Recipients Announced

APTA has announced the individual and agency winners of the 2018 APTA Awards, who will be honored at an awards ceremony and luncheon Tuesday, Sept. 25, as part of the 2018 Annual Meeting in Nashville.

The APTA Awards program recognizes excellence in the public transportation industry in North America, on both the individual and organizational levels. Called the “best of the best” of the public transportation industry, the award winners are outstanding role models of excellence, leadership and innovation whose accomplishments have greatly advanced public transportation.

A summary of winners follows:

Organization Awards

VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX, will receive the Innovation Award for the GoCodeSA Codeathon—a coding competition for digital public transit solutions. GoCodeSA is a partnership with leading tech-based businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs in the region. The Codeathon, now an annual event, offers talented programmers, coders and designers the chance to turn bright ideas into practical solutions for mobility challenges. The competition rewards the best applications with cash and prizes, as well as an opportunity to integrate the winning entry into future VIA initiatives.

Three public transit systems will receive the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award for their accomplishments from 2015-2017:

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD), Stockton, CA, is being honored among systems providing four million or fewer annual passenger trips. RTD was one of the first U.S. public transit agencies to test hybrid and all-electric buses, launching the nation’s first all-electric BRT corridor in 2017. The Regional Transit Center opened by the system in 2015 brings together transportation and maintenance operations at an environmentally sensitive 136,000-square-foot facility in a centralized location.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus was selected among agencies providing more than four million but fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips. COTA is one of a select group of U.S. public transit agencies that has implemented a comprehensive system redesign. The historic restructuring of service has changed COTA’s operations from a hub-and-spoke design to a more grid-like layout, making service more efficient and direct.

Seattle’s King County Metro Transit (Metro) has been named the top large public transportation system in North America, providing 20 million or more annual passenger trips. The past three years were pivotal for Metro as it experienced record-high ridership—122 million trips in 2017—and expanded and innovated to meet rising demand. The record ridership is due in part to partnerships with major world-class employers including Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft, who provided free or reduced-cost Metro passes to their employees. Also, Metro’s ORCA LIFT low-income fare program has become a national model in providing equitable access to public transportation.

Individual Awards

Ron Roberts, a longtime board member of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), is the 2018 recipient of the Local Distinguished Service Award. He has served on the MTS board and other boards for more than 30 years, working to turn San Diego from a car-centric region into the thriving, multimodal region it is now with 100 million public transit passengers per year. Hundreds of his decisions have helped create a network of clean and efficient transportation choices.

Pennsylvania State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. is the recipient of the State Distinguished Service Award. In 2013, Pennsylvania faced a transportation funding crisis. Rafferty, then chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee, not only introduced a comprehensive transportation bill that included $500 million for public transportation; he also led the push to pass it by mobilizing a diverse coalition of public transit advocates. This critical funding gave Pennsylvania’s public transit systems a future, which in turn strengthened the state’s economic competitiveness.

Frederick L. Daniels Jr., treasurer of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors, is this year’s Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member. Since being appointed to the MARTA board in 2010, Daniels took the system from $30 million in annual operating deficits to a surplus of nearly $35 million. During his tenure, MARTA achieved highlights and milestones including improved bond and credit ratings, relaunching its TOD program and construction of the Atlanta Streetcar.

LTK Engineering Services Director of Business Development Natalie Cornell is this year’s Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member. One of Cornell’s proudest accomplishments was helping lead industry discussions with FTA about how to implement the increased percentage of U.S. content for rolling stock required under the FAST Act. Those discussions and the concrete proposals developed by the APTA Business Members Procurement Subcommittee under her leadership led FTA to select the first delivery of revenue vehicles as the firm date for determining the percentage of U.S. content requirements. She serves on the APTA Board of Directors.

Tom Lambert, chief executive officer of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) since 2014, is receiving the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager honor. He has served the agency since 1979, the year it was created, when he was a security investigator because METRO did not yet have a police department. In August 2017, Lambert oversaw METRO’s response to Hurricane Harvey, transporting 15,500 people to shelters and helping the Red Cross deliver supplies.

Hall of Fame
APTA is adding five new members to the Hall of Fame this year:

Fred Gilliam, an APTA member since 1974, has worked in the public transit field in jobs from traffic checker to CEO. He has held public transit leadership roles in Memphis, New Orleans, Houston and Austin, working to increase ridership, expand fleet operations and maintenance and improve service despite funding challenges. He has served the association on numerous committees including Leadership APTA and elective officer positions on APTA’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

Tom Hock worked in public transportation management-labor relations for more than four decades until his retirement in 2017. He has negotiated more than 400 agreements in 38 different states and overseen the negotiation of many more, working with 13 different international unions. Hock has served on APTA’s Labor, 13(c) and Legal Affairs committees and his Management Report on Transit Labor Issues has been a staple of APTA’s annual Transit CEOs Seminar for more than 30 years.

Jack Leary began his public transit career in 1966 as a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) streetcar operator while pursuing a business degree at Northeastern University. After more than two decades rising through the ranks in Boston, Leary went to St. Louis to lead the Bi-State Development Agency, overseeing the launch of MetroLink light rail in 1993. In 1998 he became general manager of Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which hosted the successful 2001 APTA Annual Meeting three weeks after the 9/11 attacks. For APTA, he is a former vice chair of rail on the Executive Committee and board member.

APTA also honored the late Rev. Jerry A. Moore and the late Harold B. Williams, who co-founded the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) in 1971.

Moore was a member and chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors during the planning and creation of the Washington Metrorail system. Williams was director, Office of Civil Rights, for the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA), predecessor organization to FTA.

Moore was concerned about a lack of opportunities for minorities to advance in transportation organizations and met Williams at UMTA’s first Minorities in Transit conference in 1971. The first meeting of COMTO—organized by the two men with help from others—followed soon after, attended by 29 people. COMTO now has 34 chapters nationwide and more than 3,000 members.

AdWheel Awards Honor Members for Strategic Accomplishments Through Communications and Marketing

The 2018 AdWheel Awards recognize the strategic importance of marketing and communications projects that advance the organizational goals of APTA members.

Public transportation systems and businesses compete for AdWheel Grand Awards within their peer group, based on annual passenger trips or in the separate business member group. One hundred and ten judges reviewed more than 300 entries this year and 55 first-place winners were narrowed down to eight Grand Award winners, representing the very best across two core categories.

The six public transportation systems and two business members listed below will discuss their winning strategies and accept AdWheel Grand Awards Monday, Sept. 24, during the 2018 APTA Annual Meeting in Nashville.

Efforts to Increase Ridership or Sales

The Waco Transit System (WTS) in Texas won for its campaign targeting residents of rural McLennan County, living outside the urbanized area and eligible for the agency’s fixed-route and demand-response services. Just three months after the launch of the “Anyone. Anywhere” campaign, WTS saw a 44 percent increase in rural ridership compared to the same time period a year prior.

The program grew so much in popularity that WTS was forced to hire additional rural transit drivers to meet the growing demand for service. WTS achieved this through the creation of a high-quality TV commercial and full-length PSA, both produced in music video format. The commercial aired on a local TV station, while the PSA was heavily promoted on social media and widely shared with local partners.

Delaware Transit Corporation earned its Grand Award with the DART First State campaign to increase beach resort transit ridership. The plan featured public relations, social media, print, radio, lifeguard stand and movie theater ads, as well as hotel key cards, bar coasters and table tents. The “DART to” campaign highlighted the various destinations reached by the rebranded Beach Bus and new park-and-rides. With increased public awareness of DART’s Beach Bus service, 2017 saw an unprecedented ­ridership increase of more than 21 percent. As a result, fewer cars were contributing to congestion on beach area roads.

Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) designed a campaign to introduce “Hop Fastpass,” the new, regional e-fare system that works on TriMet, Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN. As more public transit agencies look for ways to innovate their fare systems, TriMet is at the forefront with new NFC technology fare instruments.

To match that innovation, TriMet changed its marketing and outreach by going outside the normal marketing scope, by using both traditional media and social media channels; creating opportunities for riders to get free cards at “Hop-Ups” and community events; partnering with community-based organizations for card distribution; and introducing mascots to help spread the message. By adding elements of fun and surprise, TriMet built goodwill throughout the community and helped engage both old and new riders in the adoption of Hop Fastpass.

Motor Coach Industries
sees a public transit future that includes commuters traveling further and working longer with greater mobility issues, which will require a new kind of coach. MCI’s new D 45 CRT LE features a mid-door low entry and adjoining vestibule with seating for five passengers, which speeds loading and unloading of all passengers, including those with mobility devices. MCI kept the new design under wraps until the blue-curtain reveal at APTA’s 2017 EXPO in Atlanta. A four-year undertaking, the secret project included working with BMW Designworks and volunteer members from the disability community in developing the coach.

Educational Efforts

GoTriangle, Research Triangle Park, NC, welcomes an average of 65 new people to the Triangle region every day and the agency knows potential riders often are on the fence about public transit because they don’t know how to get started and aren’t certain of the benefits. The agency wrote and designed its “Ride the Bus” ad to help educate people in the community who have little or no experience with public transit.

Because it’s a fun music video rather than simply an instruction manual, the project appealed to more residents, reaching more than 50,000 people on Facebook alone. The video currently has more than 21,000 views, 200 reactions, 40 comments and 120 shares. GoTriangle hopes to continue using this video as an introduction to the brand and to the simplicity of a bus commute.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Kansas City, MO, partnered with The Kansas City, KS, Public Library to shine a light on public transit, libraries and literacy. KCATA brought the uplifting, positive message of the book Last Stop on Market Street back to the streets. The video comes from a highly prepared one-take shot that surprises an elementary school class with actors and the book’s author speaking to the joy of reading, the importance of community and the beauty inside every child and adult.

The 11-minute film has been screened at several film festivals and across Facebook and YouTube. The video has had 46,894 views, many by groups in classrooms or libraries, as well as more than 700 shares and numerous positive comments.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) realized that dealing with bad rider behavior is one reason people say they don’t use the system. With this campaign, LA Metro staff opted for a creative approach with original characters, “Rude Dude” and “Super Kind,” featured in fun, lighthearted music videos, outdoor ads and social media postings, to draw attention to the most pervasive etiquette problems on the system. Through this comprehensive campaign, Metro educates riders and empowers them to play a crucial role in creating a safe and pleasant rider experience.

The “Metro Manners” campaign videos have been viewed more than five million times across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including more than 1.5 million views by likely riders. Sentiment analysis has shown a universally positive response with more than 78 percent of social reaction characterized as “joyous,” encouraging an ongoing conversation about rider behavior.

Transit App
reacted to the lack of a real-time transit data feed by developing a novel workaround: a crowdsourced transit tracker. Transit App decided to anonymously request real-time positions from their users’ devices and use that information to extrapolate vehicle positions, then calculate estimated departure times.

The company’s campaign generated citywide awareness and succeeded in creating the first real-time transit data feed in Montréal. User engagement tactics (via gamification features, push notifications and in-app banners) resulted in 325,000 crowdsourced trips in less than a year. On some lines, up to 20 percent of all trips are crowdsourced. This is especially important since real-time transit data has been proven to boost transit ridership. Transit App has expanded upon the Montréal crowdsourcing campaign in other cities, seeing record high engagement rates.

Click here to learn more and view the multimedia submissions for all entries.

APTF to Present Record-High 33 Scholarships in Nashville

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) will present a record-breaking $205,000 in scholarships to 33 recipients at cere­monies Tuesday, Sept. 25, during the APTA Annual Meeting.

This year will be the first for two new named scholarships. The Nathaniel Ford Scholarship, named in honor of the father of APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. and funded through an event during the 2017 Annual Meeting & EXPO, will honor a minority applicant pursuing studies in the fields of mobility, logistic management, innovation management and/or science technology, with the intent to pursue a career in public transportation.

The inaugural Stephanie Pinson Scholarship will recognize a female candidate of high academic achievement who is pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in science or engineering. Pinson, who died earlier this year, was a longtime friend and board member of the APTF, a past chair of the APTA Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) and 2001 recipient of the APTA Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member Award. Funding support came from the Pinson family and contributions from colleagues and friends on the BMBG.

APTF also announced three single-year scholarships in 2018: the KFH Group Scholarship, the Devin Roy APTF Scholar Ambassador Program Scholarship and the APTF/Mineta Transportation Institute Scholarship. Single-year scholarships are unique for the foundation because they are non-endowed, titled scholarships that are created and awarded in the same year.

In addition to the scholarship award ceremony, the APTF will celebrate its 30th year with an evening fundraising reception Sept. 23 in conjunction with the APTA Annual Meeting. All conference registrants are invited to join the 2018 APTF scholarship recipients, sponsors and friends at an event celebrating the future of public transit. All donations will directly support the APTF’s mission to provide scholarships and engagement opportunities to future leaders of the public transit industry.

APTF will announce the names of the 2018 scholarship winners in the Sept. 24 issue of Passenger Transport.

The Lowdown from Those in the Know: Nashville Insider Insights

Passenger Transport asked the experts—WeGo Public Transit employees—to share some of their ­favorite area hotspots to help attendees enhance their Annual Meeting experience. Here are their recommendations of a few places you might not find in a tourist guide. Enjoy!

If in the mood for a taste of Spanish Caribbean flavors, try Salsa Restaurant on Palmer Place. Just a short walk from Demonbreun or 8th Avenue South (WeGo Routes 2, 8 or Green Circuit). Classic Puerto Rican and Latin cuisine with a modern twist. Hey, you can even get free salsa dancing lessons on Tuesday nights!
Felix Castrodad, Director of Planning

Saltines Restaurant, 1922 West End Ave. (Routes 3 and 5). This place is cool!!! Such yummy oysters and great service!!!!!
Greta Beard, Procurement Manager/DBE Liaison Officer

Take the 20 Scott through trendy East Nashville into Inglewood to visit ­Mitchell Deli, an amazing sandwich shop that is a local favorite that also has plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. And follow up your sandwich with an artisanal coffee at Dose at the corner of Riverside and McGavock, or an after-dinner bourbon mule at Village Pub right next door. It’s a cute, walkable neighborhood and a great example of the creative heart of Nashville with record shops, murals and locally owned businesses.
Amanda Clelland, Public Information Officer

If you want to rub elbows with the music industry in Nashville, head to the Berry Hill neighborhood during lunchtime on the 1 bus. Producers, sound engineers, artists and execs all feed their creativity and their bellies at the likes of Baja Burrito, Sam & Zoe’s, Vui’s Kitchen, Sunflower Café and Calypso Café.
Miriam Leibowitz, Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist

You have to try WoolWorth’s on 5th. The food is tasty and the cocktails ­festive. Just a few blocks walk from WeGo Central.
Jason Minser, Director of Marketing
APTA invites public transportation professionals to Nashville, TN, Sept. 23-26 for the 2018 Annual Meeting.


New Lane Designed for BRT Use

Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, has opened a new right-turn/public transit lane that will be used by Swift Green Line BRT when it opens in the spring of 2019.

The new lane is currently open to all traffic, but will be limited to bus use later this summer after Washington State DOT completes a repaving project in the area. The additional lane will use a special “queue jump” green light to allow buses to access an overpass at I-5 while other vehicles can make right turns directly onto the highway on-ramp.

LTK Engineering Acquires NDYLTK Rail

LTK Engineering Services, based in Ambler, PA, has acquired NDYLTK Rail, an Australian firm that has changed its name to LTK Australia Pty Ltd.

In 2011, LTK Engineering Services and Norman Disney & Young (NDY) established a partnership to offer complete rail engineering services for clients in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. NDY was recently acquired by another firm, giving LTK the opportunity to purchase NDYLTK outright.

Chi Ping Luk, the managing director of NDYLTK, will remain in that role with LTK Australia, which will continue to operate offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

Rail Movers Can Safely Push or Pull More than 225 Tons

If safety, ergonomics and productivity are key factors for equipment selection when moving massive rolling stock, Power Pusher’s line of electric tugs provide a safe, cost-effective way to move heavy railcars. The company offers several models for moving rolling stock from one-quarter ton to 225 tons (500 pounds-450,000 pounds).

Power Pusher’s T-45 Rail Mover ™ industrial electric tug enables a single person to move 45 tons safely, reducing the challenge of moving massive railcars. The flexible mover operates on or off the rails for increased dexterity and efficiency, allowing for easy maintenance of railcars. Remote control operation is available as infrared or radio control for easy maneuvering. The powered hitch connects and disconnects to railcars via remote control for easy contact and performance. Companies can work with Power Pusher’s design engineers to customize the rail mover to meet their unique needs.

Click here to see the full range of transit movers.

Nu-Star Inc., parent company of Power Pusher®, is a global manufacturer of engineered solutions for material handling needs since 1959, headquartered in Shakopee, MN, with facilities in the U.S. and United Kingdom. The company has years of experience as a leading designer, manufacturer and innovator in the industry.

Travel Training 'Summer Camp' in Reno

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC), Reno, NV, recently hosted a travel training session for students as part of a week-long Community Based Summer Camp co-hosted by the Washoe County School District Transition Services Department and the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living. RTC staff conducted the training—which included how to buy bus tickets, plan a trip and learn about routes—to help participants lead independent lives as they transition to life after school.

'Grand Central Reads' Brings Online Literature to Commuters

MTA Metro-North Railroad has partnered with Penguin Random House to bring literature celebrating New York authors, New York City and Grand Central Terminal to travelers with a program called “Grand Central Reads.”

Through this program, customers inside Grand Central Terminal can use their mobile devices to download free excerpts from Penguin Random House books, powered by recently expanded free Wi-Fi and wireless service activated by four wireless carriers. Users can access the service by connecting to the public Wi-Fi network and clicking here.

In addition to boosting connectivity for passengers and visitors throughout the terminal, the updated wireless system also improves communications used for Metro-North operations and emergency response activities by the MTA Police Department and New York City Fire Department.

RATP Dev USA Supports Nonprofits in Texas

RATP Dev USA recently donated $5,000 to the Transit Empowerment Fund (TEF) in Austin, TX, on behalf of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority to support 10,000 day passes and 1,110 seven-day passes to nonprofit organizations with older clients, persons with disabilities or students.

TEF was established in 2011 by Capital Metro and One Voice Central Texas, a coalition of more than 100 health and human service nonprofit organizations, to lower barriers to self-sufficiency by increasing access to transportation for education, employment, healthcare and social services. The fund distributes bus passes to organizations that serve low-income individuals and supports projects that use creative solutions to expand public transit services in underserved neighborhoods in the service area.

The donation is funded by RATP Dev USA's “We Move People” community outreach program, which supports and partners with individual agencies to affect the communities the company serves nationwide by connecting its employees with charitable organizations and transit-related nonprofit organizations and opportunities.

Career Days for Girls in Denver

As part of U.S. DOT’s Career Days for Girls initiative, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver recently hosted 12 girls from Colorado and New Mexico—shown outside Denver Union Station—for a week-long introduction to transportation and construction careers. About 38 percent of the agency’s senior managers and officials are women, many of whom participated in panel conversations about personal and professional backgrounds and offered career advice to participants.

Industry Briefs

Fare System Upgrade in Nashville — WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, TN, has partnered with INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc. for design, delivery and installation of an updated fare system, which includes a mobile ticketing app and an account-based electronic fare and back-office revenue management system. The new fare architecture will begin across WeGo’s fixed-route buses and paratransit vans and later will expand to Music City Star trains operated by the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee.

Caltrain Honored for Bridge Replacement
— Caltrain’s Los Gatos Creek Bridge Replacement Project recently won the Construction Management Association of America’s Northern California Project Achievement Award in the transportation category. The $20.8 million project by the commuter rail agency in San Carlos, CA, replaced an existing bridge that did not meet seismic safety standards and was undertaken in a way as to not affect wildlife who breed and spawn in the creek.

‘Free Fare Fridays’ in Ohio — Three public transit systems in Ohio are offering free rides on their fixed routes every Friday through the end of August: METRO Regional Transit Authority in Akron, the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority in Kent and Stark Area Regional Transit Authority in Canton. The campaign also showcases “Destinations of the Week” in each agency’s service area.


APTA Welcomes New Members

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

APTA welcomes its new members who joined between February and May 2018.

360 Total Concept LLC
Oakland, CA
Shonda Scott, CEO

Alta Planning + Design Inc.
Portland, OR
Natalie Lozano, Vice President

Aria Transport Services
New York, NY
Stephen Bennett, Owner/President

Autorite Regionale de Transport Metropolitain
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA
Hélène Faucheux

AVO Training Institute
Dallas, TX
Michael Pike, Marketing Communications Specialist

Guildford, Surrey, UNITED KINGDOM
Sophie Perrygrove, Director
+44 1483 688 470

BBR Verkehrstechnik GmbH
Braunschweig, GERMANY
Christina Westing, Marketing & Communication
+49 531 27300 504

San Francisco, CA
Mike Cottle, VP of Sales and Customer Service

Los Angeles, CA
Michael Zerman, Attorney

Camlin Rail Ltd.
Lisburn, County Antrim, NORTHERN IRELAND
Paul Fleming
+44 28 9262 6989

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
Stan Caldwell, Executive Director, Traffic 21 Institute

Charter Global
Atlanta, GA
Murli Reddy, CEO

Christian T. Kent, Transit Management Consulting
Virginia Beach, VA
Christian T. Kent

City of Hamilton, Hamilton Street Railway
Mount Hope, Ontario, CANADA
Debbie Dalle Vedove, Director of Transit

City of Manteca
Manteca, CA
Koosun Kim, Deputy Director of Public Works

City of Murfreesboro
Murfreesboro, TN
Russell Brashear, Assistant Director of Transportation

Brossard, Quebec, CANADA
Ali Tavassoli, President

CURIS System
Oviedo, FL
Jodi Woodson, Business Coordinator

CycleHop LLC dba HOPR
Miami Beach, FL
Josh Squire, CEO

Discovery Benefits Inc.
Fargo, ND
Tracey Kantrud, Product Manager

DIT-MCO International
Kansas City, MO
Brent Stringham, Director, Sales & Marketing

DriveABLE Assessment Centers Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
John Brown, Vice President

EverGlow NA Inc.
Matthews, NC
Charles V. Barlow

Falt Communications AB
Vasterbotten, SWEDEN
Torin Dow, Territory Technical Sales Specialist
914-582-3888 (U.S. office)

Fariba Nation Consulting
Woodland Hills, CA
Fariba K. Nation, PE, PMP

Seattle, WA
Justin Bergener, Owner

Henrich Electronics Corporation
Ottawa, IL
Donald Wiencek, General Manager

Hile Group
Normal, IL
Laura Kosinski, Director of Finance and Administration

HIRD Group
Armthorpe, Doncaster,
Adam Elliott, Product Manager
+44 1302 952 040

Holland LP
Crete, IL
Tiffany Wenrich, Corporate Communications Manager

Hyperlight Systems
Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
Tamira Nasanbat, Business Development Manager

Information Technologies Curves
Gaithersburg, MD
Sherri Mohebbi, Director of Outreach

InfraStrategies LLC
Irvine, CA
Sharon Greene, Managing Principal

Innovative Transit Solutions
Cranberry Township, PA
TJ Crawford, CEO

Los Angeles, CA
Don Sepulveda, Vice President, Senior Program Manager

Lone Star Transit Asset Management
Whitney, TX
Michael C. Hubbell, Vice President, Client Services

San Antonio, TX
Lester W. Bryant

Minuteman West Consulting Group
Benicia, CA
Michael Abegg, Principal

My Parts Express
Cincinnati, OH
Rick Dees, Owner/Managing Partner

NCC Group Inc.
San Francisco, CA
Jim McKenney, Technical Director

OnCommand Connection
Lisle, IL
Sean Slyman, Director, Connected Services & Bus Solutions

Perry County Transit
New Lexington, OH
Cheryl Boley, Director

Pintsch Tiefenbach US Inc.
Marion, IL
Bennie Manion, Executive Vice President

Austin, TX
Stacey Bucklin, Marketing Programs Manager

Woodbridge, Ontario, CANADA
Stacey Ireland, Manager, Administration

Promat Inc.
Marysville, TN
Scott Dalinger, Sales Manager Mass Transportation

Prova Group LLC
Chattanooga, TN
Philip Pugliese

Quantum Project Management Corp.
Silver Spring, MD
Chun Wu Lee, President

ReadyCredit Corp.
Eden Prairie, MN
Robert Holloway, Director Transit Programs

Red Arrow Consulting Inc.
Bellevue, WA
Liz Lasater, President

Ricardo Inc.
Van Buren Township, MI
Shane Kemper, Business Development Manager

Rolling Thunder Business Solutions
Jacksonville, FL
Mike Meringer, Sales Executive

Roundtrip Inc.
Philadelphia, PA
Brendan McNiff, EVP, Operations

Sophic Technology Services Inc.
Surrey, British Columbia, CANADA
Hiren Patel, CEO

Televic US Corp.
Sacramento, CA
Remi-Brice Magne, General Manager

San Jose, CA
Tracy Smith, Marketing Specialist

Uptown Houston District
Houston, TX
Delia Mizwa, Director of Marketing & Communications

Valley Transit
Wasilla, AK
Jennifer Tew, Executive Director

Van Hool N.V.
Hugo De Roo, Area Export Manager
+32 3420 2020

Fremont, CA
JR Anciano, Director, Business Development

Burlingame, CA
Joanna Rustin, VP Marketing

Whitmore Rail
Rockwell, TX
Bruce Wise, Director of Railroad Sales

Yaffe Mobility Consulting LLC
Arlington, VA
Steve Yaffe, Proprietor

Zetron Inc.
Redmond, WA
Bill Cusack, Director, Business Development


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.

Calabrese to Retire as GCRTA CEO, General Manager
CLEVELAND—Joseph A. Calabrese, chief executive ­officer and general manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), will step down from that post Sept. 1. He will remain with the agency in a senior advisory capacity through 2020.

Calabrese has more than 43 years of experience in public transportation. He is the longest-serving general manager in RTA history and the longest-serving general manager of any multimodal transit system in the nation.

He is a member of the APTA Board of Directors, a member and past chair of the Rail Transit CEOs and Rail Transit committees, and serves on the Bus & Paratransit CEOs, Access, Bus Operations, Membership, Workforce Development, BRT and Mobility Management committees.

CINCINNATI—Khaled Shammout has joined Cincinnati Metro as director of transit development. Most recently he was director of transit planning for Palm Beach County, FL, where he managed all planning-related activities for Palm Tran. He has also held leadership roles with Makkah Mass Rail Transit in Saudi Arabia and the Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority, in addition to serving as a planner for the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus.

PHOENIX—The Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) and Valley Metro Rail boards of directors have elected new officers for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. Valley Metro RPTA is the regional public transportation agency for greater Phoenix, while Valley Metro Rail plans, constructs, operates and maintains the area’s light rail system.Valley Metro RPTA board officers are: chair, Glendale Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff; vice chair, Chandler Councilmember Kevin Hartke; and treasurer, Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams.

Williams chairs the Valley Metro Rail board, with Tempe Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage as vice chair.

COLUMBIA, SC—Jackie Boulware recently joined the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) Board of Directors as a representative of Richland County, succeeding Jennifer Harding.

Boulware is a retired, national board-certified teacher and is currently a real estate agent. Harding, a board member since 2012, is director of relocation services for a real estate agency.

NEW BRITAIN, CT—Bus operator Mark Sullivan recently celebrated his 40th anniversary with DATTCO Inc., ­during which he has driven more than 3.5 million miles accident free.

In 2016, Sullivan received the Connecticut Bus Association’s Motorcoach Driver of the Year Award, recognizing both safe driving and maintaining the highest standards in every facet of the profession. He also works with DATTCO’s Safety & Training Program, helping to train and mentor new drivers while also providing remedial training for seasoned drivers.

SAN ANTONIO—The VIA Metropolitan Transit Board of Trustees elected Patricia Rodriguez its vice chair, David Marne as secretary and Bob Comeaux as assistant secretary, a new position.

Rodriguez was appointed to the board by the city of San Antonio in 2016 and was elected secretary earlier this year. She has more than 15 years of experience in government banking and public finance.

Marne has served on the board since 2014, representing the Greater Bexar County Council of Cities. A former mayor of Shavano Park, he is president/chief executive officer of a real estate firm.

Comeaux also has represented the city of San Antonio on the board since 2016. He is a retired field representative for the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel and a trustee for the San Antonio AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA—Community Transit recently recognized bus operator Ray Harnisch as only the second driver in its 41-year history to reach three million miles on the road without a preventable accident.

Harnisch drove for the U.S. military before joining the agency in 1997. Edith Richerson, the other Community Transit driver to achieve the same record, retired in 2009; six other current drivers have reached the two-million-mile mark.

Harnisch’s photo will appear on the sides of 10 buses for the rest of 2018 to celebrate his accomplishment.

ST. LOUIS—Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has appointed Rose Windmiller, associate vice chancellor of government and community relations at Washington University in St. Louis, to the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners.

Windmiller is a former chairwoman of Citizens for Modern Transit and serves on several education-related boards and commissions.

DALLAS—MV Transportation Inc. recently recognized John Moss, a bus operator with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno, NV, with the national Katherine McClary Operator of the Year Award.

Moss has worked for MV since 2011. During his career he has received 15 customer commendations and has a flawless driving record with no preventable accidents.

Established to honor the memory of Katherine McClary, who was killed in a bus accident in 2004, the annual award recognizes MV’s safest public transit operators, selected from across North America.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL—Tom Romano recently retired after 41 years as a bus operator with Palm Tran and its predecessors, Florida Transit Management Inc. and CoTran (County Transportation). He was recognized last year for 25 years of driving without any preventable accidents.

MONTREAL—Bombardier has announced the following changes in its senior leadership:

Jim Vounassis has been named chief operating officer, with responsibility for global operations, quality and procurement functions, as well as overall industrial strategy.

Louis Véronneau will assume responsibility for Bombardier’s strategic planning process in addition to his current role overseeing the company’s partnerships, mergers, acquisitions and divestures as senior vice president, strategy and corporate development.

Nico Buchholz, who joined Bombardier in 2015 as group chief procurement officer, has announced plans to retire.

RIVERSIDE, CA—Kallie Arevalo has joined Complete Coach Works as marketing manager. She has a master’s degree from the University of Redlands and years of experience in the marketing field.

BOSTON—The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announced the appointment of Danny Levy as its chief customer officer. She joins the MBTA after 13 years as chief marketing officer for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

TAMPA, FL—The Tampa Bay ­Business Journal has recognized Kenyatta Lee, chief administrative officer and interim chief of staff of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, as its 2018 Business Woman of the Year. The award honors both Lee’s business success and her passion and drive to improve the public transit industry. She is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2015.

SANTA BARBARA, CA—Jennifer Evans has joined CHK America Inc. as director of operations. She joins the firm from Brasco International, where she served as vice president. Evans is a member of the APTA Marketing and Communications Committee.

PASADENA, CA—CALSTART has announced the opening of a Midwest office in Troy, MI, headed by ­Maureen Marshall, and also has named Ben ­Mandel regional director for its Northeast office in Brooklyn, NY.

Marshall has served in engineering positions for both Ford and Chrysler and worked on connected car technology at Siemens and Harman International.

Mandel comes to CALSTART from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, where he was senior policy advisor for energy regulatory affairs. He succeeds Alycia Gilde, who continues to work with the organization.