January 20, 2015
About Fast Mail
Fast Mail is a compilation from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) of the latest news and updates from the Community Transportation industry that delivers timely information, resources, and announcements to our members, colleagues and friends. Please keep us posted on your latest news and developments by emailing your content to email@example.com.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- Take Advantage of Our Best Price: Setting the Standard for Safety with CTAA Accreditation
You work hard to ensure that the service you provide is safe and secure. How do you prove it to customers, funders, local officials and others? One way to is for your system to receive the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation. The Community Transportation Association has developed standards of quality for system safety and security. During the accreditation process CTAA staff will review your policies and procedures as well as conduct an onsite review to confirm that your operations are meeting all required safety and security standards. Now, for a limited time CTAA members can receive a 20 percent discount on this accreditation service. Instead of the usual $6,000, CTAA members can receive this valuable service for only $4,800 (a $1,200 application fee and $3,600 for the onsite inspection and report). In addition CTAA can finance this fee for 12 months at zero percent interest - you pay only $400 per month. To sign up or to get more information, contact CTAA's director of Professional Development Services, Len Cahill at 202-415-9653 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 26th Annual National Community Transportation Roadeo Registration Now Open for Drivers & Judges!
Join your colleagues in Tampa May 30 - 31 in Tampa, Fla., for the National Community Transit Roadeo – the only national venue to honor and celebrate the value of rural and community transit operators, the backbone of the Community Transportation industry. This exciting event draws drivers from around the country to compete for top scores on our Body-on-Chassis and Minivan/MV-1 courses that test skills on every level of the drivers' abilities. All EXPO participants are invited to attend and recognize not only the best drivers in the nation, but the invaluable role drivers play in community and public transportation.
- CTAA Accepting Applications for 2015 Rural & Tribal Technical Assistance
CTAA is now accepting applications for long term Technical Assistance for Rural and Tribal Communities supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The planning assistance is available at no cost to address transit service and facility development, enhancement or expansion projects. Applications are due by March 2, 2015, and are available here: Rural (PDF) and Tribal (PDF).
- Upcoming NCMM Grant Opportunity
Within the next few weeks, the National Center for Mobility Management will announce an opportunity to apply for Healthcare Access Mobility Design Challenge grants. The grants will assist selected communities in creating an impactful and sustainable service to address local healthcare transportation challenges. An official announcement will appear in the NCMM newsletter. To sign-up for the newsletter, visit: bit.ly/1qtwhcY.
- Stay Tuned for New Issues of DigitalCT and RAIL Magazines
New editions of both DigitalCT and RAIL magazine will be heading your way in the coming weeks, with DigitalCT taking an in-depth look at multi-faceted communications strategies and RAIL focusing on how passenger rail leaders and advocates can build support for and deploy new options through a host of innovative methods. If you don't yet receive either DigitalCT or RAIL, just email email@example.com and we'll sign you up -- for free!
- EXPO 2015 Registration Open!
The 29th Annual EXPO will be held in the Tampa Bay area for the first time from May 31-June 5, 2015. Registration is open!
The Capitol Limited
News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital
- Taking an Early Look at the 114th Congress (PDF)
Earlier this month the 114th Congress was sworn in. Here's a closer look at the key community and public transportation committees and their leadership. MAP-21 (current federal surface transportation law) was extended last summer to May 31, 2015 - so these committees are charged with developing new surface transportation legislation or extending current law by that date.
- FTA Notice of Funding Availability: Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program; Tribal Transit Program (Closing Date: 2/18/2015)
Source: Federal Transit Administration
The primary purpose of these competitively selected grants is to support planning, capital, and, in limited circumstances, operating assistance for tribal public transit services. Funds distributed to Indian tribes under the TTP should NOT replace or reduce funds that Indian tribes receive from States through FTA's Section 5311 program. Priority consideration will be given to eligible projects that help to expand ladders of opportunity. Examples could include enhancing access to work, educational, and other training opportunities, and supporting partnerships that expand access to other governmental, health, medical, education, social, human service, and transportation providers to improve coordinated delivery of services.
- GAO: Nonemergency Medical Transportation Not Well Coordinated, and Additional Federal Leadership Needed
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
Coordination of NEMT programs at the federal level is limited, and there is fragmentation, overlap, and potential for duplication across NEMT programs. GAO has previously found that agencies providing similar transportation services to similar client groups may lead to duplication and overlap when coordination does not occur. This review found instances of fragmentation, overlap, and the potential for duplication, although the extent could not be quantified.
- GAO: USDOT Is Progressing Toward a Performance-Based Approach, but States and Grantees Report Potential Implementation Challenges
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has made progress moving toward a national performance-based approach since MAP-21 was enacted in July 2012. DOT has undertaken extensive outreach efforts with states and other grantees and is developing nine rules that, among other things, are to establish national performance measures, and target-setting and reporting requirements for grantees. Five of the rules have been released for public comment, and none has been finalized. DOT has missed five of six deadlines established by MAP-21. However, given the extent to which MAP-21 transformed surface transportation programs and the length and complexity of the rulemaking process, these deadlines may have been ambitious.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Missoula's Mountain Line (Mont.) Expands Services as Fare-Free Rides Begin
Source: The Missoulian
Buses are free in Missoula, and they're running more frequently. Here are the changes Mountain Line launched on Monday, Jan. 5, according to the transit agency: Bus service goes until 10 p.m. on Routes 1, 2, 6 and 7, "the four most popular bus routes in the system." Smaller buses will operate late evening service on an hourly frequency.
- Downtown Louisville (Ky.) Trolleys Replaced with Zero-Emission Proterra Vehicles
The future of transportation was unveiled on Monday, January 12, as Louisville's all electric Zerobus fleet launched, replacing the city's renowned high-polluting trolleys. The 10 zero-emission, all-electric buses will provide fare-free rides for passengers along Main, Market and Fourth streets. Equipped with free Wi-Fi and stopping every 10 to 18 minutes along their routes, the new buses offer quiet rides with a distinctive look. The CEO of Proterra, the company that designed the buses, said the $11 million investment made up of funding from federal and state grants matches with the mayor's vision for a greener city.
- Milwaukee County Transit System (Wis.) Adds Stops in Menomonee Falls, Germantown
Source: Germantown Now
A few extra bus stops in Menomonee Falls and Germantown were added this week in an effort to help workers in Milwaukee get to jobs in the suburbs. Effective Jan. 18, changes were made to Route No. 61 of the Milwaukee County Transit System that should make it a little easier for employees to get to work in the area, according to MCTS Communications Manager Jacqueline Zeledon. "Route 61 was created using Wisconsin Department of Transportation Zoo Interchange Settlement funding designed to help connect workers to jobs," Zeledon explained. The changes will add full-week local bus service along Appleton Avenue and weekday morning and afternoon service looping through Germantown, servicing primarily the Walmart store and Germantown Industrial Park.
- New App Will Help Blind Navigate MBTA Stations
Source: Boston Globe
A new application being developed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is meant to help visually impaired people navigate T stations on their own. The MBTA has helped fund the creation of PERCEPT - an indoor navigation system that one day will allow users to make their way through a T station by listening to step-by-step directions on their smartphones, which lead them to electronic sensors or "tags" throughout the building. Testing of the system is ongoing, but it is hoped that the application could be ready for use in the Arlington Station in early 2015. Once approved by the MBTA, the app would be free to users.
- Marin (Calif.) Transportation Agency Looks at Rideshare Program for Canal Area
Source: Marin Independent-Journal
A car share program for the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael is being looked at to help those in that community get around a little easier. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission - the Bay Area's transportation planning agency - has provided the Transportation Authority of Marin with $125,000 toward establishing a car share program for the Canal.
- Capital Area Transit System's Garden District Trolley Is Rolling in Baton Rouge (La.)
Source: The Advocate
The Capital Area Transit System's Garden District trolley is rolling, looping between downtown and the tree-lined neighborhood as CATS continues to try to attract different types of riders. The trolley runs every half hour on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Saturdays, riders can hop on and off throughout the day and the trolley will run hourly from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Public Transportation is Closer to Coming Back to Meridian (Miss.)
Getting around the city of Meridian using a public bus has been impossible for almost three years. Due to a lack of funding for the Meridian Transit System, it had to shut down, ending public transportation in Meridian. An announcement by Meridian's mayor, Percy Bland, says that could possibly change with a new agreement with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. There will be two buses running routine routes daily. The mayor says the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will provide drivers and oversee the day to day operations. He says this plan wouldn't have been possible without help from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The Band of Choctaw Indian's Tribal Council voted unanimously for Choctaw Transit to help the city of Meridian get public buses back on the streets.
- Merged Minnesota Transit System Eyes Meeker County
Source: West Central Tribune
Now that Kandiyohi and Renville counties are getting the wheels rolling on a merged transit system, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is launching a new study that could bring Meeker County into the fold. A nine-month study will begin next week to explore the possibility of making the newly created, two-county Central Community Transit system into a three-county system. When Renville and Kandiyohi counties started flirting with the idea of merging their transit systems two years ago, MnDOT suggested that Meeker County also consider merging with them.
- West Carson (Calif.) to be Los Angeles County's Next Regional Transportation Hub
Source: Daily Breeze
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved funding to develop a regional transportation hub in West Carson, with denser housing development and expanded public transportation. A $491,770 "Sustainable Communities" grant from the California Strategic Growth Council will fund the planning process, which will evaluate environmental, health and traffic concerns that could arise. Various county departments will work together to find ways to encourage new housing and transit opportunities in the unincorporated county area that abuts Carson's western border and includes County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
- Fort Bend (Texas) Considers New Home for Transit Service
Source: Houston Chronicle
Fort Bend is booming, but the county's transit service doesn't have enough buses to meet the demand or room for the buses it does have. Mechanics, drivers and managers are divided among four locations and many must travel to several each day for fixes, fueling or training. Every night, the dozens of buses used to carry commuters into Houston or to provide on-demand rides to elderly and disabled residents must pull into their assigned parking spots in the specified order so they can depart on time in the morning. Should one of them not start, the other buses are blocked in, threatening the county's ride schedule for the day. Two years ago, Congress changed the wording in a bill authorizing federal transportation funding, shifting the formula to limit how much money could go to small transit providers, like Fort Bend, for operating costs.
- Vets Transportation Service (Tenn.) Unveils New Accessible Van
Source: The Leaf-Chronicle
Board Members of Montgomery County Veterans Transportation Services gathered in the courthouse parking lot on Wednesday to unveil their new wheelchair accessible van, made possible by a grant from the Clarksville Montgomery County Community Health Foundation. The group lost their only handicapped-accessible van in an accident last year.
- Salem-Keizer (Ore.) Transit Puts the Bus in Green Business
Salem-Keizer Transit's commitment to sustainability resulted in winning the Mid-Valley Green Award for Sustainable Business of the Year in 2014. They also earned Marion County's EarthWISE certification in 2013. The EarthWISE program is a free business environmental assistance program of Marion County. EarthWISE staff helps businesses recycle, save energy, reduce waste and much more. To earn certification, a business meets criteria in six areas. Salem-Keizer Transit is one of more than 150 EarthWISE businesses and organizations in Marion County.
- Buda (Texas) Moves Forward with Mass Transit Interest
Source: Impact News
Buda has expressed interest to Capital Metro in bringing mass transit service to the city. Capital Metro, a public transportation provider in the Austin metropolitan area, and the city of Buda are expected to begin developing a proposal for extending services to Buda. City Manager Kenneth Williams wrote Capital Metro President and CEO Linda Watson on Jan. 5 to inform the organization of its decision to move forward with a transit development plan, a requisite step toward initiating public transportation services in a new city. Capital Metro is on track to begin a transit development plan for the city of Kyle later this year, Michelle Meaux, Capital Metro regional coordination planner, said. The city pays for demand-response service through the Capital Area Rural Transportation System, which provides bus services for non-urbanized communities in the region, but could add to its public transportation options.
- Follow Us on Twitter!
For all the latest transit industry updates including local system highlights, federal and legislative news follow @CTMag1 and @RAILmag on twitter.
The Porter's Station
Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training
- Training Course: Using the Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM Lite)
Source: National Transit Institute
TERM Lite is an MS Access-based analysis tool designed to help transit agencies perform the following analysis: Estimate the current State of Good Repair (SGR) backlog (total dollar value by asset type); Predict the level of annual investment needed to attain SGR or other investment objectives; Assess the impact of variations in funding on future asset conditions and reinvestment needs; Assess the impact of applying a variety pf investment priorities by mode and asset type. Dates: Jan. 27-28 in Houston, Texas or March 4-5 in Charlotte, N.C.
- Technical Assistance: New National Center Will Support Better Transportation Safety and Mobility
Source: For Construction Pros
The National Operations Center of Excellence - a new, comprehensive technical services center and website - was today, unveiled in Washington during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The NOCoE will help transportation professionals utilize state-of-the-art, real-time proactive management techniques to improve safety and system reliability, combat congestion and better serve the traveling public. The NOCoE is a collaboration of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America with support from the Federal Highway Administration. Officials from all four agencies joined others from the transportation community at the ribbon-cutting event.
The Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- What Does Living 'Close' to Transit Really Mean?
New research, set to be presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, suggests that some cities indeed might be selling their TOD footprint short. A study group led by planning scholar Arthur Nelson of the University of Arizona analyzed the impact that proximity to a light rail station had on office rents in metropolitan Dallas. They found that a quarter of the rent premium ("not a trivial amount," they submit) extended nearly a mile away from transit.
- Transit Tips for the Frigid Cold
Wind chill can bring on frostbite in few as 10 minutes according to the National Weather Service, so here are tips for those waiting outside for buses and trains: Limit your wait time; Take advantage of heaters and shelters that are available at busy park-and-ride lots, rail platforms and transit centers; Dress in layers to comfortably withstand low temperatures; Wear snow boots or foot ware that can grip the surface. Rail platforms and floors on trains and buses can become slippery from snow and water; Wear reflective clothing to help bus drivers spot you, especially in the early mornings before sunrise and evenings after sun set; If a bus stop has not been cleared of snow, stand in the safest place possible. Buses will not stop at places deemed unsafe; Wait for your bus on the sidewalk away from the curb and make sure it stops before approaching it; Never cross in front of a bus unless it is stopped at a traffic light. Don't run after or alongside of a bus or train. Play it safe and wait for the next one; Consider traveling early in the morning or later in the evening when buses and trains are less crowded.
The Information Station
Resources from CTAA
- The Changing American Commute
This edition of DigitalCT focuses on the changing American commute to work - with an emphasis on vanpooling and CTAA's new Vanpool Works product. You'll learn about emerging research and trends, technological breakthroughs and innovative, alternative commuting approaches.
- Tip-Sheet: Planning Inclusive Meetings (PDF)(159 KB)
We offer this short list to encourage you to think about similar tips and reminders as you begin planning a meeting; and a checklist for seeking out meeting locations. We also offer some suggestions for short-term solutions, and, encourage you to find meeting places that are more welcoming or to seek long-term solutions to some of the problems.
- Volunteer Driver Program Review (PDF)
This review from the National Volunteer Transportation Center is intended to support volunteer driver programs in their efforts to provide what might be called "high touch/low cost" transportation services to people who cannot access other community-based transportation. It was designed to enable volunteer driver program managers and staff to review the operations and management of their volunteer driver program in providing and supporting the delivery of transportation services.
- Ahead of the Curve: CTAA's Safety Training Programs Lead the Way
For community and public transportation operators safety has always been the priority. Recent action by the Congress to include new transit safety requirements in the latest surface transportation law reinforces this industry-wide commitment. To help transit agencies further meet their system safety goals and come into compliance with the forthcoming federal transit guidelines, CTAA has launched the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) program.
PASS Training is Now Available Online!
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is excited to announce PASS Basic, the online alternative to its passenger assistance training. Simply by going to http://training.ctaa.org you can access the virtual classroom experience through six audio/visual modules which will prepare your drivers to attend the hands-on aspect of PASS training and attain full PASS driver certification.
- Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships to Promote Community Living
The mission of this project, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living is to demonstrate the value that inclusive processes can bring to transportation efforts. The Community Transportation Association of America, in partnership with Easter Seals, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Westat, is developing, testing and demonstrating ways to empower people with disabilities and older adults to be actively involved in designing and implementing coordinated transportation systems.
- Certified Safety and Security Officer Program
Also, learn more about CTAA's safety training programs. The mission of this Certified Safety and Security Officer Program is to assist in improving the professional preparedness of public and community transportation officers, and to maximize their ability to provide safe and secure transit service.
- The Competitive Edge: Making Community and Public Transit the Best Alternative for Medical Transportation: Today there is never-before-seen complexity in the non-emergency medical transportation field. Limited funding combined with growing patient loads has states seeking intermediaries that can control costs through competition. Community and public transportation providers must become efficient, safe, cost-effective and accountable to maintain these important medical transportation services. The Community Transportation Association, in response to requests from its members, is introducing a new initiative -- the Competitive Edge -- which will give community and public transit providers the tools, resources and benefits they need to make them central players in this new medical transportation environment.
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines