May 13, 2013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- New Edition of DigitalCT Magazine: The Future of Connectivity...Today!
Profiling innovative and practical examples of regionalism, connectivity and co-location, this edition of DigitalCT magazine underscores themes the Association has reinforced for more than five years, stressing the importance of linkages between mobility networks and recognizing the value of the customer experience.
- Listen to The CT Podcast with Sandra Webb, Transportation Manager, Heart of Texas Council of Governments on Their Response to the Explosion in West, Texas
Sandra Webb is the transportation manager for the Heart of Texas Council of Governments in Waco, some 30 miles south of West. She was watching the unfolding news of the explosion on television when her phone rang. They needed buses up in West to help evacuate people and to offer shelter to first responders. She had four vehicle there as fast as possible. This edition of the CT Podcast highlights the vital role that community and public transportation plays in emergency preparedness and response, even in rural communities. Webb and her staff exhibited the very best of community transit on that tragic evening in West, Texas.
- Coming Soon: The EXPO App!
Stay tuned to your inboxes for the release of the 2013 version of the EXPO Conference App! After its successful debut last year for EXPO 2012 in Baltimore, this year's installment will again provide comprehensive details on the EXPO, including access to all EXPO workshop materials and presentation files. The app will be available for both Android and Apple products.
- It's Your Last Chance to Sign Up for the EXPO Mobile Workshop: A New Mexico Transit Tour
Join CTAA's Rich Sampson -- Editor of Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines -- for an extensive moving workshop where EXPO attendees can witness several New Mexico mobility options in action! On Wednesday, June 5, Rich will lead participants from the Albuquerque Convention Center to the Alvarado Transportation Center, where representatives from ABQ Ride -- the city's transit provider -- will showcase the station's many intermodal connections and provide background on ABQ Ride's portfolio of options. Then, participants will board the 4:26 p.m. departure of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express to Santa Fe. Along the way, Rich and representatives from the Rio Metro Regional Transit District as well as other officials will explain the service's role in connecting New Mexico's most populous region with frequent and reliable rail service. Upon our arrival in Santa Fe at 6:03 p.m., we'll meet with transit professionals from Santa Fe Trails, who connect with the Rail Runner in the city's historic downtown and serve the city. We'll board the return trip to Albuquerque at 6:46 p.m., arriving back at the Alvarado Transportation Center at 8:18 p.m. Since space is limited, please contact Rich directly at email@example.com to reserve your spot. Join us for an informative and first-hand look at the exciting mobility options New Mexico has to offer!
The Next Generation System for Coordinating Transportation
Trapeze Community Connect (TCC) is the solution to the complex process of connecting communities via public transportation.
TCC can connect agencies running existing Trapeze software as well as third party scheduling solutions. This means there is no need for agencies to make major policy changes or combine complex data to get regional scheduling solutions.
Agencies can continue to run their respective autonomous rules, as TCC considers those rules during schedule generation. Upon query, instead of possible trips limited to one agency, customers receive various options from all transport agencies and all available modes of transport in their region. Requests for trips across agencies are managed, locked, and distributed via TCC.
Read our brand new TCC White Paper to learn more about this innovative solution.
The Capitol Limited
News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital
- House Budget Committee Hearing Spotlights Gap in Solving Major Surface Transportation Challenge: How to Pay for It
Source: U.S. House of Representatives
On Wednesday, April 24, the House Budget Committee held a hearing entitled, State of the Highway Trust Fund: Long-Term Solutions for Solvency. Both the testimony and the questions and statements by House members during the lively two-hour hearing shed light on just how wide the gap is in plans to deal with this key community and public transportation issue. MAP-21 is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2014, and the Highway Trust Fund is feared to be in (or near) negative balance at the same time.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Headland Joins Forces with Wiregrass Transit (Ala.) to Assist Residents with Health Needs
Source: Dothan Eagle
The city of Headland recently joined forces with the Wiregrass Transit Authority to help senior citizens needing transportation to dialysis treatments in Dothan. Last Friday, the city of Headland held a press conference to announce the program has been expanded. Also in attendance for the press conference were Mark Culver, Houston County Commission chairman; Mike Schmitz, mayor of Dothan; and John Sorrell, manager of the Wiregrass Transit Authority. "We are proud to be able to provide this service to the residents of Headland," Sorrell said. "This service will be available Monday-Friday, three different times a day. Currently, we have around eight regular individuals, but we are predicting the numbers to increase tremendously, since it is open to all residents and not just senior citizens."
- Low-Cost Bus Service Launches Between Anchorage and Fairbanks (Alaska)
Source: Alaska Dispatch
On Monday, April 29, Schlueter Services Inc., began offering public transportation between Wasilla and Fairbanks. It bills itself as the first year-round, round-trip intercity public transportation link on the Parks Highway. And while it may be the first of its kind in a while, the co-owners of the new service hope to offer a missing link that's not currently fulfilled by tour buses, transit or taxi cabs.
- Camarillo Dial-a-Ride Service (Calif.) Extends Hours
Source: Camarillo Acorn
Camarillo residents who use public transportation will be able to catch a late movie on Saturday nights or travel to work earlier on weekday mornings. A new pilot program has extended the hours of the city's Dial-A-Ride services. The Camarillo City Council voted to extend the hours of the bus service. Dial-A-Ride is offered through Camarillo Area Transit and is similar to a taxi service. Riders make reservations to use Dial-A-Ride, and a one-way trip costs between $1.50 and $2. Dial-A-Ride previously offered services on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The council voted April 24 to extend weekday services to 6 a.m. for commuters who take early Metrolink trains into Los Angeles.
- Southeast Fort Worth (Texas) Urban Village Rolls Forward with Transit Center Opening
Source: Fort Worth City News
Progress on a transit-oriented urban village in southeast Fort Worth continues with the opening of that area's first bus transit center on April 24 at 1500 E. Berry St. The T's buses will began picking up and dropping off riders at Sierra Vista Transit Plaza the next day, April 25. The Sierra Vista Transit Plaza features a wide bus lane, four large bus shelters with colorful glass panels and roofs, benches, landscaping and a security fence.
- 'Pop-Up' Transit Station Featured In North Tulsa (Okla.) Community Event
Source: News On 6
Tulsa Transit, INCOG, and Tulsa's Young Professionals introduce a plan to enhance bus service along Peoria Avenue with pop-up transit stations. An example of a pop-up station was built by volunteers for an event Saturday, May 11 on the north side of Tulsa, called "Street Cred: North Star." Ty-Pros is hosting the community revitalization event, and using the opportunity to promote "Pop-Up" transit. The idea is to put 36 of these stations along Peoria to speed up service and convenience.
- North East Arkansas Transit Provides Transportation to Area Citizens
Source: Northeast Arkansas Town Crier
North East Arkansas Transit is providing affordable, rural transportation opportunities to residents in Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Poinsett, Mississippi and St. Francis Counties. Services began in Jackson and Woodruff on March 25. Transportation opportunities include shopping, medical, socialization, employment, education, public services and much more.
- Summit Stage Ridership on the Rise in Summit County (Colo.)
Source: Summit Daily
More riders than local transit systems have seen in years packed buses in Breckenridge and across the county in the first part of this year, a trend officials say may indicate a stronger local economy. The Summit Stage saw a 4 percent across-the-board increase in riders in March from the same month last year, after several months on the rise. Total ridership in 2012 was up nearly six percent from 2011. The Breckenridge Free Ride has seen even bigger gains. Passengers packed the local transit system in the first three months of the year, pushing it to the highest ridership levels in four years, since the peak in 2009.
- St. Peter Transit System (Minn.) Working to Accommodate High Demand
Source: St. Peter Herald
The wheels on St. Peter's buses are going round and round and round again as high demand for the city-run transit system is forcing staff to think of more efficient ways to serve the city's bus riders. According to City Administrator Todd Prafke, the small four-bus transit system is already over capacity. As complaints about wait times continue to increase, it is time to consider alternative ways to transport St. Peter's residents from one end of the city to the other.
- Making Public Transportation Simpler in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Source: Upper Michigan's Source
Alger County residents can now enjoy a more organized public transportation system. Recently, community members and leaders gathered to dedicate the new Munising Bus Transfer Station and Park. The two-and-a-half year project cost $280,000 and was funded through several local sources. The main contractor for the project was Johnson Brothers Construction from Munising. Now all ALTRAN buses and passengers have a center point for service right in the heart of downtown on East Superior Street.
- Wrightsville Beach (N.C.) May Look Again at Wave Transit service
Although the idea has been rejected in the past, a Wrightsville Beach alderman is interested in again exploring the possibility of bringing Wave Transit to the town. In February, Wave began service to Carolina Beach as part of a redesign of its routes. Wave officials are wary about approaching Wrightsville Beach about service again, though, in large measure because of past rejection. Wrightsville Beach's parking is maxed out, though, and congestion has proven to be a major headache for citizens and law enforcement throughout tourist season.
- Comprehensive Transportation Plan Proposed for Portsmouth (N.H.)
Source: Seacoast Online
Imagine a place where buses, bicyclists, cars and pedestrians all move together in harmony. Picture a streetscape where all of these types of transportation are able to coexist. The city, through a newly released report, is working to create this type of world. Once implemented, the recommendations in the report could mean more bicycle racks, more walkable streets, better access to public transportation and more public parking.
- Public Transportation Levy Passes in Perrysburg (Ohio)
Source: Toledo Blade
Perrysburg City voters recently passed a five-year, 0.8-mill transit levy that will bring back public transportation to the community. The levy is a little more than half the amount of a levy that was voted down in November. It will generate about $450,000 per year, and would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $50 a year. The levy passed with 71.91 percent of the vote in the 16 Perrysburg precincts. Last month, Perrysburg City Council decided to go with Ride Right, a dial-in ride service, for its public transportation services if the levy passed. Ride Right was used from Sept. 22 to Nov. 27 last year after the city's services with TARTA ended. Perrysburg Administrator Bridgette Kabat said the city has already worked with Ride Right to get up and running as soon as possible.
- Valley Regional Transit Buys Land for New Caldwell Transit (Calif.) Facility
Source: KIVI TV
Valley Regional Transit has purchased the former Happy Day Ford dealership site on Cleveland Boulevard in Caldwell and plans to develop it into a maintenance and operations base and a public transit center, said VRT spokesman Mark Carnopis. The Caldwell Boulevard site will be the new home for ValleyRide Canyon County Operations, which are currently housed in a leased facility on Industrial Road in Nampa. The current facility has inadequate space for parking buses, has only a dirt lot, only one access point, minimal parking for staff and visitors, only one usable maintenance garage door for the buses, and minimal lobby space.
- Q'Straint Launches Mechanical Remote Option for Wheelchair Securement Station
Q'Straint recently announced the availability of a new option for its award winning Q'POD, the first fully integrated wheelchair securement station. The Velocity XPress is a mechanical remote release option that eliminates the need for electrical integration and makes Q'POD installation retrofits faster and less costly. The release system enables drivers to unlock rear restraints for 15 seconds enabling quicker wheelchair securement and better positioning. The remote release minimizes bending by driver/operators, reducing back injuries and improving securement.
- 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
- TCRP Researchers Seek Input on Web-Based Feedback Tools
Source: The Transit Wire
A new study from the Transit Cooperative Research Program is looking at how transit agencies can use web-based tools - including online polls and surveys, social media, mobile applications, and crowdsourcing - to gather feedback from customers and other stakeholders. The project team is inviting transit operators to participate in a survey about their current and future uses of web-based feedback. This is a web-based survey that should take 10-15 minutes to complete. Click here to access the survey.
- Curriculum Aims to Get College Students Thinking About Careers in Public Transportation
Source: Progressive Railroading
Since 2011, the National Transit Curriculum Advisory Committee - an Eno Center for Transportation affiliate - has been developing a semester-long course that universities nationwide could offer. Committee members hope to have the curriculum ready by December so that campuses could offer it as soon as 2014, says Jill Hough, the committee's chairwoman and program director of the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University.
- Congestion Costing Critique: Critical Evaluation of the "Urban Mobility Report" (PDF)
Source: Victoria Transport Policy Institute
The Urban Mobility Report (UMR) is a widely-cited study that quantifies and monetizes (measures in monetary units) traffic congestion costs in U.S. metropolitan regions. This report critically examines the UMR's assumptions and methods. The UMR reflects an older planning paradigm which assumes that "transportation" means automobile travel, and so evaluates transport system performance based primarily on automobile travel speeds; it ignores other modes, other planning objectives and other impacts. The UMR methodology overestimates congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits by using higher baseline speeds and travel time unit cost values than most experts recommend, by ignoring induced travel impacts, and using an inaccurate speed-emission curve. Its estimates represent upper-bound values and are two- to four times higher than result from more realistic assumptions. The UMR claims that congestion costs are "massive," although they increase total travel time and fuel consumption by 2 percent at most. It exaggerates future congestion problems by ignoring evidence of peaking vehicle travel and changing travel demands. The UMR ignores basic research principles: it fails to identify best current practices, explain assumptions, document sources, incorporate peer review, or respond to criticisms.
The Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- Who Should Pay for Transportation Infrastructure? What is Fair?
The root of the problem is that automobile transportation is costly - more costly in total than other modes. Motorists spend, on average, about 18 percent of their income on their vehicles and fuel, and about 10 percent of their housing costs for residential parking. This heavy cost burden makes motorists selfish; they often argue that somebody else should bear the costs of road and parking facilities in order to make driving affordable, and that no transportation funds should be "diverted" to support other modes. As a result, alternatives are underfunded: although 10-15 percent of urban trips are made by walking and cycling, non-motorized modes only receive 1-3 percent of total transportation funding, and far less if parking facility costs are also considered. A better solution than increasing subsidies for driving is to invest more in affordable modes, particularly walking and cycling facilities, in order to reduce total transport costs.
- The 10 Percent Solution Would Set Our Transportation Priorities Straight
Source: Milwaukee Business News
Local roads are critical to support businesses, stir local economies, and increase safety and community vibrancy. Transit is also critical for local economies as it creates and connects people to jobs and the elderly and disabled to the places they need to go. Our transit systems are relatively inexpensive compared to how much they provide to the community.
- Home Values Near Transit Outperform
Source: Urban Land Institute
Homes near public transit retained their value better during the recession than their counterparts in auto-dependent areas, according to a recent study. What's impressive is the extent of it: In five metropolitan areas—Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, and San Francisco—residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with frequent service.
- Minnesota Should Invest in Transportation
Source: Minnesota Post
Thousands of Minnesotans from the labor and environmental movements have found common ground on ideas - such as investing in transit and transportation - that create good, family-supporting jobs while making our country more efficient and protecting our environment. Minnesota has an opportunity to plan ahead - and to catch up. Other parts of the country already are investing in transit, knowing that it will help them to attract the best and brightest workers and companies to their metro areas, as well as making it more affordable and sustainable to get to work.
- New Signage Hopes to Make Chicago Transit Connections Easier
Source: Chicago Tribune
New blue signs and expanded "way finding maps" are popping up around Chicago and in two transit-rich suburbs, pointing commuters and would-be riders to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Metra rail stations and CTA and Pace bus stops. Some of the new information is letter-coded too, listing the "A, B, C's" of how to make connections on public transit, as well as by walking short distances, to get where you want to go. It's part of an experiment led by the Regional Transportation Authority to help demystify transit links between CTA, Metra and Pace and, officials hope, increase ridership by making public transit more familiar and welcoming.
The Information Station
Resources from CTAA
- Partner With CTAA for Critical Training Needs
CTAA can be your partner in developing customized training courses in any area of critical need. When and where is training provided? Open enrollment classes are offered at regional venues around the country and at our annual convention. Closed enrollment classes may be requested by a local, regional or state agency. Please visit www.ctaa.org/training to view our training calendar or email firstname.lastname@example.org more information.
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.
- Veterans Transportation Resources
The National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination (NRC) has put together a list of resources for transportation (and other human services) issues from the perspective of veterans and military families.
- 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.
The Transportation to Work Toolkit for the Business Community gives businesses the information they need now to assist their employees in achieving a timely, cost-efficient commute that promotes productivity and job satisfaction. Explore the toolkit's flyers, fact sheets, resources and examples of transportation initiatives undertaken by employers nationwide. Each approach is straightforward to launch and simple to manage.
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines