April 7, 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.
Speak up for Transit!
- CTAA's Speak Up For Transit day will be Thursday, April 9. On (or around) that day, we're encouraging all of our members to schedule meetings with the local offices of their House and Senate members, local media and state and local elected officials to stress the importance of community and public transit in the surface transportation reauthorization debate in Washington, D.C. To assist in these vital conversations, we've put together the following resources:
- Webinar: Finding Funding at the State and Federal Levels
On Wednesday, April 8 at 1 p.m. Eastern, TripSpark hosts "Finding Funding at the State and Federal Levels." Whether you're interested in the future of state/federal funding models or are currently engaged with an application, TripSpark will have industry experts on hand to answer your questions. There are new and existing funding sources available to many types of transportation organizations, but accessing eligible funds and grants can seem complicated and daunting. CTAA Communications Director Scott Bogren will be speaking on the best practices for locating and preparing funding applications. On the client side, our guest will be John Metzinger from CityBus who will speak towards the benefit of earmarking funding for transportation technologies.
- Contact Congress About Bus Funding
Source: The Bus Coalition
It's been three years since the enactment of MAP-21 that any specific and large bus capital funds have gone to bus transit systems, and we encourage Congress to establish a Bus State of Good Repair Program that will give bus transit systems the ability to fund large and specific bus and bus facilities purchases that have developed into an almost crisis status as continuing resolutions have not addressed this crucial issue that must be dealt with now. We urge you to contact both your U.S. House and U.S. Senate Members today to share with them this bill language (PDF)(325 KB). At the same time, we want you to ask them to contact the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Banking Sub-Committee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development urging them to include the language no matter which legislative path they decide to take.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- EXPO 2015 Deadlines Are Approaching!
Some deadlines for Community Transportation EXPO are approaching. The deadline for receiving the best price at one of the EXPO hotels is April 29. We have three great places to choose from. Hurry rooms are going fast. Here is the link for the EXPO hotels. You'll also want to get the best price available for EXPO registration. The deadline for members to receive the lowest price is May 4.
- Mobility Managers and Transportation Planners: Together, Facilitating Public Input into Transportation Plans
NCMM Webinar, April 16, 2:00 p.m. ET
Transportation planners are employing creative strategies to ensure the public can provide meaningful input into planning efforts. Since the passage of MAP-21 and the administration's focus on Ladders of Opportunity, planning agencies are seeking to augment these outreach strategies to better include older adult, people with disabilities, and lower income audiences. Mobility managers, with their reach deep into the community, are natural partners for planners in bringing these segments of the population into transportation planning efforts. In this webinar, Dwayne Weeks, Director of FTA's Office of Planning, will join with presenters from local agencies to discuss the roles FTA, FHWA, and MPOs play in transportation planning and innovative examples for boosting public participation. The latter half of the webinar will be a panel discussion of how mobility managers and transportation planners can together accomplish the important work of enhancing public input into coordinated transportation planning as well as broader long- and short-term transportation planning. Register for this webinar and view archived NCMM webinars.
- Time for a Little Communications Spring Cleaning?
The snow is melting (at long last!), sunset is a little later everyday and all around us, signs of spring abound. It's a perfect time to take control of your operation's communications and image. The CTAA Communications Corps is here to help. Fresh approaches, successful outcomes and insightful communications strategies tailored to your agency are just a phone call away. Call CTAA's Scott Bogren at 202.247.1921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a preliminary discussion.
- Coming Soon: New Issue of DigitalCT Magazine to Explore Rural Transit's Greatest Generation
Today, more people ride community and public transit systems in rural communities than ever before. But how did we get to where we are? Rural public transit systems largely had their genesis in the late 1960s and early 1970. In this edition of DigitalCT, we'll look back at the circumstances and policies that led to the development of many of the nation's rural mobility options and how far these systems have come since then.
- Annual Membership Awards: Excellence in Motion
We are seeking nominations for our 2015 annual membership awards. As a member you can nominate yourself or any other person or organization that is a member for the important work you or one of your colleagues are doing. The award categories are Rural Community Transportation System of the Year, Urban Community Transportation System of the Year, Community Transportation Manager of the Year and State Leadership Award. All awards are due by April 17, 2015.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Connecticut Opens 9.4-Mile CTfastrack Bus Rapid Transit System
Source: CT Now
People looking to get in on a small part of history, weekend workers and a handful of transit enthusiasts hopped onto CTfastrak buses Saturday, March 28, and generally gave good reviews to central Connecticut's new transit system. Despite unseasonable snow flurries, a few mechanical and high-tech glitches, and a schedule-disrupting fire at a downtown high-rise, the first full day of operations at CTfastrak went reasonably smoothly.
- Cobb County (Ga.) Expands Bus Service With Flex Routes
It just got a lot easier to get around parts of Cobb County by bus. The Cobb County Department of Transportation rolled out a new "Flex bus service" recently that allows residents to travel almost anywhere they choose in the metro area. Riders can use the new, on-demand service to call and make a reservation for home pick-up or catch the busses at any Flex bus stop within three county zones. Riders of the Flex service, which only operates in the three zones right now, can use the service to travel anywhere within the individual zones or they can transfer to Route 30, which allows them to catch busses to destinations outside the zones.
- New Buses, Routes, Times Come to Colorado Springs
Source: The Colorado Springs Gazette
The Colorado Springs transit service, Metropolitan Transit, now provides 22 routes on weekdays, including eight that run later than 6:45 p.m. That will increase to 24 weekday routes and 10 evening routes when the Manitou shuttle commences. Meanwhile, the transit service has ordered five 30-foot buses, compared with its existing 35- and 40-foot-long buses.
- Orange County (N.C.) Launches Transportation Service for Seniors
Source: News of Orange
The Orange County Department on Aging is launching a community transportation program that connects volunteer drivers to older adults. The program will assist those who don't have access to public transportation run errands and get to medical appointments. The program seeks volunteers to drive for two to three hours a week. Volunteers are given gas mileage reimbursement and training.
- RedCoach to Make Daily Stops at Tampa's Marion Transit Center (Fla.)
Source: The Tampa Tribune
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority has contracted with luxury bus service RedCoach to provide service from its Marion Transit Center in downtown Tampa. RedCoach will connect passengers with West Palm Beach, Miami, Tallahassee, Gainesville and other cities, with MTC pickup at 10:40 a.m. daily and returns at 4:55 p.m., said HART spokeswoman Sandra Morrison. The added stop for RedCoach, which already has pickup locations at the University of South Florida and Tampa International Airport, will bring in a new source of income for HART over the next five years.
- Transit Improvements Coming to Walnut Hills, New Hub to Northside (Ohio)
Over 13,000 people board or exit a Cincinnati Metro bus near Knowlton's Corner in Northside every day. That's second, city-wide, only to Metro's primary hub at Government Square downtown. That's why Metro wants to build a brand new transit center where Hamilton Ave., Spring Grove Ave., and Blue Rock Rd., three of Cincinnati's biggest urban arteries, all converge in Northside.
- Sweeping Study of Greenville (S.C.) Transportation Needs Launched
Source: Greenville News
The challenges of providing transportation across the large and diverse expanse of Greenville County will be the subject of a sweeping, nine-month research project aimed at finding solutions. The project, commissioned by the Piedmont Health Foundation, will pair an engineering consulting firm with a broad range of community leaders to take stock of the county's transportation capabilities and needs. "The lack of a comprehensive system of transportation has long been cited by employers, nonprofit organizations, community leaders and residents as a barrier to accessing health care, job, education, recreation and more," said Katy Smith, the foundation's executive director.
- 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 Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- We Need to Finance and Subsidize Mass Transit
Source: Huffington Post
For some, the convenience and speed of leaving the auto at home is worth the money, but for working people struggling to make ends meet it is a hardship, and overall, higher mass transit fares encourage people to drive. Of even greater concern than rising fees is the failure to adequately fund the capital plans that keep mass transit systems from deteriorating.
- Millennials' Urban Lifestyle Driving Transit Improvements
A trend toward renewed urbanization in larger U.S. cities has not escaped the notice of real estate professionals. The phenomenon is being driven to a large degree by younger people who are less likely to own cars and more likely to ride transit, they said. The millennial generation - those born between about 1983 and 2000 - are now the largest population group in the U.S. Research shows that millennials are trending toward an urban lifestyle not linked to vehicle ownership. Experts say that new urbanization is closely tied to improvements in mass transit.
- How to Dramatically Improve Public Transit Without Building More of It
Source: Washington Post
When we think about the inefficiencies and poor customer service of public transit, these are relatively doable, affordable fixes geared at simply making it easier for people to use the infrastructure we've already built. Instead, regions like San Francisco make commuters learn a dozen different fare structures. We tell students and seniors that they get a discount on one service but not another. We financially penalize people with long commutes - many of them low-income - who have to use multiple systems every day. And within this world, we give individual agencies no incentive to help passengers navigate a trip beyond the end of their line.
- Former Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Mayors Discuss Relationship Between Communities, Importance of Transit
Source: Ypsilanti Courier
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti's immediate former mayors came together recently and spoke about the importance of their cities being good neighbors to one another and also the importance of public transportation for the entire area. John Hieftje from Ann Arbor and Paul Schreiber from Ypsilanti spoke at a panel called "Reflections From the Trenches," held Tuesday, March 24, in the Pray-Harrold classroom building at Eastern Michigan University.
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