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September 22, 2014

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 fastmail@ctaa.org.

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Around the Depot

New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff

  • New Issue of DigitalCT Magazine: The Georgia Transit Tour
    Come along for the ride as the DigitalCT team takes you on a tour of transit across Georgia, making stops at systems, providers and vendors along the way. From big cities to small towns, military communities to tourist areas, this edition promises to provide a thorough look at the many ways in which Georgians move about their great state on community and public transit.
  • DigitalCT Prepares for Upcoming Issue on Small Urban Transit - Share Your Perspective!
    The next edition of DigitalCT Magazine will focus on the latest trends and issues impacting community and public transit providers in small urban areas, and we want to hear from you. We'll profile several urban transit providers, consider key policy and regulatory issues at the state and federal levels and explore technology such as fleet management software, among other key themes. If you represent a small urban transit provider, share your thoughts with DigitalCT Editor Rich Sampson (sampson@ctaa.org) on any trends, topics or policies that shape your community.
  • CTAA Works with SUN Partners to Develop STIC Dear Colleague Letter
    August 2014: Representatives Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Stephen Palazzo (R-Miss.), along with 16 other House members, author bi-partisan Dear Colleague letter (PDF)(62 KB) supporting doubling the federal commitment to the Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC) program.
  • Affordable Housing and Transportation Partnerships
    A new publication from the National Center for Mobility Management examines how HUD-funded service coordinators in subsidized housing developments are working with transportation providers and others to connect low-wage, senior, and other residents with work, training, and health care destinations. Highlights promising practices for communities. Stay current on all NCMM activities with the NCMM monthly newsletter.
  • Make Your Way to Tampa Bay for EXPO 2015
    Although we just put the wraps on EXPO 2014 in St. Paul, it's not too early to start planning for EXPO 2015 in Tampa, Fla. The 29th Annual EXPO will be held in the Tampa Bay area for the first time from May 31-June 5, 2015. In the meantime, stay tuned to Fast Mail, DigitalCT Magazine and www.ctaa.org for more details.

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The Capitol Limited

News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital

  • House and Senate Return to Districts/States, Time for Transit to Act
    The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate adjourned on Thursday, September 18th, with little plans for reconvening prior to the November mid-term elections. Senators and Representatives will thus be home, offering transit leaders and advocates a great opportunity to communicate community and public transportation's value. CTAA has developed a downloadable card to help you.
  • CTAA's Response to FTA's Request for Comments on Updates to NTD Information Collection (PDF)
    Section 5307 funds are used to finance a number of different types of demand-response transit services, including ADA complementary paratransit, circulators and other demand-response services for the general public, and transit services provided in partnership with various human services programs. When transit agencies report their statistics to the National Transit Database, all these forms of service are categorized and reported as demand-response transit. A large amount of this service is provided by contractors to Section 5307 recipients, in which case, the statistics are lumped under the category of purchased demand-response transit. CTAA is concerned that FTA's proposed clarification for reporting ADA paratransit data as a specific subset of NTD reporting actually will make matters murkier, not clearer, for FTA and the transit industry.
  • RAIL Magazine's Analysis of the Recently-Proposed Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act
    Source: RAIL Magazine
    Although the bill outlines a four-year authorization period for investment in the operation of Amtrak's national network and capital projects for the Northeast Corridor, those annual investment levels are well below Amtrak's requested funding levels. And while a number of key elements - ranging from restoration of Amtrak service between Florida and the Gulf Coast to allowing domesticated pets onboard trains - could ultimately benefit the nation's passenger rail network, it falls short of the sort of comprehensive investment befitting a mode of travel that has carried record number of riders for 10 of the last 11 years and can shape local and regional economies like few others.
  • House T&I Committee Releases PPP Report
    Source: House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
    The Panel on Public-Private Partnerships held roundtables, hearings, and meetings to examine the current state of public-private partnerships (P3s) across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, water and maritime infrastructure and equipment. The Panel found that P3 procurements have the potential to deliver certain high-cost, technically complex projects more quickly or in a different manner than would otherwise occur under traditional procurement and financing mechanisms. However, given the limited number of high-cost, complex projects, P3 projects have the potential to address only a small portion of the Nation's infrastructure needs.

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The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • Bowling Green (Ohio) Will Permanently Expand Public Transit Outside the City
    Source: Sentinel-Tribune
    The City of Bowling Green recently announced its intent to permanently expand the B.G. Transit service area beyond corporation limits to include areas within one mile outside the city. In April, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) granted a six-month demonstration of the expansion. A public hearing held Aug. 19 provided the forum where the city's intent to make the B.G. Transit's expanded service area permanent was announced. The proposed service area expansion will also be included in the service description contained within the city's fiscal year 2015 grant application.
  • TransIT (Md.) Receives Funding for Taxi Vouchers
    Source: Frederick News-Post
    TransIT Services of Frederick County has received funding for its pilot taxi voucher program. State and local sources will provide $200,000 for the system to provide reduced cab fare rates to seniors and people with disabilities. TransIT-plus riders will receive prepaid vouchers for transportation. As early as next spring, customers could each month buy a $10 debit card loaded with $60 for taxi fare or a $20 card loaded with $120. The county will reimburse the taxi companies for the difference and all three local taxi companies will be eligible to be a part of the program.
  • Assisted Rides Program (S.C.) Receives National Recognition for Innovation
    Source: WMBF News
    Assisted Rides, a program offered through the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments gives elderly and disable residents opportunities to get to medical arrangements, make trips to the pharmacy and grocery store and attend church services throughout Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. The program offers transportation to those age 60 and up or age 21 and up for individuals with disabilities. A mobility manager uses Ride Scheduler, a web-based software program, to match riders with volunteer drivers. The software helps make the program affordable and to complete tasks that would otherwise require more staff members. This approach and program has earned Waccamaw Regional national recognition and the 2014 Innovation Award winner from the National Association of Development Organizations.
  • Route 47 Taxi Transportation (Ill.) Keeps Seniors on the Move
    Source: Sun Day News
    The Village of Huntley Senior Transportation Voucher Program now makes it possible for seniors aged 55 and over to obtain rides within the Village of Huntley for just $2. Judy Abrams, a Sun City resident who spearheads The Neighborhood Angels program for Sun City seniors in need of various kinds of assistance, alerted the Sun Day newspaper to this handy community transportation service. She said that Rutledge, the previous free bus service in Kane County, has been discontinued. Abrams wants Sun City's seniors to know about the new transportation program now offered through the Village. Rita McMahon of the Village of Huntley told The Sun Day that this service, the Senior Transportation Voucher Program for Rutland and Hampshire Townships, is provided by Route 47 Taxi Transportation, Inc. Rides are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. within the Village of Huntley only.
  • Cities Approve Funding for Nankin Transit (Mich.)
    Source: Hometown Life
    Continued financial support for the Nankin Transit bus service has been approved by the Westland and Wayne city councils. Westland approved using $82,726 in municipal credit and $109,843 in community credit from the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation to fund Nankin Transit. Wayne approved using $17,290 in municipal credit and $25,203 in community credit. Thanks to the passage of the SMART millage last month, the community credit saw a 15-percent increase. Nankin Transit provides transportation for senior citizens and handicapped residents of Westland, Wayne, Garden City and Inkster.
  • Sussex (Del.) Senior Transportation Cooperative Coming in 2015
    Source: Cape Gazette
    Dr. Nancy Feichtl, founder of the Sussex Senior Transportation Cooperative, said Sussex County is heading for a huge transportation problem with so many seniors living here and many needing rides to medical appointments, shopping trips and other activities. She told the Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary about a transportation solution for Delaware's huge aging population. Sussex Senior Transportation Corporative will support sustainable, community-based transportation services for seniors throughout the county by building a senior transportation network.
  • Sun Metro (Texas) Plans to Re-open Five Points Transit Terminal
    Source: KFOX 14
    El Paso's Sun Metro service restarted recently on Routes 25, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 41, 50 and 55 at the Robert E. McKee Five Points Transit Terminal at 2830 Montana. The terminal will offer new bus bays, Sun Metro officials said. Sun Metro staff members will be onsite to help people with questions about the new service and terminal. It was a yearlong renovation, and the terminal now boasts state-of-art amenities as free Wi-Fi, TV monitors, electronic real-time arrival signs, security cameras, ticket vending machines, an ATM machine and space for a concessionaire. The transit terminal will offer Brio Rapid transit service in the future.
  • Cherriots Plans South Salem (Ore.) Transit Center
    Source: Statesman Journal
    Following up on the opening of $8.1 million Keizer transit center last year, the operator of Cherriots is planning its next move. This time Salem-Keizer Transit wants to establish a transit center on Salem's southern edge. Federal funds, which the agency hasn't yet secured, would pay for its construction. Meanwhile, the agency has forged ahead by picking potential locations. Public records in the transit agency's files show three sites are being considered for the South Salem Transit Center.
  • Venice (Fla.) Looking at Transit Solutions for Downtown
    Source: Herald-Tribune
    During tourist season, downtown becomes a game of chance with drivers jockeying for parking spaces and bicyclists maneuvering around cars and walkers on crowded streets. City leaders decided to analyze how people get around the city and figure out solutions for some key problem areas. A Venice of the future might include a water taxi, a parking garage, lanes reserved for bikers and walkers adjacent to the bridge over the Venetian Waterway, shuttle service to off-site parking during special events, and more places to park or rent bicycles.
  • As Business Grows, So Does Flower Mound's (Texas) Interest in Public Transportation
    Source: The Leader
    Seeing the potential need for mass transit in the future, Flower Mound's transportation commission on Tuesday discussed options with Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) officials. Public transportation in Flower Mound has been discussed for years, but the town's participation has been limited. Flower Mound is a non-funding member of DCTA, which means it votes on the board but does not fund its services. But commissioners and DCTA officials said with the growth in businesses in the area, as well as an aging population, it's important to stay on top of mass transit options. Meanwhile, DCTA board members are about to vote on an evaluation service plan that would allow it to look at ways to expand its services, which includes reaching out to non-member municipalities.
  • City Manager Sees Enhanced Public Transit in Oklahoma City's Future
    Source: NewsOK
    City Manager Jim Couch envisions a future for Oklahoma City that includes enhanced bus service, bus rapid transit, and with time, commuter rail. "Mass transit in OKC is difficult because of our lack of density and our great highway systems, but I see the future being enhanced bus service, bus rapid transit, and with time, commuter rail."
  • 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.

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The Porter's Station

Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training

  • Poll: 68 Percent Want More Transit Spending
    Source: The Hill
    Sixty-eight percent of U.S. residents want more federal spending on public transportation systems, according to a polled released on Monday by a Washington, D.C.-based transit advocacy group. The survey, which was conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute for American Public Transportation Association (APTA), showed a two point increase in support increased transit funding than a similar poll that was conducted last year according to the groups. The transit groups said their poll found that 74 percent of U.S. residents "support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities." They groups added that 88 percent of their poll's respondents "agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges."
  • Report: Who's On Board? Americans' Attitudes Towards Public Transit
    Source: TransitCenter
    On Sept. 18, TransitCenter released Who's On Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey, a 12,000-person survey of Americans' attitudes toward public transit. This first-ever national survey reveals what Americans want from public transit, and provides insight into differences in generational and regional attitudes toward transit and neighborhood choice.
  • Report: States Taking on Bigger Share in Public Transportation Investments
    Source: AASHTO
    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) state transit funding shows that states are spending more on transit and widening the gap between what they pay versus federal government investments. AASHTO's Survey of State Funding for Public Transportation shows that states provided $14.2 billion in transit funding in fiscal year 2012, while federal funds totaled $10.2 billion. The survey is viewed by the public transportation industry, national associations, and federal and state governments as one of the most comprehensive resources on state involvement in public transportation. It provides a snapshot of state-by-state investment in public transportation from federal, state, and local funding sources. The report's numerous tables and charts enable readers to understand how states utilize different funding and tax mechanisms to support transit operations and capital projects.
  • Travel Training for Older Adults Part II: Research Report and Case Studies
    Source: Transit Cooperative Research Program
    TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults Travel Training for Older Adults, Part II: Research Report and Case Studies presents a comprehensive roadmap for designing a travel training program to meet the mobility needs of older persons. This supplemental research report reviews the research plan that produced this report as well as the case studies used to formulate the overall strategic program. The Handbook, Part I, addresses the primary components of an effective travel training program to meet the mobility needs of older persons. It provides an extensive set of guidelines for transit agencies and human services providers on how to build and implement training programs to help older adults who are able to use fixed-route public transit.
  • Free Annual Workshops on Smart Growth
    Source: Smart Growth America
    Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities for zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development through a one- or two-day workshop. Applications are now being accepted for our 2015 workshop series. Communities can apply for one of 12 workshop types as part of the free program. Any unit or subdivision of local government, Indian tribe, or regional government is eligible to apply for these free workshops. Communities may apply for more than one workshop, but must submit separate applications for each. Applications are due by Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
  • Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens: Understanding Direct and Indirect Costs of Transporting Non-Drivers (PDF)
    Source: Victoria Transport Policy Institute
    Household chauffeuring refers to personal motor vehicle travel specifically made to transport independent non-drivers (people who could travel on their own if they had suitable travel options). This additional vehicle travel imposes various direct and indirect costs. This paper identifies factors that affect the amount of chauffeuring that occurs in a community. It develops a Chauffeuring Burden Index which can be used to quantify chauffeuring costs and therefore the savings and benefits of transport improvements that reduce chauffeuring burdens. This analysis indicates that in automobile dependent communities, chauffeuring costs often exceed congestion costs. Motorists often benefit from improved transport options which reduce their chauffeuring burdens, even if they do not use those options themselves.
  • Evaluating Public Transportation Local Funding Options (PDF)
    Source: Journal of Public Transportation
    This article describes and evaluates 18 potential local funding options suitable for financing public transportation projects and services. They are evaluated according to eight criteria, including potential revenue, predictability and sustainability, horizontal and vertical equity, travel impacts, strategic development objectives, public acceptance and ease of implementation. This is a somewhat larger set of options and more detailed and systematic evaluation than most previous studies. This study discovered no new options that are particularly cost-effective and easy to implement; each has disadvantages and constraints. As a result, its overall conclusion is that a variety of funding options should be used to help finance the local share of public transit improvements to ensure stability and distribute costs broadly.
  • Towards More Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Transport Evaluation (PDF)
    Source: Victoria Transport Policy Institute
    This report describes ways to make transportation planning evaluation more comprehensive and multi-modal. Conventional transport planning is mobility-based, it assumes that the planning objective is to maximize travel speed, and evaluates transport system performance based primarily on motor vehicle travel conditions. A new paradigm recognizes that the ultimate goal of most transport activity is accessibility, which refers to people's overall ability to reach desired services and activities. This new paradigm applies more comprehensive and multi-modal evaluation which expands the range of modes, objectives, impacts and options considered in the planning process. This is particularly important in large growing cities where increased motor vehicle traffic imposes particularly large costs, and in developing countries where a major portion of households cannot afford cars.
  • Multimodal System Design Guidelines
    Source: Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation
    The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has developed statewide guidelines for multi-modal planning and design at the regional, community and corridor scales. The Multimodal System Design Guidelines provide a holistic framework for multimodal planning with a step-by-step process of identifying centers of activity, designating connected networks for all travel modes, and designing and retrofitting specific corridors that fit with the surrounding context. This process can be applied to the full range of contexts throughout Virginia to plan connected regional transportation networks to serve all travel modes.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Aging in Community: Start Thinking About Transportation Before You Need It
    Source: Chapel Hill News
    Community mobility or transportation is essential for independence and access to engagement in everyday life activities, which leads to improved health and quality of life. Start thinking about alternate transportation now. The transition to the passenger seat usually occurs over a number of years. Consider supplementing your driving alternatives during this time by exploring transportation options in your community!
  • Why the People in Charge of Transit Systems Should Be Required to Actually Ride Transit
    Source: CityLab
    Such a practice would be unimaginable in private industries, think of an Apple employee using a PC, and Spieler thinks the same should go for public transportation. The importance of service frequency, or rather the immense frustration of infrequency, is hard to grasp for someone whose car is always ready and waiting. The mindset that agencies should only care about customers when they're on a transit vehicle, but not during their walk to the station, is also an artifact of inexperience, he says.
  • Responding to Transit Funding Criticism
    Source: Planetizen
    Travel demands are changing. Automobile travel grew rapidly during most of the last century so it made sense to devote significant resources to expanding roads and parking facilities, but automobile travel is now peaking while public transit demand is increasing due to demographic and economic trends including ageing population, rising fuel prices, increased urbanization, changing consumer preferences and increased health and environmental concerns. It therefore makes sense to invest more in public transit now to prepare for future demands.
  • Healthy Benefits Come from Smart Growth Plans
    Source: U-T San Diego
    Better planned neighborhoods with more transit options could eliminate vehicle trips and provide numerous exercise opportunities. If our kids can walk to school because it's close to home, they can safely engage in physical activity on a daily basis. If fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables grown locally are available, we can cut down on the visits our kids make to fast food restaurants.
  • Forget Tesla. It's Buses, Not Cars, That Will Lead the Electric Revolution
    Source: Slate
    Municipal intracity buses may be declassee, unloved, slow, lumbering behemoths. But they're the workhorses of America's transit systems. Last year, according to the American Public Transportation Association, buses hauled 5.36 billion passengers. While usage has fallen in recent years, thanks in part to the growth of light rail and subway systems, buses still account for more rides each year than heavy rail, light rail, and commuter rail combined, and for about half of all public transit trips. Proterra, a South Carolina-based manufacturer with Silicon Valley ties, thinks it can lead the electric revolution. Fueled by the two forces that are transforming renewable and alternative energy in this country, venture capital and the U.S. government, the company has already put a few dozen electric buses on the road, with the promise of more to come.
  • Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community (Hint: Mobility is Number One)
    Source: Dedham Transcript
    Size and location are important. CCRCs vary in the number of residents and the physical size of the campus. If you have no mobility issues, you may love a sprawling campus or living units that are at a distance from the common areas and activity rooms. If you move more slowly, you may prefer a smaller community with a more compact layout. You should also consider carefully the location of your particular unit within the facility, as well as such things as the distance from your unit to the elevator or the trash chute. Consider how close the community is to your family, your doctors' offices, your place of worship, or other places to which you frequently travel. Some communities provide transportation for their residents on scheduled shopping trips or individual excursions. If you will be relying on community transportation, make sure it will take you where you need to go and understand any costs involved.

The Information Station

Resources from CTAA

  • 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.
  • New from the National Volunteer Transportation Center: 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 LogoPASS 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.

Transportation to Work Toolkit 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.

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Contact

Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729
202.415.9666