June 21, 2016
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: Sponsored by Ecolane
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
Sponsored Content: Free Demo
Did you know that implementing the right transit software can help to realize over a 40 percent increase in organizational productivity? See first-hand how your agency can create a more efficient and effective transit operation, improve customer service, increase customer and driver safety, and enhance resource management with a free software demo from Ecolane.
- Latest DigitalCT Edition: New Concepts: Same Commitment to Transit Safety
The safety of our passengers and systems requires a dynamic approach that is constantly evolving to meet the realities of moving people aboard vehicles and across landscapes that often present challenges and dangers completely out of our control. The best community and public transportation systems have developed both responsive and predictive safety cultures that necessitate regular and updated training, an ongoing emphasis on safety from system leadership and practical accountability.
EXPO 2016: The Results Are In
Thanks to all who attended the 2016 Community Transportation EXPO in Portland. By attendance this was by far our largest show ever. We had 1,325 participants, exhibitors, and speakers attend the show, The Roadeo also proved to be a hit, with a total of 95 drivers competing. Following the show, all of the attendees received a link to survey asking about various aspects of the event. Here are some of the highlights of the results.
- 76 percent of the participants rated the overall EXPO as either very good or excellent.
- 87 percent of participants rated the show as very organized or extremely organized.
- 90 percent of participants said the CTAA staff was either very helpful or extremely helpful, and
- 90 percent of participants indicated they would recommend the EXPO to a colleague.
We also appreciate the people who took the time to give us specific feedback on specific sessions, workshops, and social events. All of this will help us make sure that we are able to produce an even better event next year. The survey is still open, so there is still time to give us input on EXPO 2016 . You can also send your thoughts on what you would like to see in 2017 directly to Charles Dickson, CTAA's EXPO Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Keys to NEMT Success
The Community Transportation Association's new online training course, The Keys to NEMT Success, was launched in April to a terrific response. Two sessions of the course were filled and the reviews were outstanding. This innovative course combines the convenience of online training with the ability to interact in real time with an instructor well versed in the intricacies of non-emergency medical transportation. The class focuses on how you can be more successful in the NEMT arena and the actions you need to take to get you to your goal. The next session is scheduled for July 12, 14, 19 and 21. All classes begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
CTAA's Fed Central
CTAA's one stop for legislative, policy and regulatory news, resources and information.
- CTAA's Analysis of FHWA/FTA Planning Rules (PDF)
Whether you're a planner at a MPO or RPO, or a mobility provider in any community, you'll need know much of the information in this rule, as it has the potential to change the landscape for many urban and rural transit services, and can change the opportunities and rules of engagement for many transportation system users, advocates and other stakeholders.
- Communities Across America Seek $9.3 Billion in TIGER Funding, 18 Times More Than Available Funds
Source: U.S. DOT
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program has received 585 applications from across the country totaling $9.3 billion in requested funding – over 18 times more than the $500 million that will be awarded. Now in its eighth year, the TIGER program has continued to attract overwhelming demand from communities of all sizes, with 337 applications coming from urban areas and 248 from rural communities. The high level of interest underscores the continued need for transportation investment nationwide.
- National Online Dialogue on Transit Worker Assault
Source: Federal Transit Administration
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act mandates that FTA publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish "rail and bus safety standards, practices, or protocols" for "protecting rail and bus operators from the risk of assault." The National Online Dialogue will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to share comments with FTA on their experiences with transit worker assaults and mitigations they've used to reduce or eliminate assaults. The information FTA receives through the National Online Dialogue will help inform the development of the NPRM.
Rural & Tribal
The latest developments in improving mobility in rural and tribal communities
Sponsored Content: Investing in Transportation Technology (Sponsored by TripSpark)
"Resources are limited. That's the big hangup with technology in the first place. 'Awesome, it looks great. How much does it cost? I can't afford it.' If you can get past the investment in technology and look at the value it can provide, you can find that the efficiency gains will more than pay for the upfront costs."
- Interfaith Organization Offers to Guide Multi-County Transit System (Minn.)
Source: Mankato Free Press
Three of the last Minnesota counties to provide rural transit are turning to Mankato-based VINE Faith and Action to study the need and possibly implement the service. Blue Earth, Nicollet and Le Sueur counties are among just a handful in Minnesota which don't offer countywide transit, and they've been pressured by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to add service. County commissioners and administrators have been discussing the options, including working with municipal bus systems currently in operation in St. Peter and Le Sueur. St. Peter city officials indicated interest in administering the three-county system. But after months of discussion, the multiple local governments couldn't come to agreement on how to proceed. VINE, a 21-year-old interfaith organization that relies on volunteers for a growing number of programs to assist people in need, recently agreed to take the lead on the transit effort.
- Beloit (Wis.) Transit to Change Bus Routes
Source: Beloit Daily News
A plan to re-route Beloit's public transit system is hoped to improve efficiency and provide convenient service for riders of the public transportation system. The preliminary phase of the plan, approved recently by the Beloit City Council, was formulated after data and bus riders' opinions were collected over months. Over 400 in-bus written surveys were part of the process, as well as reaching out to various advocacy groups to get a sense of the transit needs of the Beloit community.
- Fulton, Ky. Plans Advance for New Amtrak Station
Several project plans are ready to go in Fulton, Ky., that will hopefully make the city more inviting to visit. Canadian National (CN) Railway recently approved site plans for a new Amtrak Station. It's the busiest one in Kentucky, and more than 40-years-old. Jeff Campbell, who is spearheading this project, says they hope to hear from Amtrak about building plan approvals sometime next week. After that, Campbell says an actual legal document agreement between the City of Fulton and CN, to have access to that land, about an acre, for the next 99 years, needs to be created. Then the final hurdle is creating an operating agreement with the City of Fulton and Amtrak.
- Meetings Focus on St. George To Springdale (Utah) Transit Service
Source: ABC 4 Utah
Would you take a bus from St. George to Springdale? If so, how much do you think it should cost? Those questions are at the center of a trio of meetings held this week along the proposed route. It's an idea that's been tossed around for years: a transit service along the 45 minute drive across the SR-9 corridor. "We have a lot of needs, looking at the disabled people, people with low income jobs, people who need to get to work, people who might need to get into St. George to other places for medical service," Project Manager Ken Hosen said.
News, trends and updates of transit in small urban areas
- Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Officials Commit Tax to Housing and Transportation
Source: Jackson Hole News & Guide
Elected officials set the parameters for the Community Priorities Fund recently in a resolution that designates the expected $48 million from the proposed 1 percent general sales tax to housing and transportation needs. The staff document also outlines potential transportation efforts, including a $13.4 million fleet maintenance and housing compound, expansion and replacement of the START bus inventory and the hiring of a transportation coordinator, a position expected to oversee and execute the community's Integrated Transportation Plan.
- Turlock (Calif.) Considers New Transit System with Increased Routes, Service Hours
Source: Turlock Journal
After close to eight months of research, data collecting, public outreach meetings and City leaders, including Mayor Gary Soiseth, riding the bus around town - the Turlock City Council is prepared to consider adopting major changes to Turlock's transit system. Proposed changes include a new fixed-route design that reduces the overall coverage area of town, but increases service in primary areas. The new service would increase routes from four to six, with bi-directional service on most routes. Service hours would also be increased from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (existing) weekedays to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (proposed), with an increase on Saturdays from 10:10 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. (existing) to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (proposed).
- Trial Run: Cities Watching Burlington (N.C.) Link Transit for Success
Source: The Times-News
Municipalities that once snubbed Link Transit are carefully eyeing the new system and its riders. More than 1,800 people took the bus system during its first full week of service with routes going to medical, shopping and government sites proving to be the most popular with riders. The five routes serve Burlington, Gibsonville, and Alamance Community College and it makes one stop in downtown Graham, but Nunn said they've received "a tremendous amount" of calls from Mebane and Graham residents wanting to ride the bus. Burlington leaders originally pitched the idea to the bulk of the larger municipalities within Alamance County with Graham, Mebane and Elon all deciding against joining the system. Because it was originally set up for more municipalities, it would be fairly simple to add more cities that wanted to join later.
- Lorain (Ohio) Sales Tax Closer to Ballot; Part Would Fund Transit Expansion
Source: The Chronicle-Telegram
The Lorain County commissioners agreed Wednesday to move forward with putting a 0.25 percent sales tax hike on the November ballot, but it won't be completely dedicated to funding public transportation as some had hoped. Instead, the commissioners said they would devote 25 percent of the roughly $9.9 million such an increase would generate each year to Lorain County Transit, while the remainder would go to ease the county's budget woes.
- Georgetown (Texas) Leaders Planning Public Transit System
Source: Community Impact News
After more than a year of planning and study, Georgetown City Council could decide the fate of a proposed fixed-route bus system at its June 28 meeting. The fixed-route bus system, first presented to the council in 2015, was developed as part of the city's Transit Development Plan through an interlocal agreement between the city and Capital Metro—the Austin Urbanized Area designated recipient of federal transit funding.
- Valdosta (Ga.) Public Transit Program Extended
Source: Valdosta Daily Times
Users of the pilot public transit program in Valdosta will be able to ride a little longer. The program has been extended until Sept. 30. It was initially scheduled to end June 30. The new date aligns with the end of the federal Fiscal Year - the primary reason Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Transit and Mobility Coordinator J.D. Dillard said he believes is the reason for the extension.
Specialized & NEMT
Covering the nuances, opportunities & challenges of providing specialized and non-emergency medical transportation
Sponsored Content: People Who Move People: Essays on Public Transit Aficionados
People Who Move People is a series profiling individuals who have made an impact in public transit. The series has been initiated and funded by RouteMatch Software, an Atlanta-based company who is passionate about transit and proud to record these stories.
- Snohomish County (Wash.) Community Transit to Award Surplus Vans to Nonprofits
Source: Bothell Reporter
In addition to expanding bus service in Snohomish County this fall, Community Transit will be awarding up to 10 surplus vans to local non-profit organizations to further meet demand for transportation. The Van GO program was established in 2000 after Community Transit was forced to cut service when the state eliminated motor vehicle tax funding for transit. Since then, the agency has awarded 116 vans and wheelchair lift-equipped paratransit vehicles to qualified 501(c)3 organizations in Snohomish County.
- Marin Transit Studies Senior Transportation as Elderly Population Grows
Source: Marin Independent-Journal
"We are looking at all our programs now and seeing what needs to change," said Jon Gaffney, senior mobility analyst for Marin Transit as he addressed the county's Commission on Aging earlier this month. "We are going to try to strengthen the current programs by working collaboratively with other agencies in the area." To that end, a Marin Mobility Consortium, made up of transportation advocates, has been formed and meets quarterly to discuss issues around seniors and transport. The study does note there is strong support for senior transit in the county.
- Ecolane Acquired By National Express Group
National Express LLC, the parent company of National Express Transit has announced its acquisition of Philadelphia and Finland-based Ecolane and its business assets. Ecolane is a market leader in the demand responsive transportation (DRT) and the paratransit solutions market. Headquartered outside of Philadelphia, Ecolane provides technological solutions and services to increase the productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction levels for their clients.
The Porter's Station
Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training
- Training: Upcoming Sessions from NTI
Source: National Transit Institute
Comprehensive ADA Paratransit Eligibility: June 28-29, 2016 - North Little Rock Ark.; FTA Real Estate Requirements: June 28-29, 2016 San Antonio, Texas; Managing Community Mobility: June 28-29, 2016 Wichita, Ks., August 3-4, 2016 - La Crosse, Wis., August 11-12, 2016 Atlanta, Ga.; Management of Transit Construction Projects: June 22-24, 2016 Denver, Colo.; Paratransit Management and Operations: September 21-22, 2016 State College, Pa.; Title VI and Public Transit: June 22-23, 2016 - Denver, Colo.
- Survey: Americans Overwhelmingly Favor Changes to Support TOD
Nearly three in four Americans (73 percent) would support changes in land use or zoning regulations in their community that encourage transit oriented development, according to a new America THINKS national public opinion survey by HNTB Corporation. The survey, "Transit Oriented Development in America," found that more than half (55 percent) of Americans so value the ability to get to work and play without using a vehicle that they are willing to pay more for their mortgage or rent in order to have this option. This is especially true among millennials* who are much more willing to pay more each month than older Americans (70 percent versus 49 percent).
- Awards: Seven Northeast States Claim National Awards for Outstanding Transportation Projects
Source: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Recently, seven northeastern states' departments of transportation became the first in 2016 to claim awards in a national competition highlighting excellence in construction projects that improve travel safety, reduce roadway congestion and provide more mobility options. The Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials, or NASTO, announced the winners at its conference in Quebec City. NASTO's membership includes some Canadian transportation agencies as well as states in the U.S. Northeast, and it is the first of four regional groups naming recipients of this year's "America's Transportation Awards."
- Resource Atlanta's Community Farmers Markets Aims to Bridge Transportation, Inequality Gaps, Food Deserts
Source: Creative Loafing Atlanta
Community Farmers Markets (CFM) is a nonprofit that manages farmers markets throughout Atlanta, including Grant Park Farmers Market, East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, and Westside Farmers Market. CFM promotes sustainable food distribution while making local, healthy goods easily accessible at weekly markets. CFM introduced the Fresh MARTA Market in 2015, a brand new concept that kicked off at West End station last July. A collaboration with MARTA, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Southwest Atlanta Growers Cooperative (SWAG), the Fresh MARTA Market was a weekly, pop-up farmstand that lasted 16 weeks and saw more than 3,500 visitors.
The Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- Transportation a Growing Barrier to Housing, Employment in Rural & Urban Areas (Iowa)
Source: The Gazette
Our society has long equated housing with economic security and a strong middle class. "The American dream," we're told, is our own house, surrounded by our own patch of grass far from the hustle and bustle of commerce. Transportation and tax policies have incentivized homeownership and sent communities sprawling. New development, often funded with taxpayer incentives, is centralized around major roads and highways. Industrialized development is zoned for one area, retail growth in another. Elsewhere in the community, typically far from employment centers, are the residential spaces. That can be a pleasant arrangement for families with the means and access to vehicles. But lower-income households haven't fared as well. Rising housing costs have placed some neighborhoods out of reach. Inner city housing remains scarce, despite rising demand.
- Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (Fla.) Wins Grant for Free Uber Rides
Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will soon be giving transportation-disadvantaged residents a free ride. The transit agency was awarded a $300,000 Florida Department of Transportation grant to partner with a transportation network company - in this case, Uber Technologies Inc. - to provide free rides to those without access to personal transportation.
- Transit-Only Signals Aim to Get Austin (Texas) Buses Moving Faster
Over the past couple of weeks, KVUE has received several e-mails asking why Austin's Capital Metro buses are running red lights downtown. It turns out, they aren't. It's part of a plan to keep buses moving through traffic. The vertical l line tells buses it's safe to go, while all other vehicles have a red light. A solid triangle appears next telling bus drivers the 'Transit-only phase' is ending soon. Then, when a horizontal line appears, bus drivers follow the regular traffic signal. The thought is: if buses move faster than the rest of traffic, people might seriously consider riding them.
- How Detroit Can Fix Its Struggling Transit Network
Recently, the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, unveiled a $4.6 billion plan to knit Detroit, its suburbs, the Wayne County Airport, and the nearby college towns of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti into one comprehensive network. The Regional Master Transit Plan, or RMTP, would bring integrated transit to the Detroit region for the first time in more than 50 years and solve longstanding problems of transit funding and governance through a mandatory transit millage, or property tax increase, of $120 on every $100,000 of assessed value. Following a public review period this month and RTA board approval in July, the proposal will face an up-or-down vote on the ballot this November across four counties of southeast Michigan.
- Reverse Commute Exposes Backward Transit Systems
Source: Vancouver Sun
Jonathan Whitworth, the CEO of Seaspan, has a problem most businessmen would welcome: Employees' cars fill his company's parking lots. Business is good. That will mean more employees driving to work. This, Whitworth does not want to see. He wants more of his employees to take public transit. The problem is, many of those employees can't take transit due to scheduling problems, or the connections to the North Shore are so poor and cumbersome that commuting by transit makes no sense. The phenomenon bedeviling Seaspan - a problem increasing throughout the Metro area - is the reverse and cross-suburb commute. Instead of a mass flow of suburban commuters heading into the city centre, urbanites commute out to the suburbs, or suburbanites commute to other suburbs.
The Information Station
Resources from CTAA
- New DigitalCT Edition: CTAA's Capital Solutions
CTAA's recently-launched Capital Solutions program has been focused on responding to the changing reality behind transit vehicle selection and acquisition. To understand why new and innovative solutions are essential for mobility providers to compete today, we look at the foundational concepts that have shifted during the past decade and detail how Capital Solutions exists to help close the gaps created by these paralleling trends.
- 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.
- 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.
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