May 18, 2015
About Fast Mail
Fast Mail is a compilation from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) of the latest news and updates from the Community Transportation industry that delivers timely information, resources, and announcements to our members, colleagues and friends. Please keep us posted on your latest news and developments by emailing your content to email@example.com.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- EXPO 2015: It's Never too Late to Register
We're only days away from EXPO 2015 in Tampa, Fla., but it's never too late to take part in the premier annual gathering of community and public transportation. As always, EXPO includes a great portfolio of events, from the best intensive training sessions in the industry along with timely and innovative professional development workshops, not to mention the 26th Annual National Community Transportation Roadeo. Details on these and all other EXPO events are available at www.ctaa.org/expo.
- Don't Miss our EXPO General Sessions (Sponsored by Transit Labs
At this year's EXPO we have two general sessions planned, on Wednesday, June 3 and Thursday, June 4 beginning at 10:45 a.m., in the Tampa Convention Center. The Wednesday session will be led by noted transit planner, blogger and author Jarrett Walker, who will discuss the true meaning of "Human Transit" and his vision of the community and public transportation industry's future. In the second General Session, CTAA Communications Director Scott Bogren will offer a visual look at the demographics and other data trends most likely to reveal the future of the transit industry, including analysis of how you can respond and prepare.
- Pecha Kucha: An Informal Evening of Crowd-Sourced Presentations
Have you always had an idea you wanted to share with your colleagues at EXPO, but it's not quite enough for a workshop session? Or are you in the market for quick, innovative and fun ideas presented in smaller, snapshot doses? On Wednesday, June 3, our first-ever crowd-sourced event at EXPO employs the hip Pecha Kucha format of a set number of slides with pre-set timing for each slide, with each presentation running no more than 7 minutes each! We'll take you out of the standard conference meeting room to a less formal setting with light hors d'oeuvres and beverages-for-purchase after the regular EXPO program has wrapped for the day. You'll hear your counterparts from across the community and public transportation industry briefly share the attention-grabbing high notes of their latest innovations and strategies, hopefully bringing the funny at the same time. Have a fun, unique topic you'd like to share in the Pecha Kucha format? Humorists strongly invited to apply! Just send Rich Sampson a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.
The Capitol Limited
News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital
- Sign-On Letter: Medicaid NEMT in Iowa
After the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave the state a seven month extension, Iowa has released a waiver amendment document that would allow them to extend waiving NEMT through the end of 2016. Their current waiver is scheduled to expire July 31 of this year. The University of Iowa compared survey data of the expansion population to survey data among the traditional population and claiming that there is no statistically significant difference between the two. The comment period for this draft waiver amendment ends on May 24. A sign-on letter to comment on the draft waiver amendment is attached here.
- 16th Biennial Federal Transit Administration State Programs Meeting Washington, D.C. (PDF)
Source: Federal Transit Administration
Mark your calendar for the 16th Biennial FTA State Programs Meeting: Keeping America Moving on August 12-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Learn about new rules to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; mobility-on-demand services; the latest FTA grant opportunities; asset management and more. New this year: safety management systems, FTA's TrAMS grant application/tracking system & changes to Grow America purchasing requirements. Don't miss the train! Stay on top of federal transit programs and opportunities during 2 1/2 days of free, informative sessions and networking with agencies across the U.S. This event is primarily for FTA grantees, especially State Transit Agencies, designated recipients, and other organizations that receive FTA funds.
- National Council on Disabilities Report: Where We've Gone and What We've Learned in Transportation
Source: National Council on Disability
The focus of this report is surface transportation. The findings address accessibility-related progress as well as problems associated with fixed route and deviation bus and rail transit (including AMTRAK); paratransit; public right of way; enforcement of existing laws; and other issues for all modes of public transit. The report also addresses concerns with rural, coordinated, and privately funded transportation, and commercial driver license rules. Finally, the report makes recommendations to Congress and the Executive Branch designed to improve federal collaborative efforts and to close gaps in transportation access in ways which benefit people with disabilities and families.
- Loss of Transportation Funding Could Hurt Local Communities
From private and public sector job losses to deterioration of infrastructure, local communities and their economies stand to lose significantly if federal funding for public transportation is eliminated, according to a new analysis developed by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Experts say many suburban and rural communities could be particularly hard hit. Congress is considering changes that could cut funds for local improvements in communities nationwide. There are two proposals in Congress that eliminate public transit funding from the Highway Trust Fund. And the analysis from APTA shows that both scenarios would result, on average, in a 43 percent reduction in a community's capital improvement funding and would put at risk more than $227 billion in economic activity over six years.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Kitsap Transit (Wash.) Could Unleash More Vanpools
Source: Kitsap Sun
Kitsap Transit has 44 vans sitting around that could be transporting people. They'd be filled with out-of-county commuters if the cost was competitive, vanpool coordinator Tommy Fernandez told the transit board Tuesday. Kitsap residents subsidize vanpools, and those tax dollars shouldn't support outsiders, agency policy has held. So vanpools that enter the county from outside are required to pay the full cost to operate them ($1.09 per mile) while those that remain within Kitsap don't (54 cents to 59 cents). Vanpools that start here and travel outside the county get the lower rate.
- Volunteer Drivers Sought for New Natick (Mass.) Transportation Program
Source: Metrowest Daily News
Town officials are looking for volunteer drivers to participate in a new transportation program. The program, called the Natick Community Connector, is slated to begin once volunteers are in place by providing door-to-door transportation for elderly and disabled residents who need rides to medical facilities and services in Natick and nearby communities. Though it will initially focus on providing transportation for elders and disabled residents traveling to critical medical appointments, organizers said they hope to eventually support trips to pharmacies, grocery stores and MBTA stations. Organizers also hope to eventually expand to serve students attending after-school programs.
- King County Metro Transit (Wash.) to Buy New Buses, Add Trips on 50 Routes
Source: 13 Fox News
Commuters will get some relief this fall when King County Metro Transit buys new buses and adds trips on 50 routes. The Seattle Times reports that King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the bus plan recently. They said that surging regional sales-tax income, low diesel prices, belt-tightening and state grants have freed up enough cash to buy buses and provide more trips.
- Ozark Regional Transit (Ark.) Gets Compressed Natural Gas Buses
Source: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Ozark Regional Transit will soon use an alternative fuel to transport some of its passengers. The authority recently invested in four buses that operate on compressed natural gas, said Joel Gardner, executive director. The transit agency received the buses last week. — The four new buses will be used for routes in Springdale and for paratransit, which is door-to-door transportation for people with disabilities, Gardner said. The transit system plans to put the buses into service within the next two to three weeks.
- Peoria (Ill.) Transit System Celebrates 45 Years
Source: Belleville News-Democrat
The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the organization now known as CityLink was formed in 1970 after a private bus company ended service amid financial problems. Ridership has grown more than 400 percent during that time and its budget has increased nearly 27 fold. General Manager Al Stanek says past surveys have revealed that more than half of all riders use the buses to get to and from work.
- New Transportation Program Will Help Seniors at Two McDowell County (N.C.) Complexes
Source: McDowell News
The McDowell County Department of Social Services will run a fixed route from two of the local community's residential apartment complexes for senior citizens to various shopping centers in Marion. This new service is free of charge. This fixed route will begin running Wednesday from Blue Ridge Terrace Apartments and Winningham Village Apartments to shopping locations such as Walmart, Ingles, Bi-Lo and Food Lion. This route will begin running at 9 a.m. with its first stop at Blue Ridge Terrace Apartments. The route will return every hour to each destination ending with drop-offs at Blue Ridge at 4 p.m., and Winningham Village Apartments at 4:10 p.m. DSS has informed the residents of both of these apartment complexes about this service.
- New Frederick TransIT (Md.) Program Reduces Cab Fare for Senior Citizens, People with Disabilities
A new TransIT of Frederick County program will provide affordable cab rides to senior citizens and people with disabilities during after-hours. "The taxi voucher program is really going to be a game changer," said Nancy Norris, director of the local TransIT. "It will open up transportation options." Prior to the voucher program, eligible candidates utilized TransIT plus, a demand-response transportation service for senior citizens and people who are disabled. While the service is in high demand across the county, it is only available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. "The real issue was that seniors and people with disabilities who don't have a car or don't live on a bus route have no way to get anywhere in the evenings and on the weekends," Norris said. The voucher program, which is managed by MJM innovations in Baltimore, will function in the form of a swipe card system in which voucher credits will accrue.
- Grants Help Expand Marquette (Mich.) Medical Transportation Program
Source: Mining Journal
Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly will be able to expand its medical transportation program, thanks to two grants it received. LBFE Executive Director Cathy Aten said the elderly-service organization recently received a $21,750 grant from Marquette-based Superior Health Foundation to help pay for a $43,500 van equipped with a wheelchair lift. The other $21,750 came from the Portage Health Foundation. Aten said Little Brothers has two wheelchair lift vans, but wanted to increase the number of transportations it does.
- Bend 2030 (Ore.) Focuses Attention on Transportation
Bend 2030 is hoping for more community ideas on how the city can expand transit options. The group is moving into the next phase of talks on how to further develop transportation as the city grows. Erin Foote Marlowe tells KBND that "This transportation issue is actually an economic development issue. We can't have people stuck in traffic or trying to get around our community. Transportation is a really key element of getting people to work on time, to move things across the city, to get jobs done."
- Plan to Add Fixed Stops to Oxford (Ala.) Bus System Nearly Ready
Source: Anniston Star
Charles Benton has places to be most days, from the local hardware store to the Veterans Affairs clinic in Oxford. The Anniston resident uses the public bus system to reach those places and more. Benton is one of thousands of residents who started using the Area-wide Community Transportation System in recent years, nearly doubling its annual ridership since 2006. To deal with rapid growth, the system's operators have for months been working on a plan to add possibly more than 100 fixed stops for all the routes - a plan they expect to unveil to local government officials in June. The goal is to increase efficiency and reduce costs with more designated stops, instead of picking up riders randomly along routes, system operators say.
- Georgetown (Texas) Transit Plan Could Lead to Fixed-Route Bus System
Source: Impact New
This summer City Council is expected to be presented with a plan that could implement a fixed-route bus system throughout the city. Through an interlocal agreement between the city of Georgetown and Capital Metro—the Austin Urbanized Area designated recipient of federal transit funding—the two organizations have been developing the Transit Development Plan Study since November, said Michelle Meaux, Capital Metro regional coordination planner. The city was included in the Austin Urbanized Area as a result of the 2010 census. Because of the designation, transit planning and funding is completed through Capital Metro, she said. The study will help define service plan needs for a future fixed-route bus system in the city, including routes, service hours, frequency and boundaries, and will help determine appropriate services and requirements for providing bus service in Georgetown.
- Pittsburgh Transit Authority is Trying to Make it Easier to Ride the Bus
Have you ever tried to take a city bus without planning ahead? We're talking no Google maps, no bus tracker apps, no folded paper timetables. Just you, walking around a neighborhood, trying to catch the bus somewhere. Probably not. Because in most places, that's not easy to do. In many Pennsylvania cities, the bus stops are pretty basic: just a route number and maybe a destination. No map or timetable. But in Pittsburgh, that's about to change. The regional transit authority has hired a company called CHK America to overhaul its transit mapping system. CHK has designed transit maps for a lot of cities, including London, Nashville, Santa Barbara, and Washington, D.C. In Pittsburgh, a big part of the job will be simply putting maps at the system's approximately 7,000 bus stops.
- 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
- Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty
Source: New York Times
In a large, continuing study of upward mobility based at Harvard, commuting time has emerged as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. The longer an average commute in a given county, the worse the chances of low-income families there moving up the ladder. The relationship between transportation and social mobility is stronger than that between mobility and several other factors, like crime, elementary-school test scores or the percentage of two-parent families in a community, said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the researchers on the study.
- Transit Is a Social Justice Issue
Source: The Stranger
Demanding a halt to the macroeconomic forces that are reshaping/destroying the city isn't realistic or achievable. ("Stop moving, tectonic plates!") Pointing to the harm being done by those forces and demanding policies to mitigate those harms is realistic and achievable. If poor people and working people are being pushed out of the center of the city, we should organize and demand the construction of a transit system that makes it possible for people to quickly get where they need to go without having to own a car.
- Seattle (Wash.) to Buildings: Give Tenants Transit Passes, Not Parking Spots
After decades of telling residential developers to build a minimum amount of parking for tenants, smart cities are now looking for ways to discourage the creation of unnecessary spaces. That's because while some people enjoy the amenity of a personal spot, residential parking also makes housing less affordable (by jacking up rents to defray the cost of building a garage or a lot) and makes traffic more awful (by encouraging commuters to drive to work). It's a small win for a large loss. Seattle is among the U.S. metros working hard to change the situation. Years ago it eliminated a rule requiring developers to build parking for new buildings located in downtown or transit-friendly areas.
- We're Losing Rural Hospitals Across the Nation
Source: Daily Kos
Rural communities are facing a heightened healthcare crisis as hospitals are closing at an alarming rate around the country, with the highest numbers in the south and midwest, where states refused Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. A total of 50 hospitals in the rural U.S. have closed since 2010, and the pace has been accelerating, with more closures in the past two years than in the previous 10 years combined, according to the National Rural Health Association. That could be just the beginning of what some health care analysts fear will be a crisis.
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