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July 18, 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



Around the Depot: Sponsored by Ecolane

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

Choosing Your Software Provider

Sponsored Content: Arlington Handitran Case Study
Arlington Handitran engaged with Ecolane to replace its inefficient, legacy scheduling and dispatching system. With goals to increase hourly ridership, improve data collection processes, and enhance transit reporting capabilities, Arlington Handitran worked closely with Ecolane to streamline internal processes and achieve greater operational efficiencies and optimizations. To learn more about how transit scheduling software can transform your agency's internal operations, download the full case study.

  • CTAA's 2016 Small Urban Network Conference in Denver: August 10-12
    We are delighted to be hosting our second SUN conference Aug. 10-12, where transit professionals and advocates from around the nation will discuss such vital topics as innovative funding, serving university communities, emerging new partnerships and even bus rapid transit opportunities. It promises to be 48 hours of mega ideas and ideal networking. Sponsored by RouteMatch.
  • The 2016 STAR Awards Application Now Open
    The 2016 STAR Awards program is organized by the National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC), an initiative of the Community Transportation Association of America. The program and the awards, sponsored by Toyota, celebrate excellence in providing volunteer transportation. Toyota has committed to a relationship with the NVTC in the spirit of developing improved mobility for older adults and persons with disabilities. Applicants for awards should provide volunteer transportation either as a volunteer driver program or volunteer escort program. A team of experts in transportation, aging, and volunteerism selects award winners. In addition to cash awards for programs of excellence, a 2016 Toyota Sienna will be awarded to the program that submits the outstanding application. Additionally, all applicants will be entered on the Map of Volunteer Driver Programs which is located on the NVTC website. The application will be open through August 2016.
  • EXPO 2017 Is Motown Bound!
    It's not too early to start planning for EXPO 2017: June 11-18, Detroit, Mich. As usual, EXPO will feature the same industry-leading training and professional development sessions, the National Community Transportation Roadeo and dynamic networking events, among much more. In the meantime, this Pure Michigan video will set the stage for your Detroit experience.


TripSpark Technologies

CTAA's Fed Central

CTAA's one stop for legislative, policy and regulatory news, resources and information.

Sponsored Content: Welcome to the Future of Cashless Faring (Sponsored by TripSpark)
Automated Faring Systems can move your agency into the 21st century. Check out this guide to learn more about how the total system works together to: reduce the expense of cash handling, prevent fraud and fare evasion, as well as provide much-wanted mobile solutions for riders.

  • Infographic: Federal Bus Capital Investment Levels Don't Match Demand (PDF)
    Recently-released data from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) demonstrates the investment levels for the federal competitive Bus Capital and No-Lo Emission programs provided under the FAST Act are substantially lower than the needs demonstrated through grantee applications. The Bus Capital Competitive Program received $1.647 billion in requests but only $213 million available. Likewise, the No-Lo Emission Competitive Bus Capital Program attracted $446 million in requests but only offered $55 million in funding opportunities.
  • Federal Transit Appropriations Update (PDF)
    In case you were wondering where things stand with respect to federal transit funding in the next fiscal year (FY 2017, which begins on October 1, 2016), here's the status: Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed their work on FY 2017 Transportation/HUD Appropriations. While the next step is a relatively simple floor vote in each chamber (these are non-controversial bills, honoring the FAST Act's authorizations in the DOT title), it's not at all clear when (or if) floor action will take place. Since this is an election year, the Congressional work schedule has very few days remaining: a couple of weeks this month before the party conventions, and a few weeks in September. Since House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been favoring "open rules" for House consideration of all spending bills, getting these measures through the House is not a quick or easy process. So, don't be surprised to see if a bunch of appropriations measures, including the Transportation/HUD bill, get folded into a catch-all measure, or maybe a continuing resolution, this autumn.
  • FTA Seeks Transit Advisory Committee for Safety Nominees
    Source: Federal Register
    The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve as members for two-year terms on the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS). TRACS provides information, advice, and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) and FTA Administrator in response to tasks assigned to the committee. TRACS does not exercise program management responsibilities and makes no decisions directly affecting the programs on which it provides advice. The Secretary may accept or reject a recommendation made by TRACS and is not bound to pursue any recommendation from TRACS. FTA is asking for all Nominations to be submitted by Aug. 31, 2016.
  • Report on Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age
    Source: PCAST
    On March 15, 2016, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a Report to the President on Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age. With many Americans wishing to live in their homes and communities for as long as possible, technology such as prosthetics, wearable sensors, and other tools for daily living can make that possible. Many older adults do not need aid with day-to-day living, but may want support with specific activities like financial management or participating in their job.
  • Lawmakers Back Bill Allowing Transit Benefits to Apply to Ride-Hailing
    Source: The Hill
    A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has introduced new legislation that would allow federal workers to use their transit benefits on other transportation options while Washington's Metrorail system undergoes a yearlong repair effort. Under the bill, backed by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the federal government's public transit subsidy would apply to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, and bike-rental programs like Capital Bikeshare.

Rural & Tribal

The latest developments in improving mobility in rural and tribal communities

  • Meet Liberty, the Uber-like Service Built for Rural America
    Source: Silicon Prairie News
    Many rural residents across the U.S. rely on public transportation for medical appointments, shopping and other necessities. But distance and a limited number of providers can make this challenging. A startup in the NMotion Accelerator is changing that. "Our key solution is to improve mobility in rural areas by connecting various types of public transportation with a rural Uber version," said Valerie Lefler, President & CEO. "Our drivers can help improve service at night or on weekends, or when a public transit bus is on the other side of the county."
  • Muscle Shoals (Ala.) Hoping for Transit Grant
    Source: Times-Daily
    The city will apply for a Alabama Department of Transportation transit grant to help the purchase a van. The Muscle Shoals City Council approved a resolution supporting the city's application for federal transit funds administered through the state transportation department, and directed Mayor David Bradford to apply for the grant. Bradford said if the grant is approved, the city will purchase an accessible, modified 12-passenger van to replace a used van the city received from the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments years ago to provide transportation assistance for the city's senior services.
  • County Seeks Federal Dollars for Kendall Area Transit (Ill.)
    Source: Kendall County Now
    The Kendall County Board voted unanimously to apply for federal money to help offset the county's expenses to operate the Kendall Area Transit program. County Administrator Jeff Wilkins explained that the 5310 federal grant program is administered through the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). "These are mainly dollars to help the disabled and the elderly," he said. KAT is Kendall County's public transit service.
  • Public Forums to Discuss Changes to Murray County Heartland Express (Minn.)
    Source: Daily Globe
    Murray County Heartland Express will join forces with Community Transit of Western Community Action on Aug. 1. In advance of the change, there will be open forums throughout Murray County in July to answer questions and gather public input about transportation needs. "We really want to give residents and transit users a chance to ask questions and meet the staff of Community Transit," said Bonnie Nielsen, Transit Coordinator in Community Transit's Jackson office.
  • Connecticut to Authorize More Money for Transit
    Source: Republican-American
    he Malloy administration is poised to authorize nearly $200 million more in state bonding for roads and highways, bridges and mass transit. The State Bond Commission is expected to vote to approve the transportation financing at its upcoming meeting, including $59 million for local projects and $139.2 million for state projects.

Small Urban

News, trends and updates of transit in small urban areas

  • Wave Transit (N.C.) Hosts Public Forums on New Program for Seniors, People with Disabilities
    Source: WECT
    Wave Transit announced Tuesday four public forums regarding a new transportation program for people age 65 and over and people with disabilities. People with disabilities, older adults, service providers, advocates, and caregivers are encouraged to attend, but all are welcome. Wave Board member and New Hanover County commissioner Jonathan Barfield said the services are much needed. "We [have to] make sure we are servicing the community, recognizing our county is no longer a rural county," Barfield said. "Porters Neck is growing, and when Castle Hayne starts to develop we need to make sure we are providing resources in that area, as well."
  • NEWS Revised Levy Expands Lorain County Transit (Ohio) Share
    Source: Lorain Chronicle-Telegram
    Lorain County commissioners offered to evenly split a 0.25 percent sales tax between improving public transportation and raising money to deal with expected shortfalls in the county budget in the coming years. It was a change from the 25 percent of the roughly $9.9 million that the commissioners had offered to fund expanding Lorain County Transit during a meeting last month.
  • SLO Transit (Calif.) Sets New Record for Rides Given
    Source: KSBY
    Public transit in San Luis Obispo has set a new record this year for the most rides given. In the last year, SLO Transit has given more than 1.2 million rides across San Luis Obispo, growing nearly six percent from 2015. SLO Transit is a fixed-route transit operation that works out of the city's Public Works Department.
  • Corning (N.Y.) to Purchase New CEATS Buses
    Source: The Leader
    The city has been awarded a $675,000 state grant to purchase five new buses for the Corning Erwin Area Transit System. City Manager Mark Ryckman said the grant was awarded by the state Department of Transportation with the assistance of First Transit. "These new buses will help to improve the reliability of transportation we provide to the public," Ryckman said. "First Transit has been the long-standing operator for our system. We look forward to their continued high level of service." The city will spend a local share of $75,000 to purchase the buses.
  • Nashua Buses Find New Way to Avoid Getting Lost in Translation
    Source: NHPR
    There's been lots of talk lately about how smartphone apps like Uber are "disrupting" traditional modes of transportation. Nashua offers the case of an old-line transit agency embracing an app for its own purposes. It allows drivers and non-English speaking passengers talk to each other, in a way, through the app's almost real-time translations.

Specialized & NEMT

Covering the nuances, opportunities & challenges of providing specialized and non-emergency medical transportation

  • Grants to Boost Benton County (Ore.) Bus Service
    Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times
    An influx of grant money is enabling the Benton County Special Transportation Program to beef up its offerings in a number of ways, from upgrading its bus fleet and adding drivers to launching a pilot shuttle service connecting riders with Amtrak trains in Albany. The program provides transportation for seniors, people with disabilities and rural residents in Benton County. It also offers free transportation to people with disabilities for the Corvallis Transit System. Seeking to address a variety of needs, county officials applied for five Oregon Department of Transportation grants this spring, four of which were awarded. Two grants totaling $260,000 will go toward updating the program's fleet of two dozen buses.
  • Hastings (Minn.) to Get New Community Transportation Service
    Source: Hastings Star-Gazette
    DARTS and Hastings community partners have teamed up to accommodate Hastings residents with a new community transportation service that will allow residents without cars to have a reliable and convenient service. In an effort to create a transportation plan that will help everyone, an advisory board that consists of a variety of members from different organizations compiled a survey that be crucial to establishing a final plan.
  • CrossTown Connect Transportation Management Association (Mass.) Simplifies Transportation
    Source: WickedLocal Lexington
    CrossTown Connect Transportation Management Association announced that as of July 11, a single fare structure was introduced across all on-demand Council on Aging shuttles in Acton, Boxborough, Littleton and Maynard. These new fares also apply to the Road Runner and MinuteVan Dial-A-Ride services of Acton. Under the new pricing, all one-way trips within and between any of the four communities, as well as certain surrounding areas, will cost $1.
  • Howard County (Ind.) Commission Candidate Advocates for County-Wide Transit System
    Source: Kokomo Perspective
    In the wake of the discrimination complaint raised against Kokomo Cab, the only provider of transportation services for persons with disabilities on weekends, Democratic candidate for Howard County Commissioner Joe Ewing said he's hoping to launch a solution to that issue. The solution, according to Ewing, comes in the form of a county-wide transit system for the disabled and elderly, not dissimilar to the Spirit of Kokomo. "We've got seniors out in Jerome, Greentown, or Burlington who have to get to the doctor's offices, hospitals, and they need to buy their groceries," said Ewing. "There's funds available out there. We did just a little research. I'm looking to give the taxpayers something in addition, something back for their taxes providing a service that's needed for a lot of people."
  • Southeast Texans Asked to Weigh-in on Public Transportation Needs
    Source: Beaumont Enterprise
    Starting next week, residents of Jefferson, Orange and Hardin counties will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the region's public transportation needs. The South East Texas Regional Planning Commission's Transportation and Environmental Division will gather comments from four public meetings scheduled for this month to create the group's Public Transportation Coordination Plan. The purpose of the plan is to "increase the availability and efficiency of public transportation services for all neighborhoods and communities, and to strengthen connections throughout the region," according to information from the Planning Commission.


CTAA and Newtek

The Porter's Station

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

  • Report: Developing Transit in Walkable Areas & Frequent, Fast Bus/Sail Service Key to Ridership
    Source: Transit Center
    A new report released today by TransitCenter, a foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility, finds that developing transit in walkable areas and offering frequent, fast bus and rail service is the key to increasing urban transit ridership. The report, "Who's on Board 2016: What Today's Riders Teach Us About Transit That Works" draws on results from three focus groups and a survey of 3,000 people in 17 U.S. metropolitan areas with varying levels of transit development and ridership.
  • Guide: Intelligent Transportation Systems - Connected Vehicles
    Source: Battle
    This paper communicates background and status information on the progress of various Connected Vehicle (CV) applications that fall under the greater topic of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSs). In addition to reviewing the current standing of CV projects that have been explored in the industry, this paper highlights Battelle's role in the continued development of this transportation industry sector.
  • Synthesis Study: Onboard Camera Applications for Buses
    Source: Transit Cooperative Research Program
    The synthesis explores onboard camera current technologies, research, and opportunities. It provides by example how onboard electronic bus surveillance systems are used to improve operations, safety, security, training, and customer satisfaction.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Investing In Public Transit Lifts Up Working People
    Source: Huffington Post
    As economic inequality continues to increase, new research shows that commuting time - not education or family structure - is emerging as the strongest factor in determining whether someone can escape poverty, and access to public transit can play a crucial role. That's because reliable, affordable public transportation is a gateway to a better quality of life that comes from good jobs, quality public education and other public services. For the millions of Americans who can't afford a vehicle, a simple bus or subway route can mean the difference between chronic poverty and hope for financial stability.
  • The Fourth Virtue of Public Transit in the World of Uber, Self-Driving Car
    Source: City Observatory
    When one person switches from the bus to Uber, two things happen. One is that they get a faster trip almost by definition: A vehicle that makes many stops (the bus) is going to be slower than a vehicle that makes few or no stops (the Uber) unless the bus has some other advantage, like transit lanes that allow it to avoid traffic congestion. And the vast majority of American bus lines are given no such benefit. The second thing is that they switch from a very space-efficient vehicle, where they probably take up only a few square feet on the road, to a very space-inefficient vehicle, where they take up many, many times more.
  • The Choice vs. Captive Transit Rider Dichotomy Is All Wrong
    Source: Streetsblog
    Far from being captive, transit riders without cars are in fact very sensitive to the quality of service. So-called captive riders have other choices available, like biking, taxis, and borrowing cars, and most do take advantage of them - almost two-thirds of car-free transit riders had done so in the last month. A big problem with the choice/captive rider dichotomy is that it prompts planners to invest in "sexy" features aimed at luring choice riders out of cars - like Wi-Fi or comfortable seats.
  • On Politically Tricky Transit Projects, Many Cities Let Voters Weigh In
    Source: Star-Tribune
    Ballot initiatives "give local officials the ability to turn a tricky political decision over to the voters," said Jason Jordan, executive director of the Center for Transportation Excellence, a Washington, D.C., group that tracks transit spending. Since 2000, transportation initiatives have been on the ballot in 41 states, with an average of 71 percent passing. "We have found no partisan connection with these [transit] measures at all," he said. "Voters really have a chance to evaluate whether they believe there's value in a project or not."
  • Some Thoughts on Gentrification and Transit Improvements
    Source: 2nd Avenue Sagas
    Opposing transit upgrades because they may lead to displacement seems to suggest that we cannot solve accessibility and affordability as improving accessibility decreases affordability. Over the years, studies have shown that transit access will be a factor in increased rents and gentrification, but transit access isn't the only factor. It is, then, possible and necessary to implement zoning and housing policies that can tamp down on the upward pressures transit access exerts on the affordability of a neighborhood and stave off displacement.

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 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 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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Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729