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March 17, 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


TripSpark Technologies

Around the Depot

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

  • We Need Your Help Collecting Data on Bus Capital Needs
    We at CTAA have heard time and again about the lack of sufficient federal investment in bus capital is reaching crisis stages. In order to make the case to leaders in Congress that legislative remedies are needed to overcome this shortfall, we need data - from you. Please review the following questions on bus capital needs and send your responses to Rich Sampson at
    1. In the next two years, what is your system's bus replacement need (be specific about numbers and sizes of buses) and contrast that to the amount of funding you receive in Sect. 5339 (Bus and Bus Facilities Formula).
    2. With MAP-21's passage in July 2012, Section 5311, Section 5310 and Section 5307 formula were increased. Did your agency's budget increase accordingly?
    3. What are the short-term and long-term consequences of no additional bus capital revenue beyond MAP-21 levels (service level reductions, fare increases, staff reductions, etc.?
  • Time for a Little Communications Spring Cleaning?
    The snow is melting (at long last!), sunset is a little later everyday and all around us, signs of spring abound. It's a perfect time to take control of your operation's communications and image. The CTAA Communications Corps is here to help. Fresh approaches, successful outcomes and insightful communications strategies tailored to your agency are just a phone call away. Call CTAA's Scott Bogren at 202.247.1921 or email to schedule a preliminary discussion.
  • Exploring the Transit Consolidation & Mergers Trend
    Recently, a number of community and public transportation agencies have consolidated their operations with neighboring systems. If your agency has recently undergone a merger process, is considering a consolidation or you know of an example, please share those details with Rich Sampson at, including the role of state or regional entities involved in the process and any outcomes (positive or negative) as a result of the combination of systems. Rich is working on a feature piece in an upcoming edition of DigitalCT exploring this very timely topic.
  • New Issue of DigitalCT Magazine to Explore Rural Transit's Greatest Generation
    Today, more people ride community and public transit systems in rural communities than ever before. But how did we get to where we are? Rural public transit systems largely had their genesis in the late 1960s and early 1970. In this edition of DigitalCT, we'll look back at the circumstances and policies that led to the development of many of the nation's rural mobility options and how far these systems have come since then.
  • NCMM Healthcare Design Challenge Deadline Approaching
    NCMM will award grant funds of up to $25,000 to selected community-based teams to design innovative solutions to healthcare-related transportation challenges. Winning teams also receive technical assistance during a 6-month period to take potential solutions from concept to impact. There is still time to apply. Applications are due March 27, 2015.
  • Annual Membership Awards: Excellence in Motion
    We are seeking nominations for our 2015 annual membership awards. As a member you can nominate yourself or any other person or organization that is a member for the important work you or one of your colleagues are doing. The award categories are Rural Community Transportation System of the Year, Urban Community Transportation System of the Year, Community Transportation Manager of the Year and State Leadership Award. All awards are due by April 17, 2015.
  • Register Now for EXPO 2015!
    The 29th Annual EXPO will be held in the Tampa Bay area for the first time from May 31-June 5, 2015. Registration is now open for EXPO 2015 and the National Community Transportation Roadeo. Full details on all EXPO events are available, including information on this year's special conferences on technology and volunteer transportation programs, as well as the conference intensives are now available.



The Capitol Limited

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

  • CTAA's FedCentral: Your One-Stop for Transit Policy and Legislation News
    We urge all transit leaders, officials and advocates to make our FedCentral page a regular visit. Newly updated, the site offers news and analysis of Congressional hearings, regulatory news, important resources and more. As MAP-21 reauthorization discussion heats up, visit FedCentral for the latest, breaking news and analysis.
  • Coming to DC? Pay a Visit to CTAA
    As the legislative visit season heats up here in Washington, D.C., we'd like to extend an invitation to all CTAA members coming to the nation's capital to pay us a visit. We can help explain the latest MAP-21 reauthorization news, provide you with resources and offer you a great cup of coffee. Our office is located at 1341 G Street, NW, on the 10th Floor. We're a mere block north of the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • Seattle (Wash.) Public Transit Reacts To Income Inequality
    Source: WBUR
    In early March, the Seattle metro area launched an initiative to address income inequality through public transit. People in low-income households can now ride buses, trains and ferries at reduced fares. The initiative is among the first of its kind in the U.S., and transit experts across the country are watching closely.
  • Many from Community Rely on KiBois Area Transit System (Okla.) as Invaluable Transit Service
    Source: Tahlequah Daily Press
    KiBois Area Transit System transports an average of 550 people in Tahlequah every day, according to Route Supervisor Terri Squyres. KATS is a public transportation system available to area residents for any of its routes. While some routes have been set through a partnership with the Cherokee Nation the Department of Human Services, most rides are "demand and response" trips.
  • Southern Illinois Transit Service Not Just for Seniors
    Source: Belleville News-Democrat
    Williamson County's transit service isn't just for seniors. Officials in the southern Illinois region are trying to get the word out that the Rides Mass Transit District is open to anyone who needs a lift. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the service picks up riders at homes and ensures safe travel door-to-door. Rides Mass Transit has 15 offices in the southeastern region of Illinois. One is scheduled to open in Harrisburg at the end of the month. The service is partly subsidized by Delta Regional Authority, a federally funded, multistate economic development program.
  • Public Transportation Vital for People in Rural Maine Without Private Vehicles
    Source: Kennebec Journal
    For many people in Maine, public transit and coordinated sustainable community initiatives are vague concepts that apply to larger cities, but not to those of us who live in rural areas. We have long been an independent population, and our private cars have been our connection to the important elements of our lives. That reality is changing. Members of the Sustain Mid Maine Transportation Team and the Active Community Environment Team have been meeting regularly to discuss and promote ways to keep Maine residents active, healthy and independent, regardless of whether they have access to a private vehicle.
  • Broome County (N.Y.) Unveils New Fleet of BC Transit Buses
    Source: WBNG
    Broome County is unveiling a new fleet of clean diesel BC Transit buses, which were purchased, in large part, with a federal grant. The group of seven new diesel buses came with a price tag of $2.8 million. $2.2 million was covered by a grant from the United States Department of Transportation's State of Good Repair program. Congressman Richard Hanna (R) worked to secure the funding. "This is very exciting," Commissioner Greg Kilmer of the Broome County Department of Public Transportation, said. "We've had a very aging fleet of buses in a time when we've had increasing demand on ridership." That increase is largely due to a growing population of college students in the area. Officials said new diesel buses are more fuel efficient, and more economical. The "old diesel" buses cost $1.50 per mile to operate, while the new ones cost just 45 cents a mile.
  • Connecticut's BRT Scheduled to Start in Waterbury on March 28
    Source: Republican-American
    After three years constructing a 9.4-mile busway from New Britain to Hartford, the state is ready to unveil the region's first rapid bus transit system, called CTfastrak, later this month. "There's a lot to do, but yeah, we're on schedule and the pieces are really falling into place," said Michael Sanders, transit administrator for the state Department of Transportation, which oversaw the design, construction and implementation of CTfastrak.
  • Northeast Georgia Health System Gives Seed Money for Senior Transport Service
    Source: Gainesville Times
    A nonprofit, primarily volunteer-run transportation program serving Hall County's senior citizens has received seed money from the Northeast Georgia Health System to help it become operational. iTNLanier aims to provide "arm-in-arm, door-through-door" rides to seniors over age 65 who can no longer drive, as well as the visually impaired. It is meant to be a personal, reliable, cost-effective way to provide transport services to active seniors and the elderly, whether they need to make a doctor's appointment, attend church, do some grocery shopping or gather for social events.
  • BRT Route Among Three Chicago (Ill.) Loop Construction Projects Kicking Off This Spring
    Source: Chicago Sun-Times
    Downtown Chicago will be bursting with construction this spring as work begins on three major transit infrastructure projects. A new Loop bus rapid-transit system, a new CTA bus terminal at Union Station and a new Washington-Wabash CTA L station will modernize transit from Union Station to Millennium Park, city officials say.
  • Woodands (Texas) Transit Plan Calls for Expansion of Bus Services
    Source: Houston Chronicle
    The Woodlands Township Board has accepted the final draft of The Woodlands Transit Plan from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The plan includes options to expand existing services and develop new transit options as the area continues to grow in population and employment. There are three separate systems that officials recommend implementing - a regional bus system, a community-wide bus system and a Town Center bus system.
  • 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 Porter's Station

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

  • Webinar: Finding Funding at the State and Federal Levels
    Source: TripSpark
    On Wednesday, April 8 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, TripSpark hosts the Webinar "Finding Funding at the State and Federal Levels." Whether you're interested in the future of state/federal funding models or are currently engaged with an application, TripSpark will have industry experts on hand to answer your questions. There are new and existing funding sources available to many types of transportation organizations, but accessing eligible funds and grants can seem complicated and daunting. CTAA Communications Director Scott Bogren will be speaking on the best practices for locating and preparing funding applications. On the client side, our guest will be John Metzinger from CityBus who will speak towards the benefit of earmarking funding for transportation technologies.
  • Webinar: NTD Safety and Security Reporting - Basic Setup/Non-Major Event Reporting
    Source: National Transit Institute
    NTI, in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is offering a webinar series to discuss the National Transit Database Safety and Security Module. The series is comprised of two webinars: Basic Setup/Non-Major Incident Reporting and Major Incident Reporting. The Basic Setup/Non-Major Incident Reporting will review the following forms: S&S-10, S&S-20, S&S-30, and S&S-50. Each webinar (April 4 and 5) will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
  • Innovation: University of Cincinnati Students May Receive Credit for Driving Older Adults
    Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer
    University of Cincinnati students may receive credit for driving older adults in a pilot project that will provide transportation to the elderly. The university has partnered with the Independent Transportation Network of Greater Cincinnati for a program that may expand to other universities. Cincinnati is the only city in Ohio currently in the network, in which volunteer drivers provide door-to-door services for adults who have paid dues to the non-profit organization. The program, Driving Community Connections, is supported by the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Board of Regents. This semester, UC students who volunteer can take a one credit hour online elective course to learn more about the aging process. Ohio Department of Aging staff will participate in class webinars.
  • Technology: Using Mappable Data App to Change Transit Routes On the Fly
    Source: Government Technology
    The trajectories of transit routes have never been intuitive. Today, buses traverse city streets on what is more or less a loose science of rider estimates. Policies, politics, zoning densities and thoroughfares, the pitch and roll of topography - they've all been contributing factors. To simplify the process, transit planners far and wide are waiting for a tool that can responsively adjust their bus routes to real-world data. And such a tool is nearly here.
  • Study: Technology Application Among Florida Community Transportation Coordinators
    Source: National Center for Transit Research
    The objective of this project is to gather and disseminate best practices in the application of technology in the paratransit field. The report will provide a comprehensive assessment on how representative agencies deliver successful services provided to ADA and non-ADA riders on demand-responsive mode of transportation. This study will inform the industry on the state of the practice and initiate an exchange among providers in the state of Florida that documents successful practices.


CTAA and Newtek

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • CTFE Has Analyzed 15 Years of Transit Referendum Data to Come Up with Secrets to Success
    Source: CBC
    The Center for Transportation Excellence, which supports Yes campaigns in transportation referendums has analyzed almost 15 years of transit referendum data and found a few common attributes of successful campaigns. "If those pieces are in the mix, we have found that even in tax-phobic regions of our country that voters are consistently willing to tax themselves for move those projects forward," said executive director Jason Jordan. Based on the data, Jordan's advice is: Get the message out about exactly what people will get; Clearly state what value the projects will bring to the community; Explain how the plan fits into the long-term vision for the community and the region; and Speak directly to credibility issues by demonstrating how safeguards like accountability and transparency will be in place.
  • Improving Bus Service Can Help Roads, Economy and Commuters
    Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
    "In an editorial last week, we argued for a better system of funding the reconstruction and maintenance of the nation's roads. But in addition to a more balanced mix of revenue streams, the nation and local governments also need to find a better balance of transportation options, from air to highways to rail to transit. Last week, the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum issued a report on how the Milwaukee County Transit System could improve bus scheduling and speeds to make transit a more attractive option to commuters and families and ease the pressure on the area's roadways. Some of the proposals in the report have been talked about, others are in development and more will depend on a willingness to fund needed changes. But they all deserve continued discussion and consideration not just as a transportation option but as an economic development tool that could get workers to jobs and shoppers to stores throughout the region."
  • Cities That Subsidize Transit Will Get the Best Value for Money in the Absence of Congestion Pricing and Bus Lanes
    Source: London School of Economics
    Should urban authorities subsidize public transport systems? Many academics who have studied transport pricing disagree on the answer. In new research, which examines transit subsidies in London, UK, and Santiago, Chile, Leonardo Basso and Hugo Silva find that bus lanes, car congestion pricing, and subsidies can all be very effective in improving people's welfare - but that adding an additional policy does not have as much of an effect as the first. They argue that policymakers who wish to help the poorest should put into place transit subsidies, as this will do the most to help the poor and redistribute incomes, compared to the alternatives.
  • Public Transit a More Sustainable Transportation Option
    Source: Waterloo Record
    Investments in transit infrastructure do not exist in a silo. Planning policies that favor intensification and transit-supportive developments are contributing factors to creating a built environment that improves the viability of transit. Readers must be cognizant of the fact that transit and land use go hand in hand. Students and young professionals are a segment of commuters that should be targeted, as a high-quality transit system plays a role in attracting both prospective students to local post-secondary institutions and young professionals beginning their careers. It should also be noted that students, a demographic that plays a large role in the local economy, rely on transit to get where they need to go. Finally, both transit services and automobiles use the same public infrastructure, with its maintenance being paid primarily through local property taxes and gas tax allocations from upper levels of government. Arguing that investment in public transit means less investment in the public infrastructure is inaccurate.
  • Self-Driving Cars Won't Fix Our Transit Woes
    Source: Pacific Standard
    Self-driving cars are cool in a Jetsons future kind of way: Artificial intelligence promises to provide more time and efficiency in our lives, to make us safer, to give us a better quality of life. In their current form, they also double down on the mid-20th century bet on the staying power of suburban sprawl—hardly an ideal or particularly imaginative vision of the future when our highways are congested and our cities are growing. But it doesn't have to be this way.
  • Building Transit Can Save Health Care Dollars, Say Researchers
    Source: Vancouver Sun
    It seems obvious that commuters who use transit, ride their bike and walk might be healthier. But the magnitude of what this can mean for reducing rates of chronic disease and saving health care dollars is surprising, according to researchers at the University of B.C. "If you look at transit alone, the science there isn't rigorous," says Lawrence Frank, director at UBC's Health and Community Design Lab. "But in public health, all this is not associative. It's actual, causal evidence" in support of investing in more compact, walkable and transit-focused communities. "When you build transit, you get people walking (more) and driving and polluting less," says Frank. "Our results suggest that transit use contributes to healthy body weight and reduced chronic disease."

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 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.
  • 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.

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Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729