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August 17, 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



Mobility Insights

In-depth, value-added content brought to you by Fast Mail's sponsors

Sponsored Content by TripSpark

Sponsored Content by TripSpark
How Fixed Route and Paratransit Agencies are Profiting from Data Analysis: The benefit of having automated data collection technology is that you have access to a mountain of accurate transit data. Listen to how industry experts have found ways to gather and analyze data in order to get better use out of resources, identify and eliminate areas of waste, monitor performance, and gauge rider response.

Sponsored Content by Ecolane

Sponsored Content by Ecolane
The Impact of Funding on the Future of Rural Transit Webinar
For rural transit providers, finding viable funding opportunities continues to be an uphill battle. With limited resources and restricted capital funding, it can be extremely difficult to achieve the financing needed to scale, increase operational efficiencies, or adopt the technology and software needed to create a streamlined and effective transit operation. To learn more about the importance of funding for rural transit agencies, register for Ecolane’s live 30 minute webinar, The Impact of Funding the Future of Rural Transit on Aug. 29 at 1:00 p.m. (EST)

Norm Mineta

Sponsored Content by RouteMatch
The Ladder of Success: Norm Mineta – People Moving People Series: People Who Move People is a web 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. This edition features former Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Commerce, Member of the House of Representatives, & Mayor of San Jose, Norm Mineta.


TripSpark Technologies

Around the Depot

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

  • CTAA's Fast Mail Marketplace Launches September 1 (PDF)
    CTAA's new quarterly publication of products and services for the community and public transportation industry - Fast Mail Marketplace – will debut September 1. The new resource will provide key updates directly from companies and manufacturers with direct links to their latest updates and offerings. Listings in Fast Mail Marketplace are available to any business for $500, with a discounted $200 rate for CTAA members. To connect your product or services with CTAA's members and Fast Mail audience, contact Tom Smull at or 515-201-3133.
  • New Edition of DigitalCT Magazine: How To...
    This collection of how-to articles launches a new regular department in DigitalCT, that regardless of the topic of a typical edition we will devote at least one article to the practical side of community and public transportation. From recruiting and retaining drivers to transforming your communications to using all of CTAA's many and varied membership benefits, services and products, this edition signals a new commitment from CTAA and its flagship publication.
  • The 2016 STAR Awards Applications Close August 31
    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, which are 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.
  • CTAA's Capital Solutions Summer Special on Vehicles
    we're pleased to announce our Summer Special sale on vehicles currently available to our members, including a range of financing options. This offer is part of our ongoing commitment to help address your capital needs by working with the private sector in support of the great work all of our members provide in the communities they call home, every single day. Our Summer Special flyer (PDF) has full details on this exciting opportunity and other Capital Solution Vehicles, like our 2017 Prius and Siennas, as well as our full range of Toyota products. For additional info, contact our Capital Solutions Fleet Representative, James Jones at 516.658.2884 or by email at
  • 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.

CTAA's Fed Central

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

  • FTA Releases Final Safety Rule (PDF)
    The Federal Transit Administration has just published one of the key elements of their long-awaited comprehensive rules on transit safety. This rule appears in the August 11, 2016, Federal Register, and takes effect Sept. 12, 2016.
  • CTAA Provides Analysis of FTA Safety Rule
    Most of what's in this rule should not come as a surprise to transit industry stakeholders. The rule embraces a "Safety Management Systems" approach to transit safety, which FTA has been promoting for several years. Under MAP-21, there was a legislative mandate for FTA to regulate the safety of all public transportation operations, which is what this rule specifically addresses. It doesn't matter what funds you receive from FTA, whether you receive funding directly from FTA, or if you're a subrecipient through your state, MPO, or local transit agency, nor is the status of tribal transit agencies any different from non-tribal entities: this rule affects all transit agencies receiving any financial assistance from FTA.
  • Notice of Funding Opportunity for FTA's Safety Research and Demonstration (SRD) Program
    Source: FTA
    he Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $7 Million to demonstrate and evaluate innovative technologies and safer designs to improve public transportation safety. FTA will fund projects to engage in demonstration in two thematic areas: a) collision avoidance and mitigation and b) transit worker safety protection. The SRD projects are funded under FTA's Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment program authority. FTA intends to award multiple SRD demonstration projects under this announcement. Synopses and full announcement are posted on site as opportunity FTA-2016-007-TRI-SRD. Proposals must be submitted electronically through the website by midnight Eastern Time on Oct., 14, 2016.
  • New Grant Opportunity: Innovations in Accessible Mobility Due Aug. 26, 2016
    Source: National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
    The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center is inviting applications for development of program innovations that increase accessible transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities and maximize the utilization of Section 5310 and other federal funding investments. This grant opportunity is intended to support program innovations and approaches that increase accessible transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities living in the community and maximize the utilization of Section 5310 and other federal funding investments.

Rural & Tribal

The latest developments in improving mobility in rural and tribal communities

  • Rural Transit System for Sangamon County (Ill.) Gets OK
    Source: State Journal-Register
    A long-awaited transportation service for rural Sangamon County could be up and running later this year after a Tuesday vote by the Sangamon County Board. The board voted unanimously to implement the Sangamon part of the transportation service, which is called the Sangamon-Menard Area Regional Transit System (SMART). Board Chairman Andy Van Meter said the new system will give people in rural areas easier access to services in Springfield. SMART began running passenger vans in Menard County May 1 as a test of the system. Rides are $2 one-way within Menard County and $3 for trips to Sangamon County.
  • Tri-County Rural Transit (Minn.) Could Get Rolling by Spring 2017
    Source: Mankato Free Press
    A local interfaith organization has applied for a state Department of Transportation grant to help with planning a regional rural transit system that could be running as soon as next spring. VINE Faith and Action, which relies largely on volunteers to provide rides for people in the Mankato area, is moving rapidly toward implementing a rural transit system for Blue Earth, Nicollet and Le Sueur counties.
  • Huron County Commission (S.D.) Hears Funding Request from People's Transit
    Source: Plainsman
    As it works to dig itself out of a financial hole, People's Transit of Huron is asking Beadle County commissioners for $30,000 to be used toward operational funds needed to provide transportation services in 2017. Executive Director Rose Lee said in a meeting with commissioners on Thursday that the People's Transit board hopes to be on more solid ground in the next couple of years. The agency wants to improve its financial picture while staying within the current level of service which, she said, "is good, solid service." A veteran of transit organizations in Iowa, Colorado and Texas, Lee came on board as executive director of People's Transit in May.
  • Prescott Transit Offers New Options for Trips to Phoenix
    Source: Prescott News
    The Prescott Transit Authority has been awarded by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) a one year contract of $812,000 for intercity bus line transportation to metro Phoenix. Prescott and the surrounding rural communities will now be more easily connected to the rest of Yavapai County, Arizona and beyond through the additional partnership of Greyhound Connect.
  • Northfield (Minn.) Looks to Build Transit Hub As Ridership Grows
    Source: Northfield Patch
    A transit hub may soon be needed in Northfield if bus ridership continues growing at its current pace. reports that data from bus line company Hiawathaland Transit, which took over transit operations for Faribault in 2012, shows that ridership in Northfield has dramatically increased in the last four years. Ridership grew in Northfield from an estimated 26,500 riders in 2011 to about 94,100 riders in 2015.

Small Urban

News, trends and updates of transit in small urban areas

  • Morgantown's Mountain Line (W.Va.) Expanding Routes
    Source: The Dominion Post
    Mountain Line Transit Authority announced the latest round of levy-funded service expansions on Aug. 4. A five-year transit levy generating an estimated $1.8 million annually was one of four levies passed by the county's voters in May. The expansion reflects changes to a number of existing routes, and will also add service into new areas, including Mylan Park. Mountain Line Executive Director Dave Bruffy explained that along with the restoration of previously cut services in July 2015, and the announcement of new service expansion that began on Aug. 8, Bruffy said there's still new, levy-funded services to be announced.
  • Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Commission OKs Year-Round Free Athens Transit Rides for Youth
    Source: Athens Banner-Herald
    The overwhelming success of a summer pilot program allowing young people between the ages of 5 and 17 to ride Athens Transit for free prompted Athens-Clarke County commissioners to make the initiative a year-round program, and expand eligibility for the no-cost rides. In a unanimous vote last week, commissioners approved extending the youth ridership program, and expanded ridership eligibility to include all students in kindergarten through 12th grade who live in Athens-Clarke County.
  • Greeley-Evans Transit (Colo.) to Have New Home by End of Next Year
    Source: Greeley Tribune
    The building — which will hold Greeley-Evans Transit's administrative offices, as well as customer service areas like a lobby and restrooms — has been in the works for years. Local funding has been hard to come by, but the Colorado Department of Transportation pitched in some extra money, and the project is back on track. Planners hope to break ground near the middle of next year, and they hope the station will be operational before the end of next year. Until it's open, the city will continue to have a transfer center at A Street and 9th Avenue, which is essentially a bus stop where residents go if they're changing routes. When the station is built, it will replace the GET administrative building at 1200 A. St., about a mile from the current transfer center. State funds are going to cover 80 percent of the $3.4 million bus station. GET qualified for some Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery — or FASTER - grants.
  • Bis-Man Transit (N.D.) Officials Involve Riders in Revising Bus Service
    Source: Bismarck Tribune
    A public involvement plan is being developed by the Bis-Man Transit Board of Directors and administration to address changes to the fixed and paratransit bus systems. The original cutbacks were rejected by Bismarck city commissioners who said more feedback was needed from its users. "We want to have more in-depth dialog with the folks who do depend on public transportation. We have to develop a plan for how we will have those continued conversations," said Ben Ehreth, president of the Bis-Man Transit Board of Directors.
  • Brownsville (Texas) Wins $10 Million Grant for Transportation
    Source: Brownsville Herald
    Brownsville and partners have been awarded a highly competitive, $10 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will go toward a $23.8 million "Connecting Communities" project to improve public transit and create a pedestrian/bicycle path along the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge. Specifically, Brownsville Metro's operations and maintenance facility will be rehabilitated and a new eastside transfer facility will be built in order to expand service - including service to colonias. Rider amenities, such as bicycle parking, also will be added. METRO Connect will acquire eight new hybrid buses, and Brownsville Metro stops will be improved, including the construction of Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks, ADA-accessible ramps, shelters with benches, and bike stations.
  • Free Bus Rides for Paratransit Users Offered Under New RideKC (Mo./Kansas) Transit Program
    Source: Kansas City Star
    People with disabilities and seniors who qualify for paratransit services will be able to ride fixed-route bus service for free in the Kansas City area. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority recently announced a pilot program for people who already are riders of RideKC Access that will let them ride all local bus services in the region, including the RideKC MAX rapid bus. All of the transit providers under the RideKC brand - KCATA, Johnson County Transit, IndeBus and Unified Government Transit - have agreed to provide the free rides.

Specialized & NEMT

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

  • CTAA to Study Improvements to Hilton Head (S.C.) Transit Network
    Source: Island Packet
    Five hours on a public bus. That's the daily commute for some workers who rely on the public transportation system, known as Palmetto Breeze, to get to and from jobs as housekeepers, cashiers, landscapers and cooks on Hilton Head Island. An estimated 400 people, nearly all African-American, make the commute each day during the island's summer tourist season. Most say changes are needed to improve efficiency and encourage other would-be workers to ride the buses, funded through fares and federal, state and local funds. This fall, a grant to the Community Transportation Association of America will fund a survey of Palmetto Breeze riders and their employers to determine if second shifts of buses should be added to some routes.
  • A Startup for Seniors: Direct Mobile Transit (Del.) Aims for Underserved Niche
    Source: Delaware
    Direct Mobile Transit is the newest senior-focused business in New Castle County, operating out of the Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. The company has only been operational for a little under two months and it's already operating at 40 percent capacity. The company currently has four transportation vehicles and five drivers, but is looking to hire at least three more drivers to keep up with demand. Some public transit options already exist: DART paratransit, DART SCAT (Senior Citizens Affordable Taxi) and a group powered by volunteer drivers called FISH. But Mike Bantum says all of these services are overburdened and cannot keep up with demand, this is where his company comes in.
  • Collaboration Provides Rides for Employment, Coastal Regional Commission (Ga.)
    Source: Coastal Regional Commission
    The Coastal Regional Commission - in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Human Services and the Coastal Center for Developmental Services located in Savannah - implemented a hybrid shuttle service for clients of the CCDS to have access to places of employment. The CCDS is a non-profit entity that provides training and life skills enhancement to adults with developmental disabilities and then searches for places of employment. A primary concern of potential employers is dependable transportation to and from work on a daily basis. The CRC transportation provides these individuals an opportunity to be self-sufficient, independent and wage earners in the Chatham County labor market area.
  • Somerset (N.J.) Community Cars Service To Offer Transportation to Seniors and People with Disabilities
    Source: TAP Into Hillsborough
    Community Cars Somerset is a new transportation service that will use volunteer drivers to provide rides to senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Somerset County. RideWise is collaborating with another New Jersey transportation management association, EZ Ride, to launch the service sometime in late summer or early fall. RideWise has started training volunteer drivers and is testing the program by providing a small number of rides in anticipation of the pilot program's launch.


CTAA and Newtek

The Porter's Station

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

  • Webinar: Breaking Down Barriers to Opportunity: Transportation and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
    Source: PolicyLink
    Please join this webinar to learn about the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and how it can be used to promote equitable transportation, TOD, and opportunity-focused place making. Learn how to get involved in and influence your local AFFH process and how the AFFH data tool can be used as an ongoing resource to support equitable transportation planning. Whether you are a non-profit leader, planner, community organizer, institution or philanthropist, this webinar is for you. Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. EDT.
  • Funding: $5 million Knight Cities Challenge to Open for Ideas Oct. 10
    Source: Knight Foundation
    This fall we're opening the next Knight Cities Challenge to offer $5 million in grant funding for your best ideas to make the 26 Knight communities more successful. The challenge will open Monday, Oct. 10, and close Thursday, Nov. 3, at We will announce the winners in spring 2017. We're looking for new ideas that can make impact in three areas that are crucial to building more successful cities – attracting and retaining talent, increasing economic opportunity and promoting civic engagement.
  • Awards: National Competition Honors Five Mid-Western States for Exceptional Transportation Projects
    Source: AASHTO
    The departments of transportation of five states—Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin - won awards today in a national competition that recognizes excellence in transportation projects that improve travel safety, reduce roadway congestion and provide more travel options to consumers. The Mid-America Association of Transportation Officials presented the awards at its annual conference in Minneapolis. MAASTO is the third of four regional groups to announce winners this year. Now in its ninth year, the America's Transportation Awards are sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The competition recognizes the best transportation projects in three categories and sizes: Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation, and Under Budget. The projects are grouped into three sizes, small for projects costing less than $25 million, medium for those between $26 million and $199 million and large for those costing $200 million or more.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Lack of Investment in America's public transit is Costing Us More Than Money
    Source: The Hill
    The aging public transit infrastructure is not a new problem, but it is one that is approaching critical mass. Without raising awareness for at-risk areas and addressing these concerns with a prescriptive long-term solution, our nation's transit is vulnerable to a series of systematic and catastrophic failures, the effects of which could generate a ripple effect harming both the economy and population. Fortunately, the problem is not irrevocable, but the time for action is now – and this will require strategic investments in emerging technologies to better inspect, document, repair and monitor the critical assets and systems that comprise the transit infrastructure.
  • How the Millennial Generation and the Sharing Economy are Transforming the Way Communities Function
    Source: Baltimore Magazine
    For them, it's not much of a leap to use digital technology to share bicycles, handsaws (NeighborGoods), used clothes (thredUP), automobiles (RelayRides), pet-sitting duties (DogVacay)-or even an apartment for a few nights. Especially if it's more convenient, less expensive, and maybe offers a more rewarding personal transaction—another millennial value. (It's called social media for a reason.)
  • Don't Let Limited Mobility Limit You
    Source: Citizen-Times
    The ability to drive a vehicle, a large factor in independence, can be an enormous loss for older people. But for some, learning to depend on other people or outside services as a means of transportation can become a welcomed change, as they can sit back and relax while the driver finds the way and fights the traffic. For others, losing that independence can lead to depression and feelings of isolation, especially if they live where accessible and affordable transportation does not exist. Our communities are making it possible for people with disabilities both young and old to access public places independently by the means of ramps and accessible parking. We've made it possible for more people to be able to participate in activities due to these and other accommodations.
  • Oregon's Emissions Plan Could Give Electric Transit a Boost
    Source: The Oregonian
    Officials are considering allowing fuel producers to meet the state's low-carbon fuel mandate by pumping money into electricity-driven transit systems — even if those systems don't add lines or expand service. The Department of Environmental Quality plans to consider new rules this fall that could award carbon reduction credits to new — and perhaps existing — light rail, street car and electric bus programs. The Portland metro area and Eugene are the only communities with existing transit systems that could qualify for the potential perk.

The Information Station

Resources from CTAA

  • Tip-Sheet: Planning Inclusive Meetings (PDF)(159 KB)
    We offer this short list to encourage you to think about similar tips and reminders as you begin planning a meeting; and a checklist for seeking out meeting locations. We also offer some suggestions for short-term solutions, and, encourage you to find meeting places that are more welcoming or to seek long-term solutions to some of the problems.
  • 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