August 12, 2014
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- Webinar: What Barrier? Minimizing Challenges and Obstacles to Coordinated Transportation Planning to Improve the Participation of People with Disabilities and Older Adults
Wednesday, Aug. 20 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Whether a coordination effort spans communities, geography, or organizations, there are policy and practice decisions that can be used to minimize any disruption that this diversity may cause. Speakers will identify potential obstacles and challenges and offer solutions for overcoming and preventing challenges. From their varying professional roles, speakers will address how to ensure the continued active engagement of people with disabilities and older adults in coordinated transportation planning. Presenters: Doug Halley, Public Health Director, Town of Acton, Mass.; Kathy Miller, Manager, LIFT Eligibility and Community Relations.
- Survey: Help Us Improve Our Annual EXPO
Following our successful EXPO 2014 in St. Paul, and in advance of our forthcoming EXPO 2015 in Tampa, Fla., we'd like your input in making our annual EXPO the most rewarding and productive event it can be. We invite you to take part in this brief survey so we can tailor our future EXPOs to respond better to your needs.
- Make Your Way to Tampa Bay for EXPO 2015
Although we just put the wraps on EXPO 2014 in St. Paul, it's not too early to start planning for EXPO 2015 in Tampa, Fla. The 29th Annual EXPO will be held in the Tampa Bay area for the first time from May 31-June 5, 2015. In the meantime, stay tuned to Fast Mail, DigitalCT Magazine and www.ctaa.org for more details.
The Capitol Limited
News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital
- Communicate with Congress During the August Recess
Based on our Gathering meeting during EXPO 2014 in St. Paul, Minn., we've developed this easy-to-use card (PDF)(260 KB) that concisely communicates the importance of community and public transportation. We encourage you to schedule some time with your U.S. Senators and Representatives during the August recess and bring this card with you. The "Here At Home" boxes highlight what your system does and how you do it. Then, print out the card to bring to the meeting. Also, share your card with your colleagues around the nation by saving version of the card and emailing it to Rich Sampson.
- Obama Signs $10.8 Billion Funding Highway, Transit Into Law
President Barack Obama has signed into law $10.8 billion in temporary funding for highway and transit construction. The bill the White House says Obama signed on Friday, Aug. 8 will keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May, when lawmakers will again be challenged to come up with longer-term funding. The trust fund is the primary source of federal aid to states for surface transportation projects. Its money comes from the taxes paid on gasoline and diesel fuel. But revenue hasn't been keeping up with demand because people are driving less and vehicles are more burning less fuel. Administration officials had said the fund would run out of money later this month unless Congress acted. Obama has been urging Congress to pass his four-year $302 billion transportation plan instead.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Willmar City Council (Minn.) Approves Joint Transit Agreement
Source: West Central Tribune
The Willmar City Council has approved the joint powers agreement to establish a new transit agency serving Willmar, Kandiyohi County and Renville County. The council voted Monday to authorize City Administrator Charlene Stevens and Mayor Frank Yanish to execute the agreement with Kandiyohi Area Transit and Renville County to create the new agency, which will begin operation Jan. 1, 2015.
- Grundy Transit System (Ill.) Gets Multiple New Buses
Source: Morris Daily Herald
After waiting more than two years for the state to deliver on a grant, the Grundy Transit System finally received four new buses this week. Last month, GTS acquired an additional bus that was promised in 2011, making that five new buses for the system in just one month.
- Johnson County's JO Transit Service (Mo.) Starts Pilot Project to Expand Special Edition Service
Source: Kansas City Star
Johnson County is aging. Johnson County is also growing. And those two trends, as well as the needs of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill, are putting a squeeze on the county's transit system, particularly the Special Edition buses that take that population to and from adult day centers, doctor and dentist appointments. To that end, JO officials are trying a small expansion of the service area for those buses that will allow trips about a half mile farther south and west of the current boundaries.
- GLTC (Va.) Adds Two New Routes
The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company is implementing new route changes effective Monday, July 28. Two routes serve Commerce Street all day. A new route begins at Kemper Station to service The Plaza and connect with two routes at Fort Hill Village each hour with regular service to Central Virginia Community College, Kohl's and the Lynchburg Regional Airport.
- Red Transit-Only Lanes Coming to San Francisco's Market Street
Source: NBC Bay Area
A stretch of San Francisco's Market Street will soon have specially-marked red lanes for its Muni service. Officials said the red lanes, which will be marked between 5th and 12th streets, are designed to keep motorists from illegally driving on transit-only lanes. Transit officials hope the new lanes will clear the way for better Muni service.
- Hazleton Public Transit (Pa.) Will Fill Fund Void
Source: Citizen's Voice
Hazleton Public Transit will draw from a $550,000 capital improvements account to ensure the agency gets grant money from the state after Luzerne County Council abruptly decided to cut local match funds, Hazleton's transit director said. The local agency will evaluate its finances annually as it spends from an account that was originally established for capital purchases, said HPT Director Ralph Sharp.
- Metro's Uptown transit district offers new amenities to riders (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Source: Soap Box
Over the past year, Metro has renovated its transit district in Uptown. Metro's four boarding areas throughout Uptown now offer many amenities to bus riders, including distinctive sheltered boarding areas, real-time information, integration with employer and university shuttles, wayfinding and rider information kiosks, and enhanced streetscapes and sidewalk improvements in some areas.
- Eden (N.C.) Reports Success With First Bus System In 25 Years
Source: WFMY News
Eden's first public transportation system is reporting some success. According to Mike Dougherty, the director of Economic Development for the city, ridership for the transit system increased almost 20 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Dougherty says ridership of the Skat buses has averaged 1,200 a month since the bus started operating.
- Bus Merger in Lancaster, Berks Counties (Pa.) Clears First Hurdle
Source: Lancaster Online
Recognizing the potential for integration, the two transit agencies formed a committee this spring to study a merger. The report also comes at a time when state transportation officials are considering the effects of consolidating smaller agencies into regional authorities.
- County-wide Rural Transit District in Waco (Texas) Area Could Be on the Way
Source: Waco Tribune
McLennan County commissioners pondered the creation of a countywide rural transit district after county Judge Scott Felton reported that he thinks a lack of public transportation has dissuaded companies from locating in the area. Felton said he has interviewed several very large companies that were concerned that there was no well-defined or established transportation system for the county. Those concerns were enough, he said, to keep them from opening in the area.
- Commission Recommends Consolidating Berrien County (Mich.) Bus System
The four public transit bus systems in Berrien County could soon be consolidated into one system. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission said it is a challenge for riders to have four transit providers in one county. They hope by next year it will be consolidated.
- Triangle Transit (N.C.) Expands Weekend Service
Triangle Transit will expand services for several routes in Durham, Orange and Wake counties in August, hoping to better serve thousands who rely on public transportation to get around the Triangle. Beginning Aug. 18, four routes will extend Saturday evening services and add Sunday service.
- Long Beach Transit (Calif.) Upgrades 153 Buses with New Wheelchair-Securing Systems
Source: Long Beach Post
A motion to install new wheelchair securement systems as well as able-bodied passenger safety measures to 153 Long Beach Transit coaches was carried out by the Long Beach Transit (LBT) Board recently. The reconfiguration will be done with 4ONE Q-POD systems' forward-facing wheelchair securement stations—making wheelchair securement safer, reducing risk of injury liability and saving over two minutes on boarding and departure times.
- Tarleton State University (Texas) Students to Enjoy New Public Transit Service
Source: Empire Tribune
The Texas Transportation Commission has approved over $379,000 in public transportation funds to the Central Texas Rural Transit District (CTRTD) in partnership with Tarleton State University to provide a new public transit service for students. This partnership will provide three buses and operations funding combined with Tarleton State University providing a 50 percent match towards operations for a total project cost of nearly $483,000. As a result, students will have a safe and affordable means of getting to school and home.
- Groundbreaking Held for New Scranton (Pa.) Intermodal Transit Center
Source: PA Homepage
After being plagued by delays and money problems, ground was broken recently for a long-awaited transportation project in Scranton. Nearly 20 years after the idea was first proposed, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new intermodal transit center. The facility will be located on Lackawanna Avenue, on the site of a current parking lot, next to the Scranton State Office Building.
- New Routes coming to the Lafayette (La.) Transit System
Lafayette Transit System (LTS) introduced several changes to the transit system routes and timing beginning Monday, Aug. 4. The changes have been underway for several months as LTS continually monitors their routes and ridership counts.
- STAR Transit Out to Prove Itself in Dallas County (Texas)
Source: Dallas News
As STAR Transit ramps up toward becoming Dallas County's second-largest provider of public transportation, it also campaigns to establish a local identity. Education about the service is key in Balch Springs, where only 215 trips were logged in nearly three months after a May 1 rollout. There's more of a skeptical eye among riders in Mesquite, where on Oct. 1, STAR replaces the locally-acclaimed Mesquite Transportation for the Elderly & Disabled (MTED). With more than 28,000 trips per year, Mesquite's traditional riders know and rely on public transportation. But they transition to STAR with high expectations for bus service.
- Bowie (Md.) Seeks More Transit Options
Source: Maryland Gazette
Bowie residents will be able hop on a direct bus line from the heart of the city to Greenbelt or other nearby cities if Prince George's County officials accept the recommendations in Bowie's annual transportation priorities letter. At a recent City Council meeting, Bowie staff and council members discussed transportation projects that would be top priorities for them over the next year, including projects on MD 450, MD 197 and Church Road in Bowie.
- 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 As Freedom
Source: Gilroy Dispatch
"We want people to feel the freedom of being able to go wherever they need to go. When you say to someone there's a kid who can't get to school or there's someone who has a job but can't get to work, people would rather help. Transportation is freedom."
- Let Buses Connect People Door-to-Door in 30 Minutes
Source: Rockford Register-Star
"I believe it is time for a new public transportation vision. Let us aim high as a community. Let's connect people door-to-door in 30 minutes within the public transportation network. Let's study fixed and flexible route possibilities to make that happen. Let's create a system that appeals to all residents. Let's do this in a financially responsible manner. Let's aim for a transportation system that is a competitive advantage for our region. Let's be bold in the marketing of that advantage to create opportunities for our residents."
- Want People to Take Public Transportation to Work? Don't Provide Free Parking
While you might assume that parking and transit might cancel each other out if people can freely choose between the two, they don't. When employees were offered free parking and free transit passes, the probability of driving to work rose to 83 percent. What if people are discouraged from driving? "When a company offers only transit benefits and nothing else, probability of taking the bus or train breaks 76 percent, and driving becomes less appealing," reports City Lab.
- The Most Persuasive Evidence Yet that Bike-Share Serves as Public Transit
Source: The Atlantic City Lab
Past work has found that bike-share members decrease their car use considerably: According to one survey, 52 percent did so in Minneapolis, and 41 percent in Washington, D.C. The new, more fine-grained analysis of bike-share use in these cities reveals that its role in the transit system varies based on the character of the host city. In larger cities with dense cores like D.C., bike-share may replace shorter transit trips; in smaller, more dispersed cities like Minneapolis, it may expand the entire public transport network.
- Colorado's Roaring Fork Transportation Authority Brings Urban Efficiency to Small Towns
But with the introduction of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus line, Colorado is busting the myth that good public transportation is only found in urban areas. Why is it so great? RFTA acts like a commuter rail station but for suburbia - running 41 miles along Route 82 and the Roaring Fork River, connecting the towns between Aspen and Carbondale. And while it may not boast the huge numbers of users that more populated areas are accustomed to, it's by no means lacking. In 2013, RFTA gave 4.1 million rides to the 32,000 residents in the area, a four percent increase from 2012.
The Information Station
Resources from CTAA
- CTAA and Partners Launch New National Volunteer Transportation Center
The National Volunteer Transportation Center was created earlier this year in response to the outpouring of interest in volunteerism related to the delivery of transportation services to many population groups including children, work force participants and older adults. Each of the founders have extensive experience in studying, supporting, and delivering volunteer transportation and are aware of the positive experience of those who volunteer to provide services as well as the many benefits accorded to those who receive the services. The founders are: Community Transportation Association of Washington, D.C.; the Beverly Foundation of Albuquerque, N.M.; Ride Connection of Portland, Ore.; CIMA Volunteers Insurance of Woodbridge, Va.; and AlterNetWays of San Francisco, Calif.
- 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.
The Transportation to Work Toolkit for the Business Community gives businesses the information they need now to assist their employees in achieving a timely, cost-efficient commute that promotes productivity and job satisfaction. Explore the toolkit's flyers, fact sheets, resources and examples of transportation initiatives undertaken by employers nationwide. Each approach is straightforward to launch and simple to manage.
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines