May 10, 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 email@example.com.
Around the Depot: Sponsored by Ecolane
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
Sponsored Content: Ecolane Workshop at the CTAA EXPO 2016
Engaging with a transit software provider is a major decision, and is one that significantly impacts the operational capabilities within a transit agency. When evaluating software providers, it's critical to ask the right questions and understand the steps that need to be taken prior to signing an agreement. If you'd like to learn more about what factors need to be considered when selecting a transit software partner, join us for an unbiased and educational workshop at the CTAA Expo 2016 in the Oregon Convention Center - room F152 on Wednesday, May 25 from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
- EXPO 2016's General Sessions Embrace Change; CTAA Readies EXPO 2016 Program, App
With CTAA's EXPO 2016 in Portland, Ore., less than two weeks away, CTAA staff are putting the finishing touches on the key details that make EXPO an annual must-attend event. This year's General Sessions put the challenge and opportunity of change front-and-center for attendees: Innovate, Disrupt, Lead on Wednesday, May 25 will feature Linda Bernardi's look at how disruptive technologies that are transforming the community and public transit industry. Likewise, on Thursday, May 26, CTAA Executive Director Scott Bogren will lead an expert panel discussion on NextGen Community and Public Transportation, discussing how transit systems of all sizes can prepare today for a quick-arriving future. Both sessions are open to all EXPO 2016 attendees. Meanwhile, stay tuned to your inboxes for the arrival of the EXPO 2016 App through both Apple's App Store and Google Play for your smartphones and tablets, bringing all EXPO 2016 details to your fingertips. To compliment, the EXPO 2016 Official Program will be distributed to all EXPO attendees via email before your arrival in Portland. We can't wait to see you all in Portland for what looks to be one of our biggest EXPO's ever!
- Survey: Share Your Thoughts on a New Transit Maintenance Apprenticeship Program
The Community Transportation Association of America is working with the Transportation Learning Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public transportation at the national level and within local communities, to develop a transit maintenance apprenticeship program. To make sure that this program meets the needs of transit systems of all sizes, CTAA is asking its members to take a few moments to complete this survey. The results will help us plan a program that works for everyone. Please contact CTAA's Charles Dickson at (202) 247-8356 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
- Pecha Kucha Night at EXPO 2016
Have a quick, clever idea you've always wanted to share? EXPO 2016's Pecha Kucha Night (open at no cost to all EXPO attendees) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is your opportunity! Interested in presenting 20 slides at 20 seconds a slide, with presentations lasting no longer than 6 minutes and 40 seconds? Contact CTAA's Rich Sampson for full details or to sign-up as a presenter. Topics can be related to transit and mobility, or any topic at all (seriously, anything!). But remember to bring the funny...
- The Keys to NEMT Success
The Community Transportation Association's new online training course, The Keys to NEMT Success, was launched in April to a terrific response. Two sessions of the course were filled and the reviews were outstanding. This innovative course combines the convenience of online training with the ability to interact in real time with an instructor well versed in the intricacies of non-emergency medical transportation. The class focuses on how you can be more successful in the NEMT arena and the actions you need to take to get you to your goal. The next session is scheduled for July 12, 14, 19 and 21. All classes begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- Frankfurt (Ky.) City Officials Will Explore Free Bus Service, New Route Upon CTAA Recommendations
Frankfort commissioners are expected to explore expansions to the city's transit system - as well as the possibility of free bus service - at an upcoming work session scheduled for May 9. The changes, recommended by the Community Transportation Association of America, include modifications to existing routes to provide more crossover points and greater coverage for riders. CTAA also is recommending the creation of a new South Route that will provide service to the new state building and Frankfort Plant Board administration building off of Sower Boulevard. Another suggestion includes eliminating fares for those riding the bus.
CTAA's FED CENTRAL
CTAA's one stop for legislative, policy and regulatory news, resources and information.
- FTA Announces "Mobility on Demand" Funding Opportunity; CTAA Provides Analysis
The Federal Transit Administration is inviting transit agencies and their partners to apply for innovation grants in its new Mobility On Demand (MOD) Sandbox. There's a total of $8 million available in these grants. Applications are due July 5, 2016. All projects under this initiative require a 20 percent non-federal match. In addition to grant awards, FTA may also recognize some non-funded applicants with "participation agreements" in the Sandbox program. There are no stated minimum or maximum amounts applicants may request, but all grants will be subject to the availability of FTA's funds for this initiative.
- GAO: Observations on Recent Changes to the Capital Investment Grant Program (PDF)
Source: Government Accountability Office
FTA's Capital Investment Grant program provides roughly $2 billion in appropriated funds each year to help states, cities, and localities plan and build new or extensions to existing fixed-guideway transit systems. Under this program, project sponsors—usually local transit agencies—have typically applied for their projects to receive federal funding as either a New Starts or a Small Starts project. In 2012, MAP-21 created a new category of eligible projects called Core Capacity Improvement projects and also revised the process proposed projects must follow to be eligible for and receive federal funding. MAP-21 included a provision for GAO to biennially review FTA's and the Department of Transportation's implementation of this program. This report discusses: (1) FTA's progress in implementing changes to the program required by MAP-21 and (2) how selected project sponsors view the MAP-21 changes and FTA's implementation of those changes.
- The U.S. DOT's Newest Plan to Tackle Transportation Barriers
The Every Place Counts Design Challenge calls on local governments to identify neighborhoods that face barriers to (or created by) existing transportation infrastructure, and to compete to work with experts who'll assist in knocking them down. Four communities around the U.S. will be selected to receive a specialized DOT design session in their hometowns, which will offer "in-depth facilitation of design strategies, on-site advice from subject-matter experts, targeted guidance related to USDOT program funds, and identification of resources to address an existing transportation infrastructure project challenge," according to a federal notice provided to CityLab.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Via, Boulder's (Colo.) Mobility Lifeline, Announces Pending Retirement of Executive Director Lenna Kottke
Source: Daily Camera
Via Mobility Services Executive Director Lenna Kottke is nearing the end of the road with the nonprofit transportation assistance program she has led for a quarter century. Kottke, 66, will retire this fall after 25 years atop an organization she took from a small nonprofit called Special Transit, a single program with a $750,000 budget, to Via Mobility Services, boasting a $17 million budget. "In my opinion, she is the best executive director of any nonprofit in Boulder," said Marcelee Gralapp, the retired Boulder Library director who spent seven years on Via's board of directors and three as its president. "The organization is going to miss her a lot. She has done an incredible job."
- Ellensburg (Wash.) Transit Sales Tax Passes
Source: Daily Record
Ellensburg voters ensured that Central Transit will see regular funding for the next 10 years by approving a sales tax to fund transportation in the city. A simple majority was needed to pass Proposition 1, which allows the city to implement a sales tax of up to two-tenths of 1 percent to fund transit. Of the votes counted, 62.56 percent (1,385 votes) approved the tax and 37.44 percent (829) voted no. The sales tax increase, which will last 10 years, will fund the Ellensburg Transportation Benefit District, which oversees the transportation services provided by Central Transit.
- Public transportation a Health Benefit for Kittias (Wash.) Communities
Source: KIMTA TV
Kittitas health leaders are drawing attention to the health benefits of public transportation as the community steadily grows. "We're a county that's growing really quickly," said Kasey Knutson of Kittitas County Public Health. Public transportation systems impact the quality of life and health of the communities they serve, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). "We're a fairly rural community still," said Knutson. "If someone's using public transportation regularly then they're walking or biking to that location, so they're getting regular physical activity."
- St. Cloud (Minn.) Training Center Improves Paratransit Process
Source: Metro Magazine
The highlight of the facility is the assessment course, which features a training bus; a variety of simulated surfaces to test a person's gait, balance and transition from surface to surface; a traffic signal; mobility device measurement tools; operational bike rack and is set up for trip simulation through a set of photos used for the Functional Assessment of Cognitive Transit Skills tool.
- Bloomington's Connect Transit (Ill.) Nearing Uber Pact to Cover Outlying Areas
Source: The Pantagraph
Residents and visitors of Danbury Court, Ironwood Gardens and other areas likely to lose Connect Transit bus service this fall could have an unlikely savior. The Bloomington-Normal public transit company is close to a deal with Uber, the national ride-sharing service that came to the Twin Cities last year, to carry residents to bus routes if Connect Transit switches to a reduced map in August.
- 3 Ways for Bangor (Maine to Consider Growing Public Transit's Reach, Ridership
Source: Bangor Daily News
Here are three ways cities are supporting public transit and increasing transportation options: 1) Bikes can go where buses can't travel; 2) One city has started a public-private partnership with Uber to help residents get where they need to go; 3) In Washington state, cities work with large employers to encourage workers to not drive to work.
- Bedford Local Transit (Mass.) Set for Expansion This Fall
Source: Wicked Local Bedford
With traffic an ongoing concern in Bedford, plans to expand local transit are in the early stages of growth with a pilot program for the Bedford Local Transit (BLT) set to get underway. The town voted to approve an expanded local transit program during annual Town Meeting in April. The article authorized $207,300 in funding for a pilot program that would be conducted through a contracted transportation service and is scheduled to be launched in September. The pilot will run until June 2018. Service hours are set to run from 12 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and the on-demand service will continue to be by request through a dispatch service.
- Amarillo (Texas) Transit Center to Expand
Source: Amarillo Globe-News
Amarillo City Transit is expanding their offices, adding a service bay and building a new entry way for travelers for just upwards of $860,000. "We are adding an additional service bay to the building and adding several office spaces to it, rehabbing the HVAC and making a more customer-friendly service area in the front," said Jerry Danforth, facilities manager for the city. "At the end of the cycle and the end of the day, the buses go back to the warehouse and they can pull them inside the shop, protect them and do minor service work."
- Central Community Transit Merger with Meeker County (Minn.) to Take Effect Aug. 1
Source: West Central Tribune
A merger between Central Community Transit and Meeker County will officially take effect Aug. 1. The implementation date, chosen Friday by the CCT joint powers board, is one of numerous steps being taken as the transit service prepares to bring Meeker County under the umbrella of Central Community Transit. It's the second time in two years that the transit service has gone through a merger. In January 2015, Kandiyohi Area Transit and Renville County Heartland Express joined forces to operate together as Central Community Transit.
- Follow Us on Twitter!
For all the latest transit industry updates including local system highlights, federal and legislative news follow @CTAAExecDir and @RAILmag on twitter.
The Porter's Station
Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training
- NCMM Offering Free Course on Human-Centered Design; Mobility Management Liaison Available in Each FTA Region
The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) is offering two sessions of its free, 2-day, course on applying human-centered design principles to transportation services. These two classes will focus specifically on health care–related transportation. Both transportation and health care professionals are invited to these sessions. Session 1 will take place in FTA Region 6 (April 7 and 8) and Session 2 in FTA Region 2 (June 23-24). Although priority is given to individuals from these regions, participants from other regions can also apply to attend. Also, did you know the has a liaison dedicated to answering mobility management-related questions from each FTA region? Find the contact information for our liaison.
- Issue Brief: Ridesharing Companies Could Play a Role in Expanding Transit to Underserved, Low-Income Commuters
Source: Center for American Progress
New shared-ride providers such as Uber and Lyft offer people the ability to hail a ride using a smartphone application with pricing based on distance and overall demand for service. Unlike traditional taxi services, shared-ride providers exclusively pick up riders through the mobile app and not off the street. These new providers offer transit agencies the opportunity to experiment with different ways to overcome the last-mile barriers to connect people with the public transit system. Congress should authorize a pilot program to allow a limited number of public transit agencies with a fixed-guideway rail system to flex a portion of their federal funding to pay a portion of the cost of ridesharing trips that connect qualified low-income residents with the rail system.
- Upcoming Courses from NTI
The National Transit Institute is pleased to announce the following upcoming training sessions: Comprehensive ADA Paratransit Eligibility (June 28-29 in North Little Rock, Ark.; August 2-3 in Newington, Conn.); FTA Real Estate Requirements (June 2-3 in Eugene, Ore.); Introduction to Environmental Justice (June 21-22 in Kansas City, Mo.); Management of Transit Construction Projects (June 22-24 in Denver, Colo.); Managing Community Mobility (June 28-29 in Wichita, Ks.).
- Best Practices: QRyde is Proud to Sponsor "The Faces of Transportation" Initiative
QRyde is proud to sponsor an important new initiative, "The Faces of Transportation." This initiative sheds light on people and organizations who design, create, and execute unique and innovative transportation models in their communities. These talented and caring people go above and beyond for their community, and "The Faces of Transportation" wants to create awareness of these programs and spread the word of ‘best practices' to other communities.
The Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- How Columbus Is Using Transit to Reduce Infant Mortality
The city is rallying particularly hard to improve a service that touches on many other social determinants of health: transportation. For every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., about six die before they turn one. In South Linden, a poor, predominantly black neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, that number is close to 24. In Linden, it's not so much that transit doesn't exist. Five bus lines serve the area, and the neighborhood has two entrances onto I-71. The community has some of the highest rates of ridership in the area, due to the relatively high number of people without a car. But there are big gaps between the bus lines that travel along the neighborhood's major thoroughfares. That's part of the reason that Columbus is routing its new BRT system, CMAX, right through Linden. There's a big hope that faster, more frequent bus service will plant seeds for economic development and amenities like farmers' markets and grocers in Linden. But before all of that, it's designed to increase access to employment centers like the Polaris neighborhood to the north and downtown to the south, with two major hospitals in between.
- Expansion of Bike Infrastructure Fuels Growth of Multimodal Transit
Source: Urban Land Institute
"The big change is that cities investing in bike infrastructure are seeing huge increases in bike use," he said. In 2014, Americans bought more bikes than cars and trucks. America now boasts 1,700 rails-to-trails projects totaling more than 22,000 miles (35,400 km), and the federal government has funded 2,500 bike infrastructure projects. More than 900 cities have Complete Streets policies benefitting all users. Bike-friendly buildings that feature bike amenities such as repair stations, showers and lockers, and community gathering spaces are attracting millennials and others interested in active lifestyles. And now trail-oriented development, such as that along the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis, is drawing thousands of daily riders and many millions in real estate investments.
- Gridlock = Trouble for Business Community, So Help Fix It with Transit
Source: Miami Herald
The answer is not the draconian measure of a building moratorium that will only serve to send us spiraling back into a recession. All great cities experience congestion, but they also have robust and effective transportation options. We must support investments in our transit system. The initial investment may seem expensive, but they are no more costly than our highways and provide for users of all demographics.
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 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.
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines