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Reframing Value: Transit's New Playbook

A chalkboard with a football play diagramed representing transit's new playbook

For too long the community and public transit field -- its leaders and advocates -- have allowed their value to be defined by inputs and not outcomes. Success measured only by a constrictive set of consumptive measurements like fare box recovery, ridership per hour per vehicle and per-trip subsidies. While these metrics do provide some benefit, they fail to fully define the value of community and public transportation. In fact, they speak largely to those cynics who -- to quote Oscar Wilde -- know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


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Editor's Note

Editor Scott Bogren

DigitalCT Editor-in-Chief Scott Bogren discusses how transit providers and advocates can better demonstrate the value of improved mobility, and the new approaches this issue of DigitalCT uses to convey that message.

Voices from the Community


In this edition of DigitalCT, we include two CT Podcast sessions with Mark Burton, Ph.D., Director of Transportation Economics at the University of Tennessee's Center for Transportation Research and David Johnson a member of the KC Streetcar Authority Board. In addition, we include perspectives on transit's value from Lawrence J. Hanley of the Amalgamated Transit Union as well as those from the community level around the nation.


cartoon illustration of a lightbulb as a person

We cannot truly evaluate the value of community and public transportation if we never take into account the positive economic outcomes it engenders. Looking beyond mere ridership statistics, this value is rooted in data that is far more challenging to collect and interpret than traditional transit measurements.

Election 2012: Another Banner Day for Transportation Ballot Measures

A graph of election results for the past five elections

Another election day, another collection of resounding victories for transportation ballot measures. One national group -- the American Road and Transportation Builders Association -- reports that 68 percent of the measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit passed. The successes came at the state and local levels, and for roads, transit or both. Many of the measures increased, extended or renewed a property or gas tax. Three of the four statewide measures to raise additional transportation funds passed with an average approval rate of 63 percent.

Election 2012: The 113th Congress Takes Shape; Obama Administration Sets Priorities

The Capitol Dome

In addition to the numerous transit-related referenda that populated ballots across the country on Nov. 6, a number of races and results will have a direct impact on the membership of key transit congressional committees as we move into the 113th Congress in January. What follows is DigitalCT's early analysis.

The Futures Market: The Intersection of Data and Value

Graphical map of the United States

This article presents a series of graphics, facts and figures designed to predict potential future influencers of community and public transit, the value of which is to allow for system planning and capitalization to meet these growing market segments. We look at older Americans, young people, the effects of urbanization and the impact of health care trends and reform.

The Affordability Advantage: Seizing Opportunity in Challenging Times

Transit location display

Over the past year, DigitalCT and the print editions of Community Transportation have highlighted a number of innovative profiles of how mobility providers across the nation have leveraged the challenge of affordability as a means to reexamine their priorities and strategies for the future, and in effect establishing the very real and new horizons for our industry. Among these profiles, themes in affordability emerged, ranging from utilizing smaller and alternative fuels vehicles, public-private partnerships, regional connectivity and innovative technology, among others. Here, we'll make the case for why affordability matters, and what it looks like.

Better Understanding the Connection Between Mobility Options and Public Health

Graphic depicting health in communities with better transportation options.

Earlier this year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a thorough infographic titled, Better Transportation Options = Healthier Lives. This visually-appealing and well-researched document concisely outlines the linkages between improved mobility options and public health. The infographic is republished here in its entirety with permission from NewPublicHealth.org, the public health news and information forum from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Community Transit Demonstrates Its Value in Response to Hurricane Sandy

People collecting supplies in Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

Hurricane Sandy tested the resolve of agencies throughout the Tri-State region but among the hardest hit were the communities of the Jersey Shore. Public transit services, providing evacuation transports, the return to communities and a return to normalcy were tested as in no other storm in recorded history in New Jersey. Along with other transit agencies, the county coordinated community transit systems played a significant role in the emergency even as they prepared for the return of their regular services, focused on populations without access to an automobile or traditional bus and rail services.

Transit Notes


Updates, news items and the latest stories on community and public transportation around the nation.


Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729