Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Events - from Now through October

Community Transportation Association of America

CTAA's EXPO 2011 - June 6-11, 2011 in Indianapolis, Ind. The first two days will consist of a Mobility Management Conference and intensive trainings. Workshop topics include various aspects of communications, financing, employment transportation, partnerships and coordination, planning and operations.

Mobility Management Conference - June 6-7, 2011 in Indianapolis. This conference will have plenary sessions devoted to a variety of types of partnerships and partnering objectives, including financial stability, sustainable communities and mobility for transportation-challenged populations. Breakout sessions will address specific topics, such as one-call/one-click services, statewide perspectives, and employment transportation, among others.

National Association of Development Organizations
Rural Transportation Conference - Aug, 24-26, 2011 in Washington, DC. The conference will bring transportation, regional planning and economic development professionals together with local officials, state DOT staff and stakeholders from rural and small metropolitan areas across the nation.

NADO Annual Training Conference - Oct. 8-11, 2011 in Miami Beach, Fl.

National Association of Regional Councils

NARC Annual Conference - June 12-15, 2011 in San Diego, Calif. There will be sessions on transportation, economic development, emergency preparedness, livability, and green infrastructure, among others.

American Public Transportation Association

Upcoming APTA conferences include:

2011 Bus & Paratransit Conference - May 22-25, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. The conference will have sessions about accessibility, business practices, operations/maintenance/management, policy/planning/marketing, safety & security, sustainability, technology, and workforce development.

2011 Rail Conference
- June 12-15, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The focus will be on timely issues of wide-spread interest for all rail modes, including high-speed rail. The conference will address safety and security, planning, sustainability, finance, capital projects, operations, and technological aspects of rail service.

2011 Risk Management Seminar - June 19-22, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. The seminar will cover return to duty programs, the insurance market, an ADA/Legal update, domestic preparedness and community emergency response, accident reconstruction and transit industry biomechanical issues.

2011 Sustainability & Public Transportation Workshop - July 31-Aug. 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The workshop will address the economic, social responsibility and environmental aspects of public transportation’s role in sustainability.

2011 APTA Annual Meeting
- Oct. 2-5, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Association for Commuter Transportation

ACT International Conference, Aug.27-31, 2011 in Chicago, Ill. The conference workshops will explore funding and cost-saving strategies to weather the challenging economic climate, contributing to local sustainability endeavors, and proactively capitalizing on potential and actual demand.

Conference of Minority Transportation Officials

National Meeting & Training Conference - July 16-19, 2011 in Philadelphia, Penn. In addition to workshops on technology, intermodalism and operations, the National Transit Institute will hold a training on emotional intelligence aspects of leadership, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will host discussions of Title VI and disadvantaged business enterprises.

Easter Seals Project ACTION

ESPA's theme for its June events will be paratransit. These include a course for paratransit managers, a two-part webinar about ADA paratransit eligibility, and a teleconference about promising practices for paratransit operations. The June events page also has information about paratransit resources.

[Editor's Note: Due to archiving limitations, this post will only appear under the "Events" label and not under the labels for the organizations listed.]

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Get Folks on the Bus

The American Bus Association posts a link to a long article on the Bloomberg Business Week news site about still-growing intercity bus services.

An absolutely fabulous article appears in the Atlantic about convincing commuters to switch to transit. It is an article about cultural change, convenience, meeting needs and making car-free (for at least one major source of trips) seem "cool." Thanks to Chris Zeilinger for the tweet about this.

Mobility Management Conference in Indianapolis on June 6-7, 2011. Sessions will cover the different partnerships that allow for customer-focused and community-generated transit and mobility services. Also, information about livability, one-call/one-click services, statewide perspectives, and employment transportation, among others. The Partnership for Mobility Management is working together to put on the conference. There will be representation from the professional worlds of transit, community transportation services, workforce,
regional planning and state departments of transportation.

President's Deficit Reduction Proposal

Yesterday's New York Times coverage of the President's deficit reduction speech, did not mention transit, high-speed rail or any medical, human service or employment transportation programs. In my pre-vacation mode this morning, I admit that I am not scouring the news sites or Consortium webpages, but there are always news alerts and emails that arrive by this point whenever a major budget-related proposal is made that mentions these programs. The President's speech echoes themes from the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. A November 2010 blog post linked to the Commission co-chairs' recommendations, summaries and responses to the Commission's work. The full Commission recommended that the gas tax be increased by 15 cents and would "limit[] spending to actual revenues collected by the trust fund in the prior year once the gas tax is fully phased in." Transit and other non-motor vehicle modes were not mentioned.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Budget Battles: Organizations Call on Their Troops

Though federal employees are at their desks today, still on the horizon are the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget. Here are the concerns of some organizations, followed by discussion of a report that predicts the government-provided service needs of older Americans.

Amalgamated Transit Union

ATU is involved in the movement in several states to limit collective bargaining rights via We Are One rallies. On April 13, ATU will hold a National Day of Protest. Information about these events and a video and photograph contest are on ATU's homepage. In March, ATU hosted a boot camp training to educate labor and transit about how to establish transit advocacy coalitions. Ballot initiatives were also discussed.

American Public Health Association
APHA is ringing alarm bells about possible outcomes of the budget battle for medical care, Medicare, Medicaid and health care reform.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

N4A joins with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations in a letter to Congress to oppose proposed cuts to programs involving the aging community. N4A supports increased transportation dollars for older Americans due to great unmet needs and growing numbers of people age 65 plus. N4A is concerned about consolidation of programs to assist transportation-challenged populations because:
We are concerned that a consolidation of these programs might give public transportation providers less incentive to partner with community-based service providers to implement transportation programs targeting older adults and people with disabilities as they have traditionally done under the Section 5310 program. Our worst fear is that in consolidation, the balance of power in decisionmaking would mean that transit agencies would be less likely to pass through 5310 funding to nonprofit providers and instead create new programs of their own or support existing targeted programs, especially in these very tough fiscal times. The vital partnership between transit agencies and non-profit service providers that 5310 has created is successful and must be protected. In addition, the New Freedom program has been used to initiate cost-effective consumer responsive options such as dial-a-ride, taxi vouchers and volunteer driver programs, not just fixed route transit. Resources to expand mobility options beyond fixed-route transit must be continued as part of any consolidation proposal.

Fear that Livability is on the Chopping Block

Smart Growth America
SGA is asking its constituency to request that Congress fund the federal interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities and its activities. There is an advocacy toolkit on SGA's website.

Unmet and Growing Needs

Government Accountability Office
OLDER AMERICANS ACT: More Should Be Done to Measure the Extent of Unmet Need for Services, a GAO report, looks at needs for services, such as transportation, at different life stages past 65, income levels, and gender. More than health status, eyesight, income or gender, the more education one has the less need for transportation services. Poor health, living alone, having a low income and being female all correlate with greater needs.

Friday, April 8, 2011


National Association of Development Organizations
NADO posts that Apr. 12, Governing is hosting a free webinar, Smart, Sustainable, Livable Communities: Plans, Projects and Key Market Drivers. The webinar will explore the “green government” market and opportunities in building sustainable communities.

National Association of Counties

2011 Rail Conference - DuPage County, Ill., on Apr. 27–29, 2011. The conference will focus on the impact of freight and passenger rail on citizens, businesses, and county, city and state governments.

Members of NACo’s Rural Action Caucus (RAC) are currently in Washington, DC, for the Annual RAC Legislative Fly-in. They will meet with more than 60 members of Congress to advance priority issues for rural counties. RAC members will meet with officials from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service
and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. RAC’s leadership will meet with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Nearly two-thirds of the nation's 3,068 counties are designated as rural, with a combined population of 60 million. One of RAC's 2011 priorities is transportation reauthorization.

Webinar - Using County Health Indicators to Inform Local Policy Decisions - May 5, 2011 at 2 p.m. EDT. Speakers will discuss how counties can utilize community health and quality of life indicator information to help inform policy decisions and more effectively target local public health resources.

NACo Annual Conference - Multnomah County (Portland), Ore., on July 15–19, 2011. Aron Ralston, mountain climber and inspiration for the Film 127 Hours, will be a featured speaker.

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living

APRIL Annual Conference - Anchorage, on October 15-17, 2011.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Getting out of Cars

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

AASHTO reports record-breaking Amtrak ridership, 8 percent overall over last year, with some lines having increases over 30 percent.
Virginia's Newport News line to Washington grew 43% year over year, while the Lynchburg-to-Washington route was up 40%.

"Virginia is very proud of the success of this train," Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Thelma Drake said in a statement. "This success shows that there is demand for intercity passenger rail service in Virginia, and by serving major population centers, we are able to remove thousands of cars from the highways."

What Will Get People out of Their Cars?

This is a question I will pose in terms of urban areas right now due to a recent report, Tech for Transit: Designing a Future System, which synthesizes the recommendations of 18 people who went on one-week car-free diets in Boston and San Fransisco. The report is useful in determining what will reduce car usage in places that already have convenient and multiple alternatives to the automobile, such as transit, bike sharing, carsharing, taxis and walkable streets. It also provides food for thought for investment options in places that do not have all of those alternatives.

For the participants, the benefit of a car was not ownership, but autonomy. The benefits of being car free were feeling a part of a community and feeling that one was contributing to the environment. Now, from the recommendations, it seems like a particular type of person was included in the study. The primary recommendations is all-tech, all personally available, and easily accessible.

The participants want to see all information - transit, car sharing, taxis, bike sharing, etc - available in one place so that they can make cost, route and time decisions. The preference was for apps. Signage and telephone information were not even mentioned, as if they were so quaintly 20th century. They want mobility options and easy ways to make last-minute determinations about the options to select. The change in habits that participants noticed was adjustment to shopping routines. While they could see going car free, there was also the opinion that reducing car usage does not have to be all or nothing.

Creativity for Transit

Danville, Va., a city in the central part of the state, is offering two sites for "new creative bus stop shelters." According to the WLS10 business news article:
the Young Professionals Committee of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce "would like 'creative and aesthetically pleasing' bus stop shelters not only to increase ridership, but also to serve as focal points for the city’s central business district, according to a news release. So, the young professionals are sponsoring a design competition with $1,000, $500, and $250 prizes to be awarded for first, second and third places.