Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Resources to Dump the Pump

American Public Transportation Association
Remind your constituencies to participate in National Dump the Pump Day, Thursday, June 16. Secretary LaHood is encouraging people to take transit that day and save money, reduce "our nation's dependence on foreign oil," and "discover an economical, comfortable, stress-free option for getting around that they hadn't considered before." More information is available from APTA, which has materials for promoting and publicizing Dump the Pump Day, including button templates, sample proclamations and suggested activities.

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA joins with Families USA and other groups to support the Medicaid program and oppose the suggested transformation of Medicaid into a block grant program. "Medicaid is an important program for many public and community transportation systems around the country and the Association feels strongly that it must be protected in the ongoing budget debates in Washington," said CTAA Executive Director Dale J. Marsico, CCTM.

NRC Capitol Clips
explains how a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding programs offer opportunities for transportation options and mobility management efforts. Deadlines are coming up at the end of June and mid-July.

Big City Resources are Transferable

Okay, Brooklyn is not the first place in the country to post or allow posting of bus arrival times or to arrange for text messages to riders and smartphone access to a transit authority website, but a New York TV station did a nice little video about how the bus arrival notification system works. For Brooklynites, the information will mean a few more minutes to shop, but I think this type of system, which depends on business owners as much as the transit system because shops display bus arrival times in their windows, has even more potential for rural riders. With headways of an hour being common, people would be able to not only have time to shop, but to alert babysitters and bosses of delays, perhaps even to sit down somewhere and use an extra fifteen minutes to get something else done instead of looking up the road for the bus.

San Fransisco is utilizing its army of riders to send notices of what needs fixing. First, the transit agency asked for text messages about graffiti and vandalism locations and now it is about to unroll the same type of service for problems with cleanliness and security. Again, these are issues as much for rural as urban transit systems. In fact, this type of communication with riders probably would be more significant for a small operation with limited resources.

For these two stories, I am grateful to the Transit Wire, which I read each day. It is mostly technology/transit stories related to large urban systems, but it sometimes features small urban systems and their innovations, such as the recent start of free wifi on buses in Missoula, Mont.

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