Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Tools, Instruction from Our TA Partners

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 Transit Institute

NTI recently sent out word of two online classes that look interesting: Attracting Senior Drivers to Public Transportation and Managing Increasing Ridership Demand, which is based on a study of South American transit systems. Please note that even though these are online instructions, there are limited attendance slots and these classes fill up.

National RTAP

RTAP releases Procurement Pro, an online procurement project management tool. There is an introductory video that is very user friendly, which, in my case, means simple and clear. There is also an explanatory webinar and a print document, which, like the video, goes step by step and explains the way Procurement Pro works. Procurement Pro requires that the user, presumably a rural transportation provider or transit agency, establish an account.

According to the site, the application is intended to provide:
the steps needed to determine the Federal clauses and certifications that must be included in procurement documents for a Federally funded project. In return you will receive a document that includes all required Federal clauses and certifications and other supporting documentation, such as checklists and templates, to help you manage the procurement process.

RTAP will be hosting a Website Builder webinar to provide education about its new Cloud web application. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, 2011. It will cover using the application to build a transit system presence on the Internet that will be easy to manage. The Website Builder application enables transit systems to post routes, schedules and fare information. The application is a new, free, online tool. More information about Website Builder is available at http://www.nationalrtap.org/WebApps/WebsiteBuilder.aspx.

Friday, April 8, 2011

One-Call Toolikit Debuts, Local Stories and More

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) debuts the One-Call - One-Click Toolkit, which gives communities a map, as it were, of the steps to take in starting a one-call or one-click service for transportation that will either add on to an existing service, such as a 211 or Aging and Disability Resource Center, or will be an entirely new community resource. Topics such as functions to consider, the importance of partnerships and leadership, and what successful approaches already exist are explored in guided chapters, fact sheets, case studies and advice from experts.

The Disability Law Handbook, updated for 2011, is released. There is a chapter about transportation that discusses the obligations of transit and other providers as well as an explanation about paratransit. The handbook is written for the lay person.

Public Participation

SeeClickFix is launching a new Facebook application that will make public participation easier and, I suspect, more effective. Facebook users will be able to report on community issues, from pothole problems to transit initiatives, through their Facebook accounts. True, not everyone is totally wired and not everyone uses Facebook, but the expansion of apps, smart phones and Internet tools are heading toward becoming universal. These tools, generally developed for urban environments, are potentially more useful in rural areas without good transit and other means to attend public participation meetings long distances from where people live and work - especially for people who do not get out of their homes easily. SeeClickFix, reportedly mindful of its place as a convener and enabler of recent Mideast revolutionary activity, views this new application as an opportunity to increase community involvement. More details about the new application and how it is being used are available in a post from the CityFix blog.

[Editor's Note: This post was revised due to the incorrect identification of the launching company as Facebook instead of SeeClickFix. The fact that I could not get through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is readily apparent. Readers kindly pointed out my error. Thank you. I hope I have gotten this right.]

Local Stories of Tough Times for Transit

Trumbull County, Ohio, offers a case study in how a community is handling the fiscal demands of running a transit system and human services transportation. The linked article discusses funding sources and county control to save local dollars. Trumball County is in Northeastern Ohio.

Minnesota's Senate voted to cut funding for transit, particularly passenger rail between the Twin Cities and Duluth, but resisted a bid to eliminate funding entirely for the state's passenger rail office. In a statement that speaks for the benefits of coordination and partnerships, Duluth Senator Roger Reinert urged his counterparts, "Let's keep the coordination of these transit places in place so we're not back to this position of just taking them piecemeal as they come. But we're doing one plan that's good for Minnesota."


National Transit Institute

NTi has upcoming classes in metropolitan planning, statewide planning, transit-oriented development, ADA eligibility, and attracting senior drivers to public transportation. More information is available at http://www.ntionline.com/Courses.asp.