Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Driving Safely - Technical Assistance for Transit and Transportation Services

Federal Transit Administration
FTA issues a Dear Colleague letter about training for transit workers about distracted driving. The agency offers a half-hour course "to educate, inform, and increase awareness among all transit workers about the dangers and challenges associated with distracted driving." The course is available online and can be accessed at any time.

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA's EXPO conference will feature safety and vehicle maintenance trainings as part of the one-to-three-day intensives available on May 21-23 in Baltimore, Md. The EXPO conference is on May 21-25.

CTAA's Safety and Security Manager training certifies managers. "[T]his is a protocol for on-site assessments by Certified Safety and Security Managers of their respective transit systems preparedness in the critical components and core elements of the Federal Transit Administration's Bus Safety and Security Program."

Rural Transit Assistance Program

RTAP has a number of safety-related introductory training products. These are available on the website via a search for safety materials. They are also available via the RTAP catalog.

Local Stories

Support for transit, first mile/last mile service, coordinating human services transportation, and just having another mode of transportation to get an impromptu cup of coffee are gearing up in nearby towns in Massachusetts. The Wicked Local Maynard (now that's a great news source name) reports that "a $184,575 grant from the state aims to identify these redundancies and propose solutions for a more efficient regional transit network in the towns of Acton, Maynard, Boxborough, Littleton and Stow." The article, Maynard, Stow among communities receiving grant from state describes ambitious goals for the grant, to "pay for geodetic positioning systems for the 13 vans ... and a project coordinator to analyze trip data and develop a shared dispatch service. The long-term goals, according to the grant application, are to improve economic viability and realize cost savings for towns in the region." Though the grant will not pay for fixed-route service, some see it as a step in that direction. A transportation summit is planned for May in Maynard.

Wichita wants bus shelters with real-time bus information. The city is applying for "a $1.08 million grant from the FTA’s Bus Livability Initiative to establish eight bus shelters every two blocks along the Douglas corridor downtown." Wichita seeks U.S. grant for Douglas bus shelters, an article in the Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, discusses Wichita's goal to make transit an attractive alternative to car use in the downtown area.
“We’d like to get wait times to 10 minutes or less at these shelters so the bus becomes a car alternative,” Fluhr said. “We have a large geographic area for our downtown, 800 acres, and within that we have a number of epicenters like Old Town, the Douglas corridor, City Hall, the arena and WaterWalk.
Other Douglas corridor projects that would be covered by the grant project include streetscape amenities, parking for 175 bicycles, a signalized pedestrian crosswalk between Mead and Rock Island and pedestrian wayfinding signage.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Innovative Partnerships - Resources, Events, Stories

The Federal Transit Administration will hold an informational webinar on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 2:00pm EST for any agencies interested in applying for the FY 2012 Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI). Please visit http://vtcli2.eventbrite.com/ to register. For those who are unable to attend, the session will be recorded and posted along with Q&As for later viewing.

The application deadline for the FY 2012 VTCLI grant competition is April 19, 2012. For more information on the VTCLI, please visit the FTA website at www.fta.dot.gov/veterans.

John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Webinar or in-person event - Transportation Trajectories - Weaving silos into tapestry: Cross-modal safety through the U.S. DOT Safety Council - Mar. 22, 2012 in Cambridge, MA.

[Light rail at Denver's Union Station hub.]

Statewide TA Resources

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AASHTO posts on its Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) site a state DOT directory that lists state staff contacts for different federal programs and purposes, such as insurance, vehicle maintenance and emergency preparedness.

Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program

TPCBP provides training, technical assistance, and support for State, local, regional, and Tribal governments, transit operators, and community leaders. TPCBP has produced three Transit at the Table guides. Transit at the Table I explores how transit agencies in larger metropolitan areas (more than 200,000 in population) could be more effective partners with MPOs in the metropolitan transportation planning and programming process. Transit at the Table II is about how transit in smaller metropolitan areas (populations between 50,000 and 200,000) can be effectively involved in planning. Transit at the Table III serves rural and small urban areas by covering partnerships with state agencies and state planning.

[Public art on a Portland, OR., street.]

Local Stories

Florida Food Bank Wins Award for Transportation System for Low-income Residents shows partnership in action and long-term goals. A Florida food bank decided that a crucial link in reducing hunger is getting people to employment, medical care and other important destinations.
The food bank started the Transportation Coordination Network six months ago after a Hunger Free Community Coalition town hall meeting with agencies and partners. There, food bank officials heard that transportation after public transit hours was a need for St. Lucie residents. The St. Lucie County Housing and Community Services Department, FL and its transportation partners spearheaded the network.
The transportation network is already expanding, serving college students going to and from school, and planning to provide service soon to more counties. The article appeared on the Kansas City Infozine site.

Mobility Options

Village of Great Neck Plaza Complete Streets Policy Guide does a nice job of explaining what are complete streets, what they can accomplish and their significance to seniors, children, and public transportation. The guide also provides a clear explanation of local versus state versus county roads, which jurisdictions have authority over each, and how the village can partner with and encourage complete streets design on the roads over which it does not have jurisdiction.

Montana Intercity Bus Service Study
discusses analyses to determine unmet demand for intercity bus service, particularly in Montana. Examples are from North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas, among others, with information about funding sources and uses. The study also examines why passengers in Montana use intercity bus service, how passengers access information about the service, and physically how they access the actual bus - whether through a ride, walking, another bus, etc. Montana transit connections for intercity service, whether bus or train, or airplane, are reviewed for frequency, type of service and fares.
To understand how transit agencies are aligned with the other modes of services, agencies were asked specifically whether they provide a transit connection within an hour of arrival or departure time of ICB, Amtrak or airline services. Nine transit agencies reported they provided a connection to an ICB location within an hour, with five agencies providing a connection within an hour to airports and train station.
This is a fascinating read about estimating demand, satisfaction and user preferences, specifically in a mostly rural state.