Posts categorized under "Events"

Student Paper Competition at National Conference on Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation


 Competition for Best Graduate Research Paper


Best Undergraduate Essay

 Deadline for Submission

March 7, 2014

The Transportation Research Board Committee on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation hosts a biennial conference in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration, Transportation Research Board, National Rural Transit Assistance Program, American Public Transportation Association, and others.  The 2014 Conference will be held in Monterey, California on October 26-29, 2014.

Part of that conference is a student competition that encourages students in transportation and related fields to submit papers that focus on the 2014 theme of “Setting Our Course for the Future.”  There are two competitions: the graduate student competition, which requires submission of a research paper, and the undergraduate student competition, which requires an essay addressing a specific challenge statement related to our theme.

Two winning student papers in each category (graduate and undergraduate) will receive awards, a cash prize and travel expenses to the 2014 conference in Monterey, California.

If you are an advisor or administrator of a program in engineering, economics, business, literature, sociology, medicine, social work, science, or any other discipline in which students are interested in addressing the issues of rural mobility, we ask that you distribute the attached flyers (graduate and/or undergraduate) and encourage them to submit an entry by the March 7, 2014 deadline.

Flyers with more information are below:

For more information, contact Del Peterson, North Dakota State University ( or Pat Weaver, University of Kansas (  Additional details about the conference are available at the conference website.  Click the “Student Competition” tab from the menu.

Dr. Ranjit Godavarthy Wins CUTC Award

CUTC_1.11.13_108-2Dr. Ranjit Godavarthy, associate research fellow with SURTC, won the Wootan Award for Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation in Policy and Planning from the Council for University Transportation Centers (CUTC). Dr. Godavarthy earned this award for his dissertation, titled “Network and Design Guidelines for Accommodating Large Trucks at Roundabouts," which he completed at Kansas State University. He was presented the award at the CUTC Annual Winter Meeting & Banquet, which took place in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, on January 11, 2014. Congratulations Ranjit for this prestigious award.

Webinar on Engaging People with Disabilities and Older Adults in Coordinated Planning

SURTC researcher Del Peterson will be participating in a webinar November 22 on engaging people with disabilities and older adults in coordinated planning. He will be presenting results from SURTC research regarding the use of technologies to improve public participation in transportation planning. The webinar is being hosted as part of a project sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living. More information about the webinar is below:

What's Research Got to do with It? Applying Evidence-based Practices to Improve the Participation of People with Disabilities and Older Adults in Coordinated Planning

Learn how evidence-based practices can be incorporated into strategies to engage people with disabilities and older adults in coordinated transportation planning; hear stories from SURTC researchers and ACL catalysts about how evidence-based practices are used in their work; obtain resources to identify evidence-based practices; and learn how to tap into the UTC program and other federal and non-federal resources related to research.


  • Del Peterson, associate research fellow with the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center (SURTC) located at North Dakota State University (NDSU)
  • Crystal Lyons, president of Crystal Fortune Lyons, LLC, and a professional consulting company specializing in disability policy development and DOJ and DOT ADA Title II compliance.
  • Jed Johnson, MSW, MBA, Director, National Veteran Caregiver Training Program, Easter Seals headquarters
  • Full speaker biographies (PDF)(133 KB)

Webinar Information

  • Nov. 22, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Click here to participate in the webinar.

To learn more about the Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Project, visit TransitPlanning4All.

Participation at Louisiana Public Transit Conference

Keven Anderson, coordinator of training and outreach, and researcher Jeremy Mattson are participating in the 2013 Louisiana Public Transit Conference in New Orleans, LA, Nov. 20-22.

Anderson is conducting a session on succession planning and mentoring. Many of the transit managers currently in the industry are at or near retirement age, and most systems have no plans for future managers. In his presentation, Anderson will discuss how to run your transit system as a business and how to grow your current employees through mentor programs to take on more responsibility and continue to grow.

Mattson is giving a presentation on the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by small urban and rural transit systems. His presentation will be based on a previous study he conducted which involved a survey of small urban and rural transit operators. This research examined the use of alternative fuels and hybrids by these agencies, satisfaction with these alternatives, problems encountered, reasons for adoption, and deterrents, both perceived and real. Click here to access the report.

Webinar: Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation

The National Transit Institute (NTI) is hosting a webinar that will provide information on rural passenger transportation need and demand analysis procedures. The webinar will be based on the work published in TCRP Report 161: Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation: Final Workbook and will be presented by Frank Spielberg, principal investigator of the TCRP project and researcher with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB), and co-authors A.T. Stoddard of LSC Transportation and Corey Pitts of VHB. The presenters will review recommended methods and provide an introduction to an Excel spreadsheet that can be used to implement the procedures. This webinar will be of interest to planners in rural areas and operators of rural passenger transportation systems.

The webinar is on July 23 at 2:00pm-3:30pm ET. Register online through the NTI website. View the advertising flyer below for more information.


Watch a Highlight Video of the 2012 APTA Public Transportation & Universities Conference Held in Fargo

MATBUS has posted a highlight video of the 2012 APTA Public Transportation & Universities Conference in Fargo, ND. The conference was hosted by MATBUS, SURTC, and NDSU and was the first APTA conference ever held in North Dakota. Watch the video below.

You can also find this and other MATBUS videos on their YouTube page.


SURTC to Participate in National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation

SURTC staff will be heavily involved in the 20th National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation, held October 14-17 in Salt Lake City, UT. This conference, held every two years, focuses on the latest in best practice and current research in rural public and intercity bus transportation.

Director Jill Hough is serving on the conference planning committee and will moderate and participate in a session on transit workforce development. Keven Anderson, training coordinator, will also participate in that session. Hough’s presentation is titled “Mentoring the Next Generation of Public Transit Workers” and Anderson’s is “Succession Planning and Mentorship.”

Carol Wright, associate director of training and outreach, will present “Addressing Language Barriers for Passengers, Drivers, and Dispatchers” in a session on effective communications for rural transportation, and she will present “Development and Assessment of Agency Policies and Practices for Civil Rights” in a session on civil rights. Wright and Anderson will also team to make a presentation on tribal transit.

Researchers Jeremy Mattson and Del Peterson will be participating in a session on how technology is improving operations. Mattson will present results from a study on the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by small urban and rural transit systems, and Peterson will present research on the use of effortless passenger identification systems.

Peterson and Mattson will also give a presentation, titled “Transit, Technology & Public Participation,” that will present findings from research on the use of new technologies to improve public participation in transit planning. This session focuses on how technology is facilitating dialogue between providers and the community.

Visit the conference website for more info:

MATBUS and NDSU to Host National Transit Conference

For the first time in their collective histories, Metro Area Transit (MATBUS) and North Dakota State University (NDSU) will host the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 2012 Public Transportation and University Communities Conference, June 16-19. This national conference is expected to bring almost 150 attendees to Fargo.

The purpose of the conference is to study and analyze the unique needs of university communities and the populations they serve. From land use development to marketing, this conference promises to bring transit, university and student leaders to Fargo to exchange ideas and see the successful collaborations between MATBUS and North Dakota State University.

Following a competitive review process, Fargo was chosen as the host of this conference because of its strong and successful transit partnerships with NDSU. Julie Bommelman, Transit Administrator for the City of Fargo, states, “We consider it a privilege and a unique opportunity to host a conference of this caliber in Fargo. The ever-increasing importance of transit will be showcased during this APTA conference.”

The Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC) of NDSU is a conference co-host. Jill Hough, Program Director & Advanced Research Fellow for SURTC, states, “APTA is the premiere organization representing public transportation interests across the nation. SURTC has been fortunate to have a long-standing involvement with APTA and MATBUS. This conference is a wonderful opportunity to showcase MATBUS and the extraordinary relationship they have with NDSU.”

Gregg Schildberger, Transit Planner for MATBUS, states “Hosting an APTA conference is a tremendous honor for MATBUS and our entire community. We extend a warm welcome, to the Fargo-Moorhead community, to our guests from APTA and transit agencies across the United States.”

"I applaud MATBUS and NDSU for hosting the conference, which will provide a forum to share practices in planning, implementing, and operating campus transit service," says American Public Transportation President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. "College and university public transportation contributed to a tremendous surge in public transit ridership in the first quarter of this year.  I especially commend MATBUS, whose service has grown significantly, boasting over 2.1 million riders annually, making university transit a vital and integral part of the regional transit service."

MATBUS is the largest rideshare program in the area, offering 25 fixed routes in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth, in addition to MAT Paratransit door-to-door services.  In 2011, MATBUS provided a total of 2,159,697 passenger rides. The operation of MATBUS requires a $6.5 million annual investment and 104 employees, which includes administrative staff, bus operators and technicians.

Attend the 2012 APTA Public Transportation & Universities Conference

Attend the 2012 Public Transportation & Universities Conference June 16-19 at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo, ND.

For more information or to register, visit:

The conference will address the special transportation needs of university communities and offers a rare opportunity to see how a successful university-transit partnership works.  Learn how this partnership has evolved to boost ridership.

The conference agenda includes sessions on:

  • Partnerships
  • Emerging technologies
  • Future university trends
  • New business models
  • Safety and security, emergency preparedness and response
  • Marketing
  • Financing
  • Case studies and more

The program also includes networking opportunities, a minor-league baseball game, a chance to explore Fargo's revitalized and hip downtown, and a private screening at the historic Fargo Theatre.

Register now at: 

Webinar Recording Posted Online: Tribal Transit & Prospects for Future Funding

On March 28, 2012, SURTC partnered with CTAA and the Northern Plains Tribal Technical Assistance program to present a webinar on Tribal Transit & Prospects for Future Funding.

SURTC researcher Jon Mielke presented the findings of a recent study regarding the impacts of the 5311(c) tribal transit program that was created in 2005 by the SAFETEA-LU federal highway and transit funding bill. The study also identified future funding requirements based on varying levels of tribal participation and the availability of funding from other sources.

Jim Glaze, a tribal transit attorney and partner with the Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, & Perry, LLP, law firm briefed participants on the status of various versions of pending federal reauthorization. The timing of Mr. Glaze’s presentation was especially timely given legislation that is currently pending before Congress.

SURTC is a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University