The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center recently held a public transportation workforce development summit in Fargo, ND. Participants included current transit professionals from all around the country, representatives from higher educational institutions, and current undergraduate and graduate students. Breakout sessions focused on internships, higher education, and workforce retention. Presentations and additional information from the summit can be found at http://www.surtc.org/workforcesummit/.
A Transportation Seminar on developing long-range transportation plans will be held Oct. 20, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. in Room 422 of the IACC building on the North Dakota State University campus. The seminar will discuss the role of long-range transportation plans, the planning process, and their role in ensuring the efficient and effective expenditure of public dollars.
A Transportation Seminar titled "How to Conduct a Review of a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article" will be held Oct. 13, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 422 of the IACC building on the North Dakota State University campus. In this seminar, attendees will be presented with an overview of the peer review process, the role and responsibility of peer reviewers, as well as tips and considerations to ensure that reviews are done well.
The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center recently released a report that classifies rural and small urban transit agencies. Using data from the Rural National Transit Database, each subrecipient of Section 5311 funding that reported adequate information was classified by type of service, vehicle-miles, vehicle hours, and fleet size. Rural and small urban transit agencies can use this information to compare their to performance with that of their peers. Findings from the report, entitled Classifying Rural and Small Urban Transit Agencies, can also be used for other advanced analysis.
Questions on the report and its use in peer comparison should be directed to David Ripplinger, author of the report, who can be reached by phone at 701-231-5265 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The course presents a structured approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating rural transit projects to help ensure that agency needs and expectations are met.
The U.S. Senate has voted to extend funding for surface transportation programs until the end of October. The bill would maintain most agency spending at current levels. The House passed a three-month extension of the transportation funding last week. Read more about the story in an article in Logistics Management.
A Transportation Seminar titled “Transit and Small Urban Sprawl” will be held Sept. 29, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 422 of the IACC building on the North Dakota State University campus.
Small urban sprawl has resulted in new housing developments and business centers that have never been served by transit. Unfortunately, transit agencies are often not included in the land development process within small urban communities. SURTC researcher Del Peterson recently studied the issue and will present his findings. The objectives of his study were to determine what steps small urban transit providers are currently taking to integrate transit service into sprawling communities and to determine what can be done to improve relationships with local governments during the land development planning process.
The Leader Times newspaper of Kittanning, Pennsylvania recently chronicled the financial difficulties of Town and Country Transit, a rural Pennsylvania transit system. The story provides some lessons for those who want to avoid similar problems. (Leader Times)
A free transit service in northern Idaho is thriving under a unique partnership between the local tribe and local governments. (Spokesman-Review)
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced $4 million in economic development funding for Native American communities, including funding for rural transportation improvements. (USDA)
Public transportation workers are taking steps to try to control the spread of the H1N1 virus. (WMUR)
Local leaders discussed possibilities for funding improvements in rural transit in Arizona. (Sierra Vista Herald)
Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a three-month extension of SAFETEA-LU, the current transportation authorization legislation that is set to expire on Sept. 30. House Democrats, including transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) hope to pass new legislation by the end of the year. The Senate has not yet acted, but it seems to favor a much longer 18-month extension, which is also what the White House is calling for, pushing a new deal into 2011.
The U.S. DOT announced $100 million in Economic Recovery Act funding for 43 transit agencies on Sept. 21. Transit providers nationwide competed for the $100 million in stimulus funding under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program. The criteria for choosing the winning proposals included reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, return on investment, readiness to implement, applicant capacity, degree of innovation, and national applicability.
Much of the funding went to urban transit agencies, but some went to small urban and rural areas as well. For example, Productive Alternatives/Transit Alternatives of Fergus Falls, MN received $845,000 for a variety of building energy-efficiency upgrades, hybrid vehicle upgrades, wind generator power systems, and the equipment needed to convert cooking oil to a blend with vehicle fuel to operate some of their buses. The Thunder Bay Transportation Authority in Alpena, MI received $2.59 million to replace 4 diesel buses with 4 series plug-in hybrid buses. Data on operating hybrid buses in a non-urban/rural area will also be collected over a two-year span.
A few other small urban areas also received funding. The full list of winning proposals can be seen here.