Question of the day: What is the most urgent trend affecting your operation today?

Posted on May 7, 2014

Houston Metro
Houston Metro

Kurt Ravenschlag
Kurt Ravenschlag

“We are seeing significant increases in demand for transit within our service area. These demands are driven by our millennial and senior populations who desire more convenient public transportation.

We are also seeing huge demands for more service as a result of launching our first BRT line and the growing popularity of transit oriented development.

Over the next two years we are planning for a 50% growth in service to meet demand. Our biggest challenge will be finding the capital resources to procure the needed rolling stock. Our agency has seen a 98% reduction in capital funding as a result of the formulization of FTA 5309/5339 capital funding. This is an issue that makes it difficult for our agency and, I’m sure, many other agencies around the country, to keep up with the growing demand for transit." 

Kurt Ravenschlag, GM

Fort Collins, Colo.

“Houston is very blessed as a growing region both in population and job growth, so I think the challenges of today are the challenges of tomorrow: how do we work with all of our regional partners to provide transportation choices for people to move throughout this region?

To do that, how do we make sure we’re coordinating that planning [and] financing those systems we need to grow? The whole approach of congressional appropriations, the next generation of MAP-21, all those things come into play. That’s something I think we across the country have to look at.”

Tom Lambert, CEO
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

Steve Banta
Steve Banta
“Transit in the metro Phoenix region has experienced an incredible evolution in the past decade due to local and regional support by visionaries who understood its value to our economy and quality of life. Now, we must turn our attention to sustaining our bus and light rail network with dedicated, local and federal funding that enables us to deliver a system that is attractive to current riders and accommodates future generations.”

Steve Banta, CEO
Valley Metro

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb

“Equity. The Twin Cities is growing and becoming more culturally diverse and Metro Transit is increasingly focused on equitable service delivery.

We are undergoing a historic expansion with the opening of a second light rail line and restructured service on some two dozen connecting bus routes this summer. During many months of planning, we engaged communities throughout this culturally rich corridor connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul, with a deeper focus on traditionally underrepresented groups. Feedback from these many customers and stakeholders has significantly informed and improved our service plan.

We are now using the successes of this approach to develop a 10- to 15-year system-wide bus expansion plan and launch an urban BRT network beginning in 2015.”

Brian Lamb, GM
Metro Transit

Dr. Beverly A. Scott
Dr. Beverly A. Scott

“Changing our institutional, business, financial, service delivery models — and internal culture — to align with a 21st century world.

The other major trends affecting our operation are the big demographic changes, which are very significantly changing the needs and expectations of our customers.

Last but not least is the adoption and successful deployment of technology — including full utilization of the benefits. Typically, this requires major changes in thinking and working.”

Dr. Beverly A. Scott, GM
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Phil Washington
Phil Washington

“In my opinion the most urgent is funding (economic), which leads to our financial ability to keep things in a state of good repair.

Our goal is to transition from a ‘find-and-fix’ to a ‘predict-and-prevent’ approach to asset management and state of good repair, that reduces cost and improves safety and reliability. It’s hard to do that without adequate funding; we need a new transportation funding bill in the worst way for the good of this country and the safety of millions of public transit riders.”

Phil Washington, GM
Denver Regional Transportation District

Joni Earl
Joni Earl

“With a backdrop of record-setting ridership demands across our express bus, commuter rail and light rail services, Sound Transit operating costs continue to increase faster than the general rate of inflation and revenues. Maintaining and expanding these vital transit services while working with our partners to keep operating costs affordable and fair will continue to be a challenge.

On the political side, the continued reluctance by Congress and our state legislature to commit to long-term funding solutions for both transit and transportation infrastructure makes it difficult to maintain current service levels and meet an increasing demand for more public transit options.”

Joni Earl, CEO

Sound Transit

Jack Stephens
Jack Stephens

“The social trend that is the most challenging for us is the changing demographic of our riders. We’re having to reprogram our service to meet the needs and expectations of the Millennials, rather than just those of our daily commuters.” 

Jack Stephens, Executive Director
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
Pompano Beach, Fla.

Ann D. August
Ann D. August

"As the CEO of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) AKA Max Transit, I know that the most pressing economic trend that is affecting our agency is the lack of local matching funds, which is complicated by the fact, that the state of Alabama does not provide any funding. This lack of local match has and will continue to affect our ability to increase our capital investment via our capital replacement plan to reduce our headways and provide the needed services within the Magic City Community. 

Changing demographics is another factor as well, which has been a trend for many years within this region.

However, on a positive note, I have seen a resurgence of economic growth and development in the Birmingham region, along with increases in our ridership. The downtown community is repurposing itself as well.  Creating and building partnerships in the region have allowed the agency to reinforce the fact that public transit is definitely needed to meet the service demands within a growing and developing community.

I am hopeful that as we continue to grow as a community economically, it will help the BJCTA realize its goal of being a dominate force in the region, bridging the gap between education/economic and the quality of life." 

Ann August, CEO
Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority
Birmingham, Ala.

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