Transit Dispatches

Contributing bloggers discuss a variety of topics geared toward the transit and motorcoach sectors.

Tackling Rail Maintenance 'Blitz'-Style to Minimize 'Down' Time

Maintenance and construction projects can present quite the conundrum for transportation organizations with rail operations: shut down a major portion or entire line in one shot to get the work done while offering substitute service for riders? Work overnights and weekends for long stretches of time? One solution to the maintenance/construction puzzle is the “blitz” — a balancing act between productivity and customer inconvenience.

Idea for Smarter Transit Fares is a Winner

Transit would be better served if the pay-per-ride and unlimited fare structures that currently dominate were expanded to include more fine-tuned pricing structures similar to those offered by cell phone companies. That was the idea that won the recent second annual Outside the Box transportation conference and competition at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy.

Providing Service for Those Who Served

When the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America hold the 34th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia from August 12-17, SEPTA will have the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to those who have served the Armed Forces. The Authority will provide transportation for the more than 500 veterans with spinal cord injury, amputations and neurological disorders that will travel to Philadelphia from across the country and the United Kingdom to compete.

Why is no one offering same-day ADA paratransit service?

From a customer service standpoint, the convenience and immediacy of same-day paratransit service would be a huge improvement. And from an operating standpoint, it offers the opportunity to increase productivity by filling holes in schedules left by cancellations and no-shows.

Testing whether Night Owl rail services can 'fly'

Those who depend on mass transit believe that service should be available 24/7 so that they can get to where they need to go, whenever they need to get there. In New York, MTA customers can hop on the subway 24 hours a day. In Chicago, CTA riders can use the Blue and Red “L” lines around the clock. But in cities like Boston and Philadelphia, major service lines and routes are not always all that convenient in the early hours of the morning — until now.

Are Fearful, Lurking Parents a Reason for Uninspired Transportation Choice?

I’ve been enjoying danah boyd’s book titled It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. She is a researcher from Microsoft, New York University and Harvard who toured the country for the past several years interviewing teens about why they seem so addicted to social media and whether they are destroying their brains and their lives in the process. Her findings are basically that the kids are alright and it’s probably the parents who are crazy.

The dangers of ‘distracted commuting’

Over the past year, SEPTA officials have responded to a few track fall incidents each month. Surveillance cameras often show people — some talking or texting on their phones or otherwise distracted — walking past the yellow warning strip and landing into the track area. To decrease these incidents, SEPTA is making distracted commuting the focus of its second annual “Make the Safe Choice” Safety Day.

Advancing women in transportation: Closing the gap

With President Obama’s recent bills regarding gender equality in the workplace, it’s hard to understand why gaps regarding pay, position, and opportunity for women still exist and why, in some industries such as transportation, gaps regarding position and opportunity are wider than in others.

50 years of public transit milestones and memories

In the public transit world, 1964 marked the world’s first high-speed rail network, driverless train and California breaking ground on the BART system. It was an important year for public transportation in Philadelphia, too. On Feb. 18, 1964, the organizational meeting that established what is now the nation's sixth largest transportation agency —SEPTA — was held.

Transit tech's future showcased at ITS World Congress

The Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress only occurs in the Americas once every three years and this Sept. 7 to 11 our industry returns to its origins. Five months from now in Detroit, 10,000 of the world’s high tech transportation leaders will gather to discuss and showcase the technologies that are driving the future of transportation.

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Author Bio

Heather Redfern

Public Information Manager, SEPTA


Marcia Ferranto

President/CEO, WTS International

Marcia Ferranto is President/CEO of WTS International.


Scott Belcher

President and CEO, Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America)


Joe Zavisca

Joe Zavisca is an independent consultant specializing in paratransit service.


Paul Mackie

Communications Director, Mobility Lab

Paul Mackie is communications director at Mobility Lab, a leading U.S. voice of “transportation demand management.”


Rob Taylo

Founder/CEO SinglePoint Communications

Rob Taylo is founder/CEO of SinglePoint Communications, an exclusive U.S. distributor of WiFi in Motion.


Joel Volinski

Director, National Center for Transit Research at CUTR/USF


Zack Shubkagel

Partner/Creative Director of Willoughby Design

Zack Shubkagel is partner and creative director for the San Francisco office of Willoughby Design, a strategic branding and design firm.


White Papers

Factors in Transit Bus Ramp Slope and Wheelchair-Seated Passenger Safety Nearly 3 million U.S. adults are wheelchair or scooter users1, and as the population ages this number is expected to rise. Many wheelchair users rely upon public transportation to access work, medical care, school and social activities.

Mass Transit Capital Planning An overview of the world-class best practices for assessing, prioritizing, and funding capital projects to optimize resources and align with the organization’s most critical immediate and long-term goals.

The Benefits of Door-to-Door Service in ADA Complementary Paratransit Many U.S. transit agencies continue to struggle with the quality of ADA service, the costs, and the difficulties encountered in contracting the service, which is the method of choice for a significant majority of agencies. One of the most basic policy decisions an agency must make involves whether to provide door-to-door, or only curb-to-curb service.

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