Recently, Purdue University announced it will name its civil engineering building for alumnus and donor Delon Hampton and his mother, Elizabeth Hampton.
Delon, who served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Business Member Board of Governors (2007-2008), was the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member Award. The award is given to an APTA public transportation business member who has made outstanding contributions to the public transportation industry.
He is also the founder of Delon Hampton & Associates, a top design firm specializing in civil, structural and environmental engineering; construction; and program management and planning services. He was a civil engineering assistant professor at Kansas State University and a professor at Howard University. While on leave from Kansas State University, he served for a year as head of soil dynamics research at the University of New Mexico's Eric H. Wang Research Facility in Albuquerque.
Delon has also received numerous awards, including the Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award and James Laurie Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Distinguished Engineer Award from the National Society of Black Engineers. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as past president of ASCE. During his tenure, he proposed the creation of ASCE's Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award, which was approved by the board and has been given each year since 2000.
As a long-time colleague and friend, I’d like congratulate Delon and his family on this incredible achievement. He has made a true impact in the public transportation industry and has truly touched the lives of many, many people throughout his lifetime.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "'Rock & Roll' for bus operators" here.
What do transit authorities like SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART have in common other than transporting thousands, even millions of riders every day? All were recently ranked as four of the U.S.’s 500 “Best Employers” by Forbes magazine.
SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART were among 25 organizations included in Forbes’ “Transportation & Logistics” category, along with Southwest Airlines, Amtrak, CSX, Union Pacific and Greyhound. In fact, SEPTA (#33) and MBTA (#49) placed higher than Apple (#55) and SEPTA was the highest ranked company in Pennsylvania.
As an experienced designer of streetcar systems, one question I am frequently asked is, "Can a streetcar _____?" The blanks are usually filled with design challenges, such as "turn left from a curb lane", or "go under a low clearance underpass" or "operate at higher speeds and frequencies." More often than not, the answer is YES! Modern streetcar systems, such as those operating in Seattle, Tucson, and Atlanta, are modeled after European trams that are designed to fit within tight, complex, and built-out urban environments. The unique combination of vehicle's size coupled with the ability to operate in the same lanes as automobiles, trucks, and buses allow designers to create safe, efficient solutions to nearly every design challenge that arises.
At the Denton County (Texas) Transportation Authority (DCTA), we’re constantly looking for unique ways to engage with passengers, generate brand awareness and increase ridership. This year with Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday, we saw a great opportunity to launch a campaign in which passengers could ride DCTA’s A-train commuter rail and Connect Bus for free on Valentine’s Day all day by saying “Be Mine” to the agency’s rail and bus operators. With low-trending ridership in February, we needed to find a way to increase ridership and brand awareness within Denton County and surrounding cities. Launching the Valentine’s Day promotion definitely would help us achieve this.
Seeing a canine passenger on mass transit is not uncommon, but the reasons why a dog might catch the train or hop a bus are varied (remember Eclipse, the Seattle Lab mix that uses the bus, often on her own, to get to the dog park?). Most public transit pooches are working —as K-9 officers or service animals. In the Philadelphia region, other animals — in approved carriers only—are permitted to ride the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s buses, trains and trolleys. However, a new pilot program underway by SEPTA allows registered therapy dogs volunteering at two Philadelphia hospitals to use two designated bus routes to travel to their sites.
To be sure, there is no substitute for offering high-quality bus or rail transit service, but many transit agencies skimp when it comes to marketing, outreach, and education and, as a result, the public often has no idea how good the service may actually be. Buses also have an image problem in many communities, which proper marketing could help address. Witness the huge sums spent by automakers in crafting the image of their automobiles.