UITP (the International Association of Public Transport) has announced the creation of the International Urban Rail Platform for North America, which will bring together key rail industry players from the region and the rest of the world.
Leaders from the some of the most important urban rail networks in North America gathered last night in Washington to kick off preparations to establish an International Urban Rail Platform for North America. This initiative aims to bring the North American rail scene into closer contact with UITP’s worldwide membership, to share knowledge and expertise and further advance the North American ‘rail renaissance’ currently underway, which has seen 23 new light rail systems in the U.S. since 1985, alongside the existing 36 LRT and 16 metro systems.
The Platform, which has the endorsement of UITP member APTA (American Public Transportation Association), will hold its first official meeting in the fall of 2016. The gathering was a first get-together of the key players to launch the initiative and to discuss the priority topics for the fall meeting.
The move comes on the back of the signing of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) in December 2015 to ensure a longer-term vision for mass transit financing coming from the U.S. federal level, an initiative welcomed by UITP for the long-term stability it provides the sector.
“There is tremendous new recognition of the value that urban rail transportation brings to current societal needs,” said Andrew Bata, UITP Regional Manager for North America. “In North America, new rail starts and system expansions are redefining the urban landscape; ridership is booming and often well beyond projections. We are experiencing a true rail renaissance – a mode that offers a high quality, modern, truly green and efficient alternative to the automobile.”
“UITP and its members have a real wealth of experience in the rail sector and this initiative will be key in helping to share expertise between the flourishing rail market in North America and UITP’s international network of members,” said UITP Secretary General, Alain Flausch.