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Transit:
From essential only to always indispensable

Sponsored by Ecolane

From June 9-10, CTAA hosted the first ever transit industry virtual EXPO; serving as a precursor to our annual EXPO to be held this year in November. This two-day mini-conference included virtual sessions on operations, safety, communications, HR and breakout sessions. Participants did a deep dive into ways in which agencies have overcome challenges related to this pandemic and look ahead to the future. This innovative event focused entirely on how COVID-19 has impacted operations and ways in which industry leaders can guide their systems.

Virtual EXPO: recordings and documents

Day 1, Tuesday, June 9

CTAA’s Executive Director Scott Bogren provided participants with an overview of the current environment, as well as his insights into what members can expect in the coming weeks and months.

Transit systems large and small face short-term, mid-range and long term challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Normal patterns of commuting and travel have been disrupted and the “new normal” is still to emerge. Throw into this mix the need to keep front-line employees safe, loss of revenue, and a myriad of other difficulties – the need for innovative approaches has never been more imperative. A panel of transit operators discussed their response to the pandemic, their mid-range operational changes, and then their longer term response including the opportunity to strategically re-think how mobility is delivered.

During this hour-long session, participants heard from transportation providers from across the country in how they have shifted to ensuring safety for both their staff and their riders. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our communities, our definitions of safety, security, and public health have taken on new meanings and required new protocols. Through a virtual panel discussion, three providers discussed how they have innovatively embraced new procedures, handled setbacks, and share lessons learned from their communities.

With the arrival of the CARES Act funds for rural and urban transit, it once seemed that many CTAA members’ only challenge would be spending their allocations. Of course, the short term and long-term realities for these agencies in terms of ridership, state/local funding, operating costs and yes, even capital projects has led to a different conclusion: how long will CARES Act funds last — and will it be long enough to get us through the long-term recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. And keep in mind, many CTAA members were not eligible for CARES Act relief. This session explored how to use CARES Act funds in concert with new-found flexibility offered by FTA in local share and operating and capital funds to best maintain operations in both the short and long term. A panel with expertise at the rural, small-urban and state DOT levels will come to grips with the reality of funding during a pandemic, and most importantly after the pandemic and into whatever new normal emerges.

Day 2, Wednesday, June 10

Returning back to work means having policies and regulations to ensure that your staff understands the expectation and requirements that have been established for a new and different work environment. Focusing on essential factors that incorporate policies and procedures addressing the return to work COVID-19 impact will mean defining how to operate with clarity, establishing policies uniformly and consistently, clearly defining expectations.

As transportation providers move toward rebuilding ridership, it will be important to address two issues: 1) quantify the impact of COVID-19 on transit usage, and 2) positively and effectively communicate steps transportation agencies are taking, including interaction with local health authorities, to ensure the safety of their services for riders. This session featured promising practices from transportation providers, including effective interaction with the business community.

  • SUN: This breakout session afforded an opportunity for small-urban transit providers to ask questions of their peers and CTAA staff, discuss the content of the mini-conference, and consider their future operational restart. Recording is not availaible
  • NEMT Sponsored by VMI: This breakout session offered an opportunity for NEMT transit providers to ask questions of their peers and CTAA staff, discuss the content of the mini-conference, and consider their future operational restart.
  • Specialized: This breakout session offers an opportunity for specialized transit providers to ask questions of their peers and CTAA staff, discuss the content of the mini-conference, and consider their future operational restart.

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and its members believe that mobility is a basic human right. From work and education to life-sustaining health care and human services programs to shopping and visiting with family and friends, mobility directly impacts quality of life.

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