Center Update
The Transportation Learning Center joined with 44 other leading labor-management and union programs in declaring a commitment "to participate in the national engagement campaign organized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Administration to expand opportunities for adults to assess and strengthen their foundation skills."  That commitment, set out in a letter to Assistant Secretary of Education Johan Uvin, responded to what the signers called "troubling findings" in the OECD's Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies Fall 2013 Survey of Adult Skills.  According to the survey, approximately 36 million adults ages 16 to 65 in the United States have low skills in basic numeracy, reading and problem-solving; over a third of this population is looking for work, and many who already have work are in low-wage jobs that provide neither job security nor other benefits that make a job a "good job."
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Center Deputy Director Jack Clark participated in the July 14 White House Summit on American Apprenticeships. The Summit was organized by the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Labor in response to the "President's ambitious goal to double the number of apprenticeships in the next five years and expand apprenticeships into new fields and high-growth industries.", as stated in the invitation.
The agenda featured a discussion of:
*    Critical investments that can scale existing models or spur needed
      innovations in American apprenticeships
*    Avenues to expand apprenticeship in high-growth industries and
     emerging occupations, such as IT, healthcare, and advanced
*    Strategies that states and regions can use to lay the groundwork for
     an expansion of apprenticeship in their region and to reach a wider
     range of workers.
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Public Transportation
The New York Times - July 15, 2014
The House on Tuesday easily approved a short-term fix to the nearly depleted federal highway trust fund, as the prospects of hundreds of thousands of job losses and stalled road construction in August overwhelmed the protests of conservative groups that opposed the bill.  The 367-to-55 vote was more grudging than it appeared. Democrats, led by President Obama, denounced Congress's failure to pass a multiyear transportation bill that likely would have needed tax increases to fund the nation's infrastructure needs. Conservatives - and some liberal Democrats - called the funding mechanisms for the $11 billion House bill gimmicks that masked the true cost.
Mother Board - July 14, 2014
If you're like millions of other people, you hear the announcements of faceless train conductors every day. You may find yourself associating a particular place or intersection with the announcement on your route. We've seen the woman behind the voice of Apple's Siri and the voice behind AOL's iconic "You've Got Mail." But what about the voices of those who accompany riders on some of America's largest public transit and rail systems?  
International Transportation News
The Guardian - July 10, 2014
The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point "mobility on demand" system by 2025 - one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.    
SmartRail World - July 14, 2014
Today SmartRail World showcases 11 amazing photographs from the Crossrail project in London. The 118-kilometre (73-mile) railway line is one of Europe's largest railway and infrastructure construction projects and is due to begin full operation in 2018, serving London and its environs by providing a new east-west route across the city.      
Transit System/Partners
Progressive Railroading - July 2014
Don Orseno joined Metra as a trainmaster in 1984, the year Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority created the agency to provide commuter-rail service in a six-county region in northeastern Illinois. Over the past three decades, Orseno has remained with the agency in good times and in bad.  He's seen tracks rebuilt, new locomotives and rail cars purchased, service added, stations constructed and track speeds increased.
Post Star - July 9, 2014
New Jersey Transit has approved a budget that includes no fare hikes for the fifth consecutive year. The agency's board of directors unanimously approved the spending plan during Wednesday's monthly meeting in Newark.  The $2 billion operating budget contains no fare hikes. Fares last rose by up to 25 percent on NJ Transit rail and bus lines in 2010.  Passenger revenues are projected to rise by about one percent in the current fiscal year, which began July 1.     
The Recorder - July 9, 2014
As a special 100-person railroad crew labors long hours this month to install new tracks for Amtrak's high-speed passenger rail service, a regional planner said Wednesday he is more confident than ever that the long-anticipated service will begin Dec. 29 as planned.  
Information Week - July 10, 2014
Data variety, data complexity, and sheer data volume have all come together in a data-driven transit optimization project underway in San Diego. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is suffering from a classic case of information overload.  
The Transit Wire - July 11, 2014
The Chicago Transit Authority (IL) is getting closer to upgrading wireless communications in its subways and underground facilities. The agency has tentatively awarded a $27 million contract to Aldridge Electric to install a 4G wireless network, pending board approval on July 16.
Darien News - July 9, 2014
On a Connecticut summer evening 45 years ago, Edward May was operating a northbound commuter train in Darien when the lights of another train suddenly appeared on the tracks, 600 feet away and closing fast.  It was Penn Central commuter train N-48. Its engineer, running late, disregarded a message to yield to May's train.  
Digital Journal - July 14, 2014
New York may follow Chicago's lead by placing security cameras in all city subway cars. Although there are currently more than 4,000 surveillance cameras installed in the subway system, none have been placed in subway cars. Currently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying the pros and cons of the potential installation.  
Daily News - July 15, 2014
If you see a SEPTA Transit Police officer in the next few days, be sure to smile - you may be on camera.  This week, the force is beginning a trial run of body-mounted cameras on its officers, an initiative officials have had their eyes on for months.  "It improves public trust," SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel said. "If people know police have cameras on uniform, they have more faith that officers are acting properly."
Building Transportation Infrastructure
Greater Greater Washington - July 2, 2014
The first bus rapid transit line in the DC region will officially begin serviceon August 24.  The "Metroway" route will run from Crystal City to Braddock Road, partly in mixed traffic and partly in a dedicated transitway. A later phase to open in 2015 will extend the route to Pentagon City, and shift more of it into dedicated lanes.
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