ITLC Update
ITLC and TWC Work Highlighted at APTA’s Mobility Conference
On May 1-4, 2022, ITLC’s Kenyon Corbett and David Stephen attended the APTA Mobility Conference in Columbus, OH. David Stephen was invited to present to APTA’s Workforce Development Committee about the technical assistance available to transit agencies through the Transit Workforce Center (TWC) and the front-line recruitment campaign being co-developed by the Federal Transit Administration and the TWC. Kenyon Corbett gave a similar presentation to the Bus Maintenance Technical Committee. He also covered new work by the TWC partnering with APTA to develop training standards for zero-emission buses.
The TWC staffed an information table throughout the 3-day conference where Kenyon and David answered questions from agencies about the mission of the TWC to help the industry recruit, retain, and train the transit workforce, and spread the word that the TWC is an FTA-supported industry resource.
Additionally, ITLC project partners, Brian Sherlock, Safety Specialist of ATU International, and Christy Campoll, Senior Associate of RLS & Associates, discussed work on the Bus of the Future project during a panel entitled, “Transit Worker Assaults, Bus Barriers and FTA’s Crime Prevention Initiative.” The Bus of the Future project is a near complete transit bus redesign initiative focusing on operator, rider, and pedestrian safety through an improved operator compartment designed to prevent assaults, eliminate or dramatically reduce operator blind spots, and improve their sightlines to address pedestrian safety. The project also addresses operator health and safety by improving bus suspension and the operator’s seat and by improving internal air-flow to minimize exposure to bacteria and viruses.
On the conference’s final day, Kenyon Corbett spoke at the “Managing and Guiding your Operations Teams to Success: The Essentials and New Technologies” panel. He presented the research being led by the Eno Center for Transportation on a Practitioner's Guide to Bus Operator Workforce Management. This TCRP project will address bus operator workforce management issues from pre-employment through retirement. Corbett shared several early key findings and some of the innovative practices employed by the various transit agencies featured as case studies.
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Public Transit
The Washington Post – May 6, 2022
Shelters are a priority for bus riders looking for somewhere to stay dry or to sit down after a long day at work. As record levels of federal transit funding begin to flow from last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure package, plans for thousands of new shelters present a test of whether Washington’s promises to focus on racial equity and the environment can quickly translate into benefits for transit users.
Governing – May 6, 2022
Weighing the potential against the pitfalls, I end up thinking that bus rapid transit is where urban public transportation is going, but the campaign to pay for it amounts to a major undertaking with potent political obstacles. There are people who simply don’t want to spend that much money, or who don’t want a higher tax for anything. There are those who say making the investment before the pandemic fully subsides is a questionable leap of faith. There are the commuters who simply don’t like buses, don’t believe rapid-transit buses will be much better, and prefer to hold out for light rail. And finally, not to be overlooked, there are the motorists who fear that losing a lane to a dedicated busway will add unwanted minutes to their car trips.
Smart Cities Dive – May 9, 2022
Transit agency leaders from Philadelphia, southern Nevada, and metro Vancouver, British Columbia, named funding, climate change, and vulnerable populations as major issues they’re contending with right now. Governance challenges, they said, come from having to answer to multiple overseers and addressing the needs and priorities of the multiple communities they serve.
Transit Partners
Planetizen – May 5, 2022
The highly anticipated Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project in San Francisco, which opened a month ago, is successfully cutting travel times and attracting 13 percent more riders, reports Ricardo Cano. “Northbound weekday trips on the BRT lanes are also saving riders 35% in travel times, according to the agency, meaning that it takes Muni buses about nine minutes fewer to travel on the corridor than it did before the BRT project.” 
The Colorado Sun – May 4, 2022
“We want to make sure we’re setting up all the agencies for success,” Winter said. “And so when we’re asking RTD to provide free transit, that’s not just about farebox replacement, that’s about hiring and recruiting drivers. It’s about cleanliness and safety and security. We need this to be a success. We need the experience to be great.”
The Washington Post – May 9, 2022
Metro ridership is outpacing transit agency projections, raising optimism after significant drops in fare revenue while putting pressure on the system to solve a train shortage and alleviate crowding. The number of passengers on the Metro rail and bus systems combined is 40 percent higher than agency expectations set more than a year ago, Metro officials said Monday. Ridership in recent weeks has doubled since March 2021, coming as many offices across the Washington area have reopened for work.
Next City – May 6, 2022
“It really is about, in the most bold vision, having a harmonious system where the rider doesn’t really notice what system they’re on. It’s a Bay Area system, and it’s clear how you connect from A to B,” says Rebecca Long, who directs legislative affairs for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s federal metropolitan planning organization.
Workforce Development
New America – April 26, 2022
The advantages of apprenticeship in green workforce development are twofold. First, apprenticeships are already well established in many greening skilled trades, like plumbing and electrical, allowing environment-focused employers to build on existing training standards. Second, because apprenticeships only exist where employers are willing to pay wages throughout training, they’re also necessarily aligned with employer demand. Apprenticeships help avert the risk of training for jobs that don’t exist, which has been recognized since the ARRA era. What’s more, when built around community benefit agreements, they can ensure that local community members, including historically marginalized groups, can take advantage of green work opportunities.
Green News
Clean Technica – May 4, 2022
We need better transit not only for the climate, but also because it enhances mobility for everyone in a country where driving is often the only option. Over 10 million US households in the United States do not have a car, whether that be due to high costs of ownership, maintenance, and insurance; inability to drive due to aging or disabilitycriminalization of poor drivers and inequitable traffic enforcement; or a range of other factors. Public transit can provide another way of getting around that is more accessible to all and reduces transportation emissions.
Upcoming Webinars
Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, June 2 - June 3
The conference will explore and amplify the intersection of a fresh wave of global worker activism and new social compacts. The gathering will build on and expand the discussion launched at Constructing a New Social Compact, a major virtual gathering in 2021.
Funding Opportunities
U.S. Department of Labor – May 11, 2022
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a funding opportunity of $3.4 million for up to nine grants to attract and keep women in Registered Apprenticeship Programs and industries where they are underrepresented such as manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity and healthcare. Administered by the Department’s Employment and Training Administration and Women’s Bureau, the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program supports community-based organizations in their efforts to recruit, train, and retain more women in Registered Apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations.
International Transportation Learning Center