Center Update
Introducing the Transportation Learning Network – Beta Testers Needed!
Earlier this year, you helped us pick a name for our new Learning Management System. Thank you!

Now, we are nearing completion of the Transportation Learning Network and are looking for beta testers! Our beta testers will be the first people to really dive into the LMS. While giving feedback on the user experience and helping us find any glitches, they will ultimately help shape the final product.
We are looking to have a launch meeting of the beta tester team later this month. Time commitment can be as little as 5 hours to hundreds if you really feel compelled to dig in.

If you are interested in joining the team of beta testers, contact Julie Deibel-Pundt
Upcoming Webinars
Next City – August 25, 1:00 pm ET
Join Next City for our webinar with Nashville State Community College President Shanna Jackson, and Jessica Gibson of Tennessee Higher Education Commission as they discuss TN Reconnect and how the program is assisting adult learners across the state. In this webinar, you will learn about the work it took to get TN Reconnect off the ground, how it affected adult learners at Nashville State Community College, and how the program is navigating the effects of the pandemic.
The American Prospect - August 31, 4:00 pm ET
For nearly two decades, worker centers have been at the forefront of rethinking strategies for addressing economic injustice and building worker power. These labor movement organizations have been engines of experimentation in the realms of worker organizing, narrative change, policy development, and labor-standards enforcement. There is much to glean, and celebrate, from their remarkable body of work.
Public Transportation
Government Technology – August 13, 2021
Major events like the COVID-19 pandemic and now the possible passage of a federal infrastructure package with significant funding for public transit, could breathe a fresh wave of innovation into what has traditionally been a mostly static — albeit essential — public service.
Mass Transit – August 17, 2021
Microtransit has proven to be a mobility lifeline. Amid the many shutdowns we have all experienced, on-demand transit has pivoted to serve specific community needs, such as food delivery to our most vulnerable community members and transporting hospital and other frontline workers to their jobs, even in the overnight hours. In fact, APTA’s data shows that dynamic, on-demand public transit has proven to be a mobility lifeline for those in low-income areas during this crisis.
Ms. – August 17, 2021
This report includes an analysis of the intersection of gender, climate and transport, provides recommendations for policymakers and offers case studies of lessons learned from feminist and grassroots climate and transportation groups driving forward solutions. Gender considerations in transportation planning such as addressing gender-based harassment and violence on public transit, the need to make structural changes to account for care workers’ differing transit schedules (who are disproportionately women) and gendered differences in car ownership are just some of the topics covered in the gender analysis. 
COVID's Impact on Transit
The Washington Post - August 14, 2021
The bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan — which includes a record $107 billion federal investment in transit projects — would put public transit officials in the position of bracing for possible job and service cuts because of revenue losses while also providing an opportunity to modernize their systems. The plan that recently passed the Senate calls for funding upgrades, giving agencies in the Washington region and nationwide a reason to dust off their wish lists.
Governing – August 12, 2021
If urban leaders are willing to move forward with policies that have a real chance of luring riders back to transit, the new infrastructure spending package could transform American cities and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. If not, the legacy of the Biden infrastructure bill will be measured in empty seats — a wasted opportunity that’s not likely to come again in our lifetimes.
Transit System/Partners
Inside Climate News - August 13, 2021
SEPTA has unveiled yet another high-profile makeover of its bus system, designed to improve service, restore post-pandemic ridership and help reduce Philadelphia’s greenhouse gas emissions without new technology. Calling the plan “SEPTA Forward: Bus Revolution,” the agency has begun redesigning more than 120 routes so that buses become a more dependable form of transportation, taking people from where they live to many new places where they work in a metropolitan area noted for its “job sprawl.” The authority’s fleet of 1,400 buses serves Philadelphia and four suburban counties with a combined population of 4.1 million.
Greater Greater Washington - August 16, 2021
After decades of lane widening have only worsened congestion due to induced demand, Governor Ralph Northam’s administration has doubled down on increased train service as a faster, cheaper, and greener way to reduce traffic. However, with ridership down 90% on the state’s flagship commuter rail system — the Virginia Railway Express — due to the ongoing pandemic and resultant shift to teleworking, some regional leaders are questioning whether the future of VRE should continue to center the 9 to 5 commute. With higher frequencies, faster service, and smarter land use around stations, could VRE grow its ridership beyond the commuting class and serve as something of a second Metro?
Metro Magazine - August 12, 2021
Transit’s ridership dip during the pandemic didn’t stop all agencies from forging ahead. In this episode of Roads, Rails, & Reels, NJ Transit President/CEO Kevin S. Corbett discusses:
  • How the pandemic impacted the agency.
  • How it moved forward through its “While You Were Away Campaign,” which focused on capital projects to update and improve services.
  • Corbett also talks about the agency’s programs to bring ridership back and much more.
Workforce Development
Comstock’s Magazine – August 9, 2021
Many experts see apprenticeships as the best way to match people looking for jobs with those that are in demand. A U.S. Department of Commerce study in 2016 assessed the rate of return on 13 apprenticeships in a variety of occupations. A program that trained medical assistants in a New England hospital system had a 40 percent return on every dollar invested. Another for machinists run by Siemens USA earned 50 percent. 
Labor News
The American Prospect – August 13, 2021
Worker rights are as important in a democracy as voting rights. In all of the complex jockeying about the details of budget reconciliation and Senate rules, it remains to be seen where restoration of worker rights ends up, in the hierarchy of goals of the Democratic leadership. This is further complicated because business Democrats support voting rights. They are hostile to labor rights.
Economic Issues
Quartz – August 17, 2021
In the US, the free fare movement remains nascent. Many places already offer free routes, such as an airport shuttle or circulator bus to business districts. But few have applied the principle system-wide. Now places like Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Missoula, Montana, and Olympia, Washington are making their entire bus networks fare-free. Others, including Detroit, temporarily eliminated bus fares last spring in the depths of the pandemic, when most people using public transit were essential workers. For places like Kansas City, where fares didn’t make up a large part of a transit budget, eliminating them entirely made sense as revenues plunged even further.
Bloomberg – August 11, 2021
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, with $550 billion in new spending. Along with the usual investments in roads and bridges, the bill calls for upgrading electric power grids, expanding rail and public transit, improving broadband networks, replacing lead pipes and boosting traffic safety. It also provides funding for the construction and improvement of decentralized wastewater systems, to help low-income households in mostly rural areas.
Green News
City Commentary – August 10, 2021
If we had started the transition to clean, electric vehicles 20 years ago, it would be slightly more accurate to say we can continue our current, sprawling housing and transportation patterns and rely on fleet electrification. But the car industry has spent those 20 years pivoting to SUVs and pickup trucks as their primary product. What this means: Urban land use reform, affordable housingreliable transit, and safe streets are now top-priority, must-have interventions for climate change. We have to end the era of car-powered suburban sprawl, and make it legal — and less expensive — to build housing in our urban cores, or in the central business districts of suburban areas, near jobs, transit, and services. 
AP - August 13, 2021
Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as one way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of the planet’s 1.2 billion vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel. Manufacturers of large trucks and commercial vehicles are beginning to embrace hydrogen fuel cell technologies as a way forward. So are makers of planes, trains and passenger vehicles.
The Washington Post – August 17, 2021
There are challenges to replacing older, dirtier buses with those that don’t have emissions, including the higher cost of electric buses, their limited range, the infrastructure and logistics needed for charging, and the ways operators drive. But transportation officials say those problems demonstrate the types of challenges the Low or No Emissions program was intended to help communities work through. There were about 1,000 electric buses in use nationwide by the end of last year, with another 1,700 zero-emission buses on order, according to an inventory by transportation group Calstart. There are more than 13,000 natural gas buses on U.S. roads, according to a Natural Gas Vehicles for America analysis of federal data that includes smaller buses.
Smart Cities Dive – August 13, 2021
While most of the global policy effort to date has focused on a shift from gas to electric cars, the inconvenient truth is that electrifying cars alone will not solve carbon pollution coming from transportation. This is because cars consume so much energy due to being enormously heavy — the average car weighs over 4,000 pounds. The bulk of the energy used to move these two-ton tanks — frankly, an overkill in machinery when carrying, for example, a 200-pound human — comes from nonrenewable sources. Not to mention the fact that electric cars often require environmentally damaging mining of rare earth minerals for batteries and carbon-intensive manufacturing to produce.
International Transportation Learning Center