GEOG 497C
GIS for Transportation: Principles, Data and Applications

10.2 Getting to Know a Transportation Organization

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This week, you’ll take some time to get to know the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The FTA is the administration within the USDOT which focuses on providing financial and technical support to public transportation agencies across the United States. The FTA was created in 1970 by President Lyndon Johnson, although, back then, it was known as the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA).

This short video (12:45) summarizes some of FTA’s accomplishments over the past 8 years and provides examples of how it has directed federal funds.

Click for transcript of FTA Accomplishments Video, 2009-2016. This will expand to provide more information.

ON SCREEN TEXT: Together a look back at the last 8 years. (Countdown begins:) 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. With growing congestion...[TRAFFIC NOISES] and aging infrastructure [CREAKING BRIDGE]...with an economy in freefall [IMAGES OF NEWSPAPER HEADLINERS ON FINANCIAL CRISIS]

January 20, 2009. "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." [IMAGES OF FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA'S INAUGURATION}

BARACK OBAMA: For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but it lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

ON SCREEN TEXT: Together we answered the call. To meet growing demand, to replace again infrastructure, to get our economy moving again, President Obama and Congress acted.

BARACK OBAMA: Building a world class transportation system is part of what made us an economic super power. There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There's a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. Public transit project in Houston that will help to clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.

ON SCREEN TEXT: The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Over the next four years USDOT awarded 1,072 ARRA grants totaling $8.8 billion, creating or saving 10,322 jobs. Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants: Also, in 2009, Congress passed legislation establishing the TIGER program. TIGER grants have provided $5.1 billion to 421 projects, helping build multi-modal, road, rail, transit, and port projects and rebuilding communities.

Dilworth Plaza, Philadelphia, PA. A $15 million TIGER grant transformed a deteriorated plaza at City Hall and helped create a new, accessible gateway for local and regional transit.

Kansas City, MO Streetcar. A $20 million TIGER grant helped generate $1 billion investment in KC's downtown. Kansas City Streetcar opening, May 2016.

East Liberty Transit Center, a $15 million TIGER grant renovated an aging bus station and consolidated unsafe loading points along Pittsburgh streets. East Liberty Transit Center, Pittsburgh, PA, October 2015.

Denver Union Station, a $388 million TIGER grant helped renovate a station that anchors a bustling downtown and spun off new development. Denver Union Station Renovation March 2014.

LYNX Lymmo BRT, a $13 million TIGER grant enabled this new line, which connect to other transit modes and revitalizes Orlando's urban core. LYNX Lymmo BRT Groundbreaking, Orlando May 2015.

In 2010, transit ridership reached 10 billion, its highest level since the 1950s.

Capital Investment Grants: new starts, small starts, core capacity. Since 2008, FTA has funded 37 Capital Investment Grant projects totaling $12.6 billion. Since 2008, CIG projects have resulted in 296 miles of rail & 158 miles of Bus Rapid Transit.

Other FTA grant programs. Since 2010, FTA has awarded close to $3 billion to 601 competitively funded bus projects. That funding led to the purchase of more than 53,000 buses since 2009. FTA has also funded the purchase of over 27,000 other transit vehicles, such as paratransit vans: GO Transit- Durham, NC, Capital Metro - Austin, TX, Niagara Frontier - Buffalo, NY, KCATA - Kansas City, MO, CATS - Charlotte, NC, Free Ride Transit - Breckenridge, CO.

Since 2009, FTA has awarded close to $286 million for tribal transit: Los Alamos, NM, Muscogee Creek Nation, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Since 2013, FTA has funded 44 Passenger Ferry grants totaling $119 million: Channel Cat - Quad Cities, Iowa, Staten Island Ferry, NYC DOT, Kind County Ferry - Sound Transit. But America requirements have contributed to a strong U.S. manufacturing sector and supported American jobs. Together we helped rebuild our economy, meet growing demand for transit, and begin to fix our aging infrastructure. Together we faced emerging challenges. Together we're making the transit, the safest form of transportation, safer. MAP-21 and the FAST Act gave FTA new and enhanced authority to help keep public transit safe and reliable. Since 2012, with your input, FTA has issued: 3 final safety rules, 3 proposed safety rules, 7 safety advisories, and is working to strengthen state safety oversight.

Natural Disasters and Climate Change. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. Since 2013, FTA has awarded $10.2 billion in grants focused on Sandy recovery and resiliency. Extreme weather events highlight the dangers of climate change. Together, FTA and our transit partners are developing strategies to prepare for and adapt to climate change.

The transportation industry as a whole is a major contributor of carbon pollution, but public transportation can help. FTA's Low and No-Emission Program aims to improve air quality and reduce climate change through new bus technology. Since 2012, FTA has funded 37 Low - and No-Emission Grants totaling $132.5 million.

Declining Infrastructure. In 2013, the transit industry's deferred maintenance and replacement needs was estimated at $86 billion and it keeps growing. Transit Asset Management Final Rule July 2016. TAM provides a strategic approach to improve & maintain transit capital assets and requires providers to create plans to address their maintenance needs.

"When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther and farther apart, it undermines the very essence of America" - President Obama

"Transportation is about more than getting from on point to another, it's about getting from where you are to a better life." - Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

As part of DOT's Ladders of Opportunity bus program, DOT awarded $26 million to Detroit. The city bought 50 buses easing overcrowding, reducing wait times, and providing more reliable service, particularly in lower income areas. Together we've built ladders of opportunity.

Since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, transit has become more accessible. Thanks to transit providers, 99.8% of buses are accessible. All rail stations built since 1990 are accessible. In addition, 671 of 680 key stations in our nation's oldest rail systems are accessible.

Since 2012, FTA has issued three civil rights Circulars helping the industry provide more equitable service.

Since 2013, FTA has funded 21 Transit-Oriented Development Grants totaling $19 million. Together, we're using well-planned TOD to create more desirable places to live, work, and visit.

FTA's Rides to Wellness initiative improves access and reduces healthcare costs through partnerships between health care and transit industries. New in 2016, Rides to Wellness Grants awarded $7.3 million to 19 projects.

Together we've helped communities across the country:

  • Twin Cities Central Corridor Light Rail; $474 million CIG funding.
  • Pocatello Regional Transit Center; Bannock Country, Idaho; $1.4 million Bus Grant
  • Metrolink Commuter Rail, Perris Valley, CA; $75 million CIG funding
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit's 24-mile Green Line Light Rail; $700 million CIG funding
  • Austin Metro Rapid BRT; $38 million CIG funding
  • SunRail Commuter Rail, Central Florida; $93.4 million CIG funding
  • Utah TRAX Light Rail, Salt Lake City; $460 million CIG/ARRA funding
  • LA Metro Rail System, $4.1 million CIG funding
  • CT FasTrak, Hartford, Connecticut; $275 million CIG funding
  • VelociRFTA BRT, Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado; $25 million CIG funding
  • TriMet Orange Line light rail extension/Tilikum Crossing, Portland, Oregon; $745 million CIG funding

Together, we are embracing the future. The FAST Act was the first long-term infrastructure funding bill since 2005. While it provides certainty for transit systems, we still need a stable funding source for the future. Technological innovation is bringing us the chance to solve old problems in new ways. FTA's Mobility on Demand program will provide $8 million for innovative integrated multimodal solutions.

At FTA, we're proud of all that we've accomplished....Together:

  • State Safety Workshop, July 2016
  • Birmingham, AL TIGER announcement September 2015
  • ADA Event, Washington, DC August 2015
  • Metrolink Commuter Rail Extension, December 2016
  • Denver Light Rail to DIA Opening, April 2016
  • WMATA New Rail Car Announcement May 2015
  • SEPTA Wayne Junction Commuter Rail Opening, April 2015
  • Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative Grant Announcement, Albuquerque, NM
  • Cleveland Cedar-University Rapid Station Opening, August 2015
  • El Paso Northgate Transfer Center Opening, September 2013
  • Jacksonville, FL First Coast Flyer BRT Groundbreaking, November 2014
  • Bethesda, MD ADA Event August 2015

Assignment 10-3 (15 points)

Spend some time learning about the FTA by reviewing their website. Also, review the 2015 National Transit Summaries and Trends (NTST) Report. Prepare a submittal in M.S. Word format which addresses the following items and upload it to Assignment 10-3 in Canvas:

  1. Briefly describe the purpose of the National Transit Database (NTD). (2 points)
  2. Define the meaning of the terms “passenger mile” and “fare box recovery.” Compare the costs per passenger mile and fare box recovery for each with the different modes of public transportation. (4 points)
  3. Compare and contrast how operating and capital expenditures are funded. Where do the feds provide the highest percentage of funding and why? (2 points)
  4. What is the Rides to Wellness program and what are its main objectives? (2 points)
  5. Review and describe another initiative or activity in which the FTA is engaged. (5 points)