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2019 APTA Rail Highlights

It’s hard to believe, but we’re officially half way through 2019. APTA Rail just concluded in Toronto, and what a great show it was!

Nearly 2,000 transit professionals convened in Toronto, Canada for more than four days the last week of June, and agencies from all over the United States were well represented. With all of these great minds spending time together, networking, telling stories and sharing experiences—there are truly some great takeaways.

A few highlights from APTA Rail include:

  • The concept that transit must accompany urban growth. Rick Leary, CEO of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), mentioned how his organization is playing a big game of catch up. For years, TTC wasn’t keeping pace with the city it moves. TTC just wasn’t growing fast enough, it wasn’t growing with the population boom in Toronto. A prime example of that is Toronto just opened its first new subway station in 20 years. TTC now has so many expansion projects in the works that it’ll make your head spin—between buses, streetcars and commuter rail, TTC is working hard to pull their weight.
  • Paul Skoutelas, the President of APTA talked about the importance of state of good repair. Working with aging systems and infrastructure poses several risks and challenges. And without solid infrastructure, we simply cannot do our jobs. In transportation, we hear a lot about expansion and commuter ridership growing, but we cannot grow our transit systems until our infrastructure is a solid base to build on. Skoutelas also mentioned that the government is recognizing these needs, and we’ve seen that demonstrated through a record level of funding in the last two fiscal rounds.
  • Keynote speaker Jennifer Granholm, former two-term governor of Michigan and CNN senior political commentator talked a lot about where the public transportation industry is headed in the future. Specifically, Granholm said “a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish.” Her presentation cascaded from that point covering everything from autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and integrating with TNCs. One other big piece of advice she left the audience with was that the transportation industry needs to be like other industries when it comes to elections. She underscored the importance of electing people who will fund transit. She said to look for champions on both sides—democrats and republicans—ensuring our future through working with politicians that are passionate and see the importance in what we do. Through our right to vote, we can ensure our future as an industry.

Last but not least, Genfare would like to congratulate all of the winners from APTA’s Rail Rodeo:

Rail Transit Team Achievement
First place: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Oakland, CA
Second place: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Third place: Regional Transportation District (RTD), Denver
Operators Competition
First place: Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City
Second place: BART
Third place: Maryland DOT-Maryland Transit Administration, Baltimore
Maintainers Competition
First place: BART
Second place: Los Angeles Metro
Third place: Denver RTD

Winners of the 2019 Rail Safety and Security Excellence Awards are:

GOLD Awards for Safety
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO)

Miami-Dade Transit
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
MTA Long Island Rail Road

GOLD Awards for Security
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Sound Transit, Seattle

These agencies received certificates of merit:
Certificate of Merit for Safety: Transdev-Regional Transit Authority, New Orleans
Certificate of Merit for Safety: Virgin Trains USA, Miami, FL
Certificate of Merit for Security: Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Buffalo, NY

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