Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts categorized under "Training"

FTA 101 – Online Course

FTA 101 is a new online course designed to educate public transportation staff about federal programs, grant management, and the functions of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).  SURTC developed the course for AASHTO's Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP). FTA 101 is free, and it provides an easy-to-follow curriculum that serves to inform or refresh new or seasoned staff on the role of the FTA in public transit. The course takes less than two hours to complete and can be paused between chapters.


SURTC staff will be participating in this year's Community Transportation EXPO, being held June 8-13 in St. Paul, MN. Jill Hough, SURTC director, will be presenting "Ethics in Decision Making," and SURTC researcher Del Peterson will be presenting results from a recent study on veterans transportation. Details about their presentations are below:

Speaker: Jill Hough
Presentation title: Ethics in Decision Making
Session: Professional Development Leadership Sessions
Date and time: Wed. June 11, 3:15 pm
Location: RiverCentre, Meeting Room 2

Speaker: Del Peterson
Presentation title: Improving Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas
Session: Veterans Mobility: How VTCLI Has Helped Us Serve our Veterans
Date and time: Wed. June 11, 3:15 pm
Location: RiverCentre, Meeting Room 12

SURTC will also have a booth at the EXPO. Stop by our booth and visit with Rob Lynch, SURTC's training coordinator, and other SURTC staff. Summaries of recent research projects and other SURTC material will be available.

Upcoming Transit ITS Workshop on Data Management

SURTC director Dr. Jill Hough will be facilitating an upcoming Transit ITS Workshop focusing on data management. This workshop is being conducted by the National Transit Institute and will be held July 9-10 in Newark, NJ. The goal of the workshop is to discuss and discover best practices in data management for transit ridership and for open source data, for internal agency consumption and external partner usage.

The workshop will convene three expert panels that will examine "Management of Ridership Data" and "Management of Open Source Data" and will conclude with a roundtable discussion on "Data Management Best Practices." The keynote speaker will be John Inglish, former general manager of the Utah Transit Authority. Additionally, two tour options will provide attendees with access to a special tour of NJ Transit's Newark-Penn Station and the Newark Light Rail Line and Maintenance Facility.

For more details and to register, click on the following link: Transit ITS Workshop – Data Management

Rob Lynch Joins SURTC as Training Coordinator

Rob Lynch joined the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC) in January, 2014, as its new training coordinator. Most recently, Rob held the position of transportation manager for North Dakota State University (NDSU), where he managed transit, parking, bicycle, and pedestrian functions for a growing campus community of over 16,000. Rob is a member of the Metro Area Transit Coordinating Board for Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN, and serves on many local transportation and corridor study groups. Prior to this, he managed two non-profit organizations and worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. During this period, he developed and conducted specialized management and team training for two national restaurant chains. Rob was elected to the Fargo City Commission in 2000 and served as chairman of the city’s Parking Commission, Transportation Technical Committee and the Fargo/Cass Board of Health. Rob is a graduate of NDSU earning a B.U.S. in emergency management and industrial engineering. He can be reached at

Participation at Louisiana Public Transit Conference

Keven Anderson, coordinator of training and outreach, and researcher Jeremy Mattson are participating in the 2013 Louisiana Public Transit Conference in New Orleans, LA, Nov. 20-22.

Anderson is conducting a session on succession planning and mentoring. Many of the transit managers currently in the industry are at or near retirement age, and most systems have no plans for future managers. In his presentation, Anderson will discuss how to run your transit system as a business and how to grow your current employees through mentor programs to take on more responsibility and continue to grow.

Mattson is giving a presentation on the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by small urban and rural transit systems. His presentation will be based on a previous study he conducted which involved a survey of small urban and rural transit operators. This research examined the use of alternative fuels and hybrids by these agencies, satisfaction with these alternatives, problems encountered, reasons for adoption, and deterrents, both perceived and real. Click here to access the report.

SURTC is part of New Rural and Small Urban Livability Center

The Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC) will be a partner in a new Small Urban and Rural Livability Center being established with a two-year $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The grant was awarded as part of the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program.

The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University will lead the effort to conduct research, education, and outreach activities on issues such as expanding public transportation options; creating safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians; improving access to key regional transportation hubs and destinations; and integrating all available modes of transportation. SURTC brings to the effort expertise in transit, mobility’s impact on access to vital services in rural communities and other rural livability factors. The center will receive $1.1 million over two years for its involvement in the project.

SURTC was created in 2001 to assist small urban and rural transit systems and other transit entities by conducting research and offering outreach and training. In recognition of the role that mobility plays in the livability of rural communities, the center has increased its emphasis on this area of research.

“When people think about livable communities, one of their top priorities is being able to get where they need to go without always having to use their car,” said Steve Albert, director of the Western Transportation Institute. “Most of the livability initiatives up to now have focused on urban areas, so we are very excited and honored to take the lead on these issues for millions of Americans who live in small cities and rural areas.”

The U.S. DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration received more than 140 applications for UTC awards from universities and research consortiums across the country, and selected only 35 centers.   “Only two Centers were chosen to focus on livability issues, so we are very proud to represent interests and needs of rural residents,” said Western Transportation Institute program manager David Kack, who will serve as the center’s director.

“We look forward to our partnership with the Western Transportation Institute and continuing our work in regards to livability in rural and small urban areas,” said Jill Hough, SURTC director.  Hough will serve as the deputy director of the new center.

“Many rural areas are seeing a dramatic increase in the elderly population. Our research shows that elderly individuals prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible, and it’s cost effective for them to do so,” Hough notes. “At the same time, some rural communities are seeing rapid population growth and economic development.  Mobility plays a critical role in maintaining and enhancing the livability of communities in both cases,” she said.

“The grant funding and our collaboration with the Western Transportation Institute will help us address key issues related to livability in rural areas,” Hough said. “It’s likely our work will be useful in addressing those issues in urban and suburban areas as well.”

Employment Opportunity – Trainer/Training Coordinator

SURTC has an employment opportunity for a trainer/training coordinator. See the details in the link below.

Employment Opportunity: Trainer/Training Coordinator


SURTC Partnering with National Center on Senior Transportation

SURTC is working with the National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) to develop a plan for conducting technical assistance and training needs assessments.

NCST has been administered by Easter Seals, Inc. and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) since its inception, and these partners were once again selected in 2012 by the Federal Transit Administration to administer the center.

Easter Seals, Inc. and n4a identified the development of a plan for conducting technical assistance and training needs assessments as one of NCST’s milestones.

Ph.D. student Elvis Ndembe and Dr. Jill Hough began work on this project December 1, 2012.  Ndembe and Hough are looking at past successful technical assistance mechanisms NCST has utilized and will develop survey instruments, conduct focus groups, and evaluate other appropriate data sources to help with the new assessment. The assessment should be completed by May 2013.

Updated Training Information Posted

An updated list and description of training courses being offered by SURTC has been posted online. SURTC has been developing new training courses and broadening the types of training offered. Among the recently developed classes include "Environmental Justice and Public Participation" and "Safety, Security, and Emergency Management." Both of these classes will be available for booking in early 2013. "Capital Asset Management" is another new class that is now available. Visit the Training on Demand section of the SURTC website to view the list of training courses currently being offered.

SURTC develops and provides training for transit operators, transit associations, and state Departments of Transportation as needs are identified. If you would like to host a training session, please email

Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management Course to be Held in Rapid City – Register Now

Registration is open for the Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management course to be held April 10-12, 2012 at the Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, SD. The course will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $325 per participant, and the deadline for registration is April 5. Class size is limited to 35 participants.

Training is being held in conjunction with the 2012 Tribal/BIA Transportation Conference. Continuing Education Credits are being provided by United Tribes Technical College at no charge.

The instructors for the course are Carol Wright and Keven Anderson of SURTC. Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management is an intensive three-day course developed by SURTC that covers virtually all aspects of transit and paratransit management for operators of tribal transit programs across the country. This course is based on our popular Principles of Transit Management course which has been taught across the country over the past three years, but it has been specifically modified to address the unique perspective of tribal transit operations. Particular attention has been placed on tribal governance, financial management, human resource management and procurement, since many of these issues vary even among various tribal entities. This course is directed toward experienced managers and those who are relatively new to their positions, as well as front-line supervisors and those who are in a position to assist transit managers. It also provides extensive take-home resource materials.