Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

SURTC Releases Spring 2010 Newsletter

The Spring 2010 SURTC Newsletter is now available on the SURTC website. The newsletter features articles on SURTC's advisory board meeting and the national summit on workforce development hosted by SURTC, as well as completed and ongoing research, training, and education activities. The current and previous issues can be downloaded from the SURTC website.

Dr. Hough to Present Seminar on Ethics in Transportation

Often we are faced with ethical decisions at work and in our personal lives. SURTC Director Jill Hough will present a seminar discussing ethics and how it applies to the field of transportation. Further, in this seminar, some fundamental approaches to consider when identifying and making ethical decisions will be presented.

The presentation, part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute’s Transportation Seminar Series, will be held Thursday, April 29th, at 1 pm in IACC 422.

Ripplinger Discusses Demographics, Transit, and Livability at DTA Coordination Summit

David Ripplinger, associate research fellow at the Small Urban and Rural Center, presented population projections and discussed their impacts on transit in the Dakota's as part of the Dakota Transit Association's 2nd Annual Transportation Coordination Summit. The presentation, Changing Demographics: Implications for Transit, also discussed the relationship between transit, livability, and demographics as motivated by data from the American Housing Survey.

SURTC to Participate in Transportation Coordination Summit

David Ripplinger, associate research fellow at the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, will be speaking on the relationship between demographics and transit at the Dakota Transit Association's 2nd Annual Transportation Coordination Summit on April 21st.  The presentation will cover recent demographic changes in North and South Dakota, the dynamics of population change and its impact on transit, as well as transit's impact on livability.

Rural Transit Technology Course to be Held in Alaska and Virginia

The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center in partnership with the National Transit Institute is presenting the course Implementing Rural Transit Technology May 10-11 in Anchorage, AK, and June 9-10 in Charlottesville, VA.

The course presents a structured approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating rural transit projects to help ensure that agency needs and expectations are met.

FTA Announces Funding for Sustainability Projects

The Federal Transit administration (FTA) announced the availability of funds for a new round of the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program and the Clean Fuels Grant program, augmented with Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities program funds.

Applications should address the policy priorities of the FTA's sustainability program: breaking dependence on oil, producing more energy at home, and promoting energy efficiency.

According to the announcement in the Federal Register, there are two eligible purposes for TIGGER grants: (1) For capital investments that will assist in reducing the energy consumption of a transit system; or (2) for capital investments that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of a public transportation system. Only public transportation agencies or state DOTs may apply for TIGGER grants. A total of $75 million is available for these grants.

The purpose of the Clean Fuels Grant program is to assist nonattainment and maintenance areas in achieving or maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and CO and to support emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

Complete proposals for Clean Fuels/Bus and Bus Facilities discretionary grants must be submitted by June 14, 2010. TIGGER program proposals must be submitted by August 11, 2010.

More information can be found from the FTA website and the April 13 edition of the Federal Register.

Transit Roundup

  • APTA yesterday released a report on the impact of the recession on public transportation agencies. The report details the findings from a survey of transit providers regarding changes in revenue, budget shortfalls, changes in service levels and fares, and cuts in staff.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council recently released a report showing that rural states are hurt the most when gas prices increase. This relates to a more detailed SURTC study completed in 2008 that used county-level data to show how rural areas, and Indian Reservations in particular, are impacted more by higher gas costs.
  • The Transportation Department announced this week a proposal to ban text messaging at the wheel by interstate truck and bus drivers. The proposal would make permanent an interim ban announced in January.
  • Sioux City Transit is encouraging citizens to send in their census, saying it will have a big impact on their budget.

SURTC Updates Events Calendar

The updated Events Calendar provides a listing of national and regional conferences of interest to people in the public transportation industry for the upcoming year.

Senate Passes Jobs Bill, Extends Transportation Authorization Law

The U.S. Senate today passed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE), a $17.6 billion bill that includes tax incentives aimed at encouraging businesses to hire new workers. It also keeps federal highway and transit programs operating through 2010 by extending the current transportation authorization law (SAFETEA-LU) until the end of the calendar year, and it provides $19.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent through the end of the year. AASHTO provides a summary of the transportation provisions in the bill here.

Ride or Relocate

The American population continues to mature with an impending ‘aging tsunami’ just a few years away.  Public transportation provides freedom to much of the aging population who would otherwise be forced to give up their lifestyles.

The objective of this research was to quantify the cost of living at home and riding transit in North Dakota versus relocating to an assisted living facility. Special attention was paid to three different living situations including homeowners with and without mortgages as well as apartment dwellers.

Overall, simulation results indicated that the cost of assisted living was almost always higher than the other three alternatives. Homeowners without mortgages had the lowest costs followed by apartment dwellers and homeowners with mortgages. Finally, every senior’s situation is unique and other factors such as amenities and safety may be more important than cost in considering quality of life and peace of mind for them and their families.

View the full report