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American Public Transportation Association


Last Update August 5, 2015

Saturday, August 8

8:30 a.m. –

9:30 p.m.

A Multimodal Tour of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex - Day 1

(40 person limit)

While en route to the APTA Operations Planning Workshop in Houston, maximize your training and travel dollars by joining us first for a Multimodal Tour (MMT) in Dallas and Fort Worth.  The MMT marks the traditional start of the annual workshop, offering the unique experience of seeing passenger transport in action from the passengers’ perspective.
The DFW Metroplex has become a vibrant multimodal tapestry of interconnected transit services encompassing commuter rail, commuter bus, light rail, and streetcars, all fully integrated around multimodal transit centers with an extensive network of local bus services. Our hosts include Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Trinity Railway Express, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Denton County Transportation Authority, McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, the BNSF Railway and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
On Saturday: we will start with presentations by DART and NCTCOG, on the state of regional transit and the status of local initiatives.  After that, we will have technical tours of  bus and light rail lines (electric and diesel) operated by DART, DCTA, and the T, visit the BNSF Lou Mink Network Control Center, and four intermodal transfer centers in Downtown Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth.  After dinner in Fort Worth, the group will return to Dallas via a TRE commuter train.
On Sunday: we’ll take a morning hop on DART light rail and the privately operated McKinney Avenue streetcar before making our way to Houston in the afternoon via plane or bus.
This Multimodal Tour is conducted by Virginia Railway Express’ Tom Hickey.  Participation in limited to 40 people and advance registration is required.  Participants should arrange travel to arrive in Dallas on Friday night and depart from Houston at the end of the workshop.  Contact Tom Hickey at THICKEY@VRE.ORG to reverse your place on the tour, for details regarding lodging in Dallas, transportation between Dallas and Houston, and any other questions.
Two-day tour continues on Sunday, August 9


Sunday, August 9

9:30 a.m. –

1:30 p.m.

A Multimodal Tour of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex - Day 2

Travel day from Dallas to Houston (On your own)

12 – 5 p.m. 


Monday, August 10

7 a.m. – 5 p.m.


7 – 8 a.m. 

Continental Breakfast

8 – 8:30 a.m.
Picasso 1&2

Welcome Session

Paul Bignardi, 1st Vice Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Principal Transportation Planner, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, CA

Thomas C. Lambert, Member APTA Board of Directors and CEO Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, Member APTA Board of Directors and CEO Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX
Gilbert A. Garcia, CFA, Chairman of the Board, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX

8:45 – 10:25 a.m.
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Host Session


8:45 – 9:15 AM           SYSTEM REMAINING PLAN                                                (30 MINUTES)


Houston METRO has embarked on an ambitious “System Reimagining” plan that is revamping and reorienting its bus network from a traditional downtown-focused radial system to a more dispersed grid of seven-day-a-week frequent routes.
This “New Bus Network” focuses heavily on connecting the dense neighborhoods and employment centers that have driven Houston’s explosion growth. It greatly reduces waiting times and improves travel times for the vast majority of METRO customers.
Christof Spieler, P.E., LEED AP, Houston Metro Board Member (Not Confirmed)
Kurt Luhrsen, VP Planning, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX
Jim Archer,  Director Service Planning, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County,
Houston, TX
9:15 – 9:45 AM           METRORAIL EXPANSION                                                    (30 MINUTES)
Roberto Trevino, Executive Vice President - Engineering And Capital Projects
Andrew Skabowski, Chief Operating Officer
Scott Grogan, Sr. Director, Metrorail Operations
METRO recently opened the remaining two lines of its current rail expansion program growing the initial 7-mile line to a 21-mile network.   Designing, building and operating this new system, through neighborhoods and the central business district required METRO to navigate through an array of issues.   Newer light rail systems grabble with older design practices centering around heavy fixed route rail.  This posed operational, safety and customer convenience issues when applied to an “at grade” light rail system that operates through neighborhoods and downtown areas.  Specifically issues discussed will include:
  • Shared vehicle lanes
  • Signalization issues of at grade systems
  • Utilization of newer signalization technologies
  • Adjacent construction
  • Community involvement
  • New vehicle integration                      
9:45 – 10 AM               METRO HOV/HOT LANES                                        (15 MINUTES)          
Tim Kelly, Evp, Operations, Public Safety and Customer Service, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX
Larry Wood, Director Budget - Operations Management, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX
As a means of maximizing the investment made in building and operating its HOV lanes METRO recently converted all of its lanes to operate as HOV/HOT lanes.  The goal was to reduce main lane congestion by allowing SOV’s, for a toll, to operate within the existing HOV lanes when excess capacity is present.   Discussion will center on the various operational issues that have arose inclusive of enforcement, maintenance of the right of way, business rule changes and back shop requirements.
10:40 – 11:55 a.m.
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Planning-Consultants Relationships

In modern transit planning consultants offer assistance to transit agencies large and small on a wide range of areas, including assistance with environmental review, service analysis, vehicle acquisition, public information and outreach, conceptual engineering for new projects, etc. Workshop participants will hear experiences of successful public agency –consultant relationships, and the elements that made it successful.
T. R. Hickey, Chief Development Officer, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Alexandria, VA
It's a Symbiotic Relationship
Brittany Lavender, Transportation Planner I, HDR, Atlanta, GA
Tameka Wimberly Jones, Transit System Regional Planner, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA
DART's Comprehensive Operational Analysis
Steve Patrinick, Manager of Service Planning, Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Dallas, TX
Timothy Eugene Crobons, Vice President, Connetics Transportation Group, Inc.,
Lake Mary, FL

11:55 a.m. – 1:25 p.m.


1:25  - 3:05 p.m.
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Operations Scheduling

Service scheduling is a fundamental skill of operation planning, often facilitated by computer tools. Transit agencies employ a variety of techniques for setting running time, ranging from statistical methods to detailed review at the trip or segment level. Each approach has impacts on service efficiency, on-time performance, operator satisfaction and planning/scheduling staff effectiveness. This session will discuss both the basics of teaching and learning operations scheduling, as well as innovative and advanced concepts in the field. 

Jon Y. Nouchi, Deputy Director, Planning and Environmental, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, Honolulu, HI

Scheduling the Remaining
Imad Haj-Ismail  Manager of Scheduling, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX

Multi-Faceted Approach to Scheduling
Carl Weckenman, Senior Manager, System Development, Manager, System Development, Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Jacksonville, FL

Thomas E. Stringer, Jr., Senior Manager, Service Delivery/Fixed Route, Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Jacksonville, FL

Running time as a Function of a Successful Schedule
Jonathan Terrell, Schedule Analyst III, Metropolitan Atlanta Area Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA

Tri-Met Scheduling Reliability Improvement Process
Ken Zatarain, Director, Service Delivery, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, Portland, OR

3:20 – 4:05 p.m.
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Rapid Fire

Rapid fire-style presentations are sweeping the nation. You may have seen variations of this concept at other conferences and events. It’s a great way to learn a little about a lot of different transit topics in a short period of time. Participants have just three minutes to share nine slides, so the idea is to keep is brief and snappy. This session is open to any conference attendee but there are a limited number of presentation slots available, so let us know if you are interested in participating and we can share more details. Any transit-related topic is welcome!

Cyndi Harper, 2nd Vice Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Manager of Route Planning, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN

4:20 – 5:20 p.m 
Picasso 1&2

Committee Meeting

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Picasso 3

Welcome Reception

Tuesday, August 11

7 a.m.  – 5 p.m.


7 – 8 a.m.
Pre-Function ( (Picasso 1&2) 

Continental Breakfast / Transit Jeopardy

8:15 – 9:55 a.m.
Picasso 1& 2

Intermodal Facilities

Transit passenger and maintenance must operate well as well as look good, designed around the circulatory needs of transit vehicles and pedestrians.  Planning for facilities is as much a part of transit as getting operational service on the street. This session will explore projects across the US and the challenges associated with getting them funded, constructed, and open.
Jim Moore, Immediate Past Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Service Planner, Sound Transit Seattle, WA
New Approach to Facility Planning & Development
Arturo Herrera, BRT Project Manager, Strategic Planning and Project Development, VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX
AC Transit Transbay Terminal Move
Robert del Rosario, Director of Service Development, AC Transit (Alameda Contra-Costa Transit District), Oakland, CA
Small Parcels - Big Green Ideas
Scott Neal, Principal, Wendel, Minneapolis, MN

10:10 – 11 a.m.
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Budget and Planning

The relationship between the planning and budget process varies among transit agencies. 
At some, an annual plan for service changes drives the annual budget. At others, the
opposite may be true. For this session, you will hear presentations from different transit
agencies on the alternative approaches to this process, and the rationale for them.
Ron Downing, Director of Planning, Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation
District, San Rafael, CA
Remember - You're the Planner
Gordon Robinson, Director of Planning, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority,
Corpus Christi, TX
PRIIA 209: How Increased State Funding Req. are Changing Intercity Passenger Rail
Darrell Smith, Chief, Business Line Planning and Strategy, AMTRAK, Washington, DC

11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.
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In the late 80’s and early 90’s, many transit agencies began to use computers to create schedules, and plan operations. A decade ago the automatic passenger counter (APC) and stored value cards were new innovations that were being experimented with and adopted at some transit agencies. In the last 5 years many transit agencies implemented GPS based tracking and live arrival predictions. Now these are useful tools in regular use. Presenters in this session will talk about how the use of new technology helps them plan and monitor service.
Dan Boyle, President, Dan Boyle & Associates, Inc., San Diego, CA
The Use of New Technologies at Metro Transit
Janet Hopper, Business Systems Analyst, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN
Applying Mobile Phone Data to Assess Market Potential for Transit Routes
Thomas Wittmann, P.E., Principal, Nelson/Nyggard Consulting Associates, Seattle, WA

12:05 – 1:35 p.m.


1:35 - 3:15 p.m.

Transit Values Exercise

This session will utilize active participation by conference attendees in a role-playing scenario involving planning for a hypothetical transit project.  It is a new concept unique to this APTA conference that follows along a line of requests received from attendees at past conferences who sought a more interactive learning activity in place of the usual presentation and question / answer format.  The hypothetical Transit Values Exercise has been carefully crafted by Roland Behee, a past presenter employed by Community Transit near Seattle WA.  Roland used a variation of this same role-playing scenario on a real project that occurred at his agency a few years ago, and now it will be shared - and experienced first-hand  - by Multimodal Operations attendees. 

3:30 – 5:10 p.m.
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Operations Planning

The operations planning flow is very different at each agency-so different that the same steps may even be called different things! This session will explore tools associated with various aspects of the operations planning project flow, examining how the process is initiated, describing the steps in the process, determining who needs to be involved, setting the timeline and handling unanticipated needs or events.


Paul Bignardi, 1st Vice Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Principal Transportation Planner, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, CA

Shifting Transit Corridors in Downtown Austin
Lawrence Deeter, Planner, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX

Measuring Performance of Headway Routes at WMATA
Matthew Crooks, Transit Economist/Analyst, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC

Improving Bus Operations Work Assignments
James Hergert, Manager Service Planning, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, Portland, OR

Wednesday, August 12

7 – 10 a.m.


7 – 8 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

7:30 – 8 a.m.
Picasso 1& 2

Open Session

Jim Moore, Immediate Past Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and
Service Planner, Sound Transit Seattle, WA

8:15 – 9:30 a.m.
Picasso 1& 2

Improving Mobility

The field of transportation is getting crowded.  Public transit service, old-line taxi companies like Yellow Cab, Uber and Lyft, Google buses in SF, Bridj in Boston, car sharing programs, bike sharing programs, and so on.  How can we all share the same public right-of-way (traffic lanes, bus stops, passengers)?  This session will explore experiences of how public transit is co-existing in cities with these old and new alternative transportation modes. 
Michael Abegg, Planning & Operations Manager, Solano County Transit (SolTrans), Vallejo, CA
Create a Model that Estimates Transit Demand due to TOD
Caitlin D'Alton, Transportation Planner, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX
Transit's Ped Environment - Bus Stop and Beyond
Steve Mahowald, Senior Transit Planner, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN
Transit for Tourists - Savannah Partnership Mobility in Downtown
Nick Helmholdt, DOT Administrator / Special Project Manager, Chatham Area Transit Authority, Savannah, GA
9:45 - 11:15 a.m.
Picasso 1& 2

Succession Planning

How do people become transit planners and transit schedulers? Certain aspects of service planning and scheduling are not taught in school. How do they progress to higher positions and into management in a transit agency? Some agencies have combined service planning/scheduling positions; some have positions completely separate. In this session, you will learn about the career paths/ladders for schedulers and planners in various transit agencies as well as training programs used to bring new service planners and schedulers up-to-speed on transit operations planning and scheduling.
Cyndi Harper, 2nd Vice Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Manager of Route Planning, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN
Creating a Competitive Pipeline
Eric Harris, Manager, Operations Planning, San Mateo County Transit District,
San Carlos, CA
Professional Development Plans - Empowering Staff
Michael Eshleman, Planner, San Mateo County Transit District, San Carlos, CA 
Trial by Fire - How Planners and Schedulers Really Learn their Job
Crystal Benjamin, Director of Planning, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, Rochester, NY
Discovering Service Planning and Scheduling Talent
Steve Patrinick, Manager of Service Planning, Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Dallas, TX

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
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Closing (lunch on your own)

Paul Bignardi, 1st Vice Chair, Multimodal Operations Planning Subcommittee, and Principal Transportation Planner, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, CA
1 - 4 p.m.

Technical Tours

TOUR 1:                      “BUS AND RAIL CONTROL”                         
TOUR 2:                      “EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT”       
These tours will offer  ‘behind the scenes’ insight in to Houston TranStar,  a consortium of four government agencies * that coordinate and enhance transportation and emergency management services, responding to freeway incidents and as well as large-scale natural- and man-made emergencies in Southeast Texas.
As the first entity to deploy Bluetooth sensors to detect and publish traffic speeds and patterns on its award-winning website, Houston TranStar leads the nation in technological innovations in transportation management. 
When emergency conditions arise, responders from throughout the region gather in an impressive 120-seat emergency management center facilitating efficient use of resources and the capability to coordinate a quick, effective response.  Most notably, the facility's structure can withstand Category 4 hurricane force winds (155 mph), while bullet-proof windows, a unique water filtration system and three emergency generators maintain the building's integrity during hurricanes and other disasters.
*Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT), Harris County, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) and the City of Houston
TOURS 3 & 4              RAIL OPERATIONS
TOUR 3           “THE ROC”                            
The Rail Operations Center (ROC) is METRO’s principal rail facility, housing the majority of the METRO’s Rail fleet including the S-70 Siemens and the CAF Light Rail Vehicle under the watchful eye of METRO staff – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This tour will offer an inside and up close look at how the ROC serves as the base for vehicle testing, integration, training, and heavy repair and houses the wayside elements that support the maintenance of the track, signals, communications and traction power.
Tour Lead:       Gary Howard | Director, Rail Transportation | Metropolitan Transit Authority
TOUR 4           “LOOKING UNDER THE HOOD”      
The CAF rail vehicles are the newest addition to METRO’s fleet.  This vehicle represents a new design for CAF and is inclusive of a number of features designed to improve vehicle reliability by providing for “remote monitoring” through its COGNOS system.   This tour will review what this system offers and how METRO plans to utilizes this capability to improve fleet reliability at a reduced cost.
Tour Lead:       Scott Grogan | Senior Director, Rail Operations | Metropolitan Transit Authority
TOUR 5                       “METRO’S MIDDAY BUS FACILITY”
The Midday Lot is located in Downtown Houston and serves as a transportation hub for METRO’s massive commuter and local bus network.  With many of the Park & Ride and local routes originating in far, outlying locations of Harris County and with the bus operating facilities spread throughout the 1,300 square mile service area, deadhead trip times can be over one hour each way (in normal traffic).  This tour will offer a look at operating this central-based facility that allows equipment to ‘layover’ between AM and PM service, the ability to position buses for the afternoon service more efficiently, the  reduction of deadhead miles and the resulting savings of millions of dollars per year the METRO’s operating budget.
Tour Lead:       Santiago Osorio | Director, Service Operations | Metropolitan Transit Authority
METRO has repurposed a surplus 29 foot bus to serve as a ‘mobile’ training center that travels to METRO’s bus operating facilities.  The ability for training staff to take the classroom to these facilities reduces staff cost as well as allows more frequent and personal visits with over 1,600 bus operators.   This tour will review what was required to redesign this bus and how METRO partnered with a third party supplier to outfit it to a state of the art mobile training facility.   Staff will also describe the uses and benefits within our larger training program.  
Tour Lead:       Santiago Osorio | Director, Service Operations | Metropolitan Transit Authority
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