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American Public Transportation Association

 Media Advisory



Mantill Williams

 Philadelphia to Host 2013 APTA Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo

 Conference will Feature: U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey and Co-Chair Building America’s Future Ed Rendell

The 2013 Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo will take place June 2-5 in Philadelphia.  Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the event is North America’s largest and most comprehensive conference for the rail industry. 

The 2013 conference encompasses all facets of the rail industry including: safety and security, commuter, high-speed and intercity rail, planning, sustainability and finance, capital projects, operations and technical forums.  Rail professionals from throughout the industry will share best practices, lessons learned, and effective and timely solutions.  Industry leaders that will address participants of the conference include: SEPTA General Manager, Joseph M. Casey; U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari; Federal Railroad Administrator, John C. Szabo; Federal Transit Administrator, Peter M. Rogoff; Chair, the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah A.P. Hersman; and Co-Chair, Building America’s Future, the Honorable Edward G. Rendell. 

This marks the 21st year for the International Rail Rodeo Competition, which highlights the best rail operators and maintenance teams from across North America.  Competitors, selected from local and state competitions, will compete to be crowned champion.


What: International Rail Rodeo

What: 2013 Rail Conference


Where: SEPTA - Fern Rock Maintenance Facility

              5801 North 11th Street

              Philadelphia, PA 19141              

Where: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

              1201 Market Street

              Philadelphia, PA 19107



When:    June 1, 2013

    • Operator competition begins at 7 a.m.
    • Maintenance competition begins at 8 a.m.


When:     June 2-5, 2013


Press:  Media registration for the 2013 APTA Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo is FREE.  
To register on site, you will have to go to the APTA registration desk at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
Events: Some conference events are highlighted below. For a complete listing of sessions, visit:

Sunday, June 2, 2013  

4 – 5:15 p.m.   
HOST FORUM: The Future of Fare Technologies
This session focuses on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) implementation of a transformational fare collection system to better serve riders who together take more than 300 million trips per year. This new program will replace a legacy system of tokens, tickets, and paper transfers with a streamlined system that applies best practices from the broader consumer payments arena to a transit fare payment structure – the first of its kind for the industry.  The panel will discuss questions such as: How will the technology work? What are the benefits to SEPTA customers?  What are the benefits to SEPTA?

Monday, June 3, 2013

8:30 - 10:15 a.m.          
Opening General Session: It’s All About the People
As APTA’s 2013 Rail Conference begins, come hear an overview of events and a review of our industry’s priorities. We’ll hear the latest information from our federal partners and applaud the winners of the 21st Annual International Rail Rodeo. Let the host agency, SEPTA, roll out the red carpet for you and see why “It’s all about the people.” In creating jobs, boosting our economy, and providing for energy     independence, public transportation offers innovative solutions to the challenges facing the U.S. and other countries. Join us for this energizing kick off to our conference.

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.  
Getting Your Rail Safety Program on the MAP! 
The key areas of the MAP-21 authorization – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century – that pertain to safety will be discussed by a panel of experts. Roles and responsibilities of the Federal Transit Administration, state safety oversight agencies, and rail transit agencies have changed significantly. This session will look at the new regulatory structure Congress put into place and the planning, assessment, and restructuring that will be required of the rail transit operations to comply with the new criteria such as developing performance measures.
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.  
Justifying Investments in Security Technology
Most technology requires significant investment and we have certainly witnessed a steady growth of security technology being applied in our rail services and infrastructure. As part of the justification for these capital expenditures, rail agencies have had to demonstrate the benefits that are derived from these investments. Join us in this experience and information sharing session to learn more about the return on investments in security technology.
12 – 3 p.m.          
Rail Products & Service Showcase 
Many business members’ rail products and services will be showcased at the 2013 Rail Products & Services Showcase. Registrants can view the products and obtain information relating to the rail products and services on display. Expert personnel are on hand to answer your questions as you inspect what’s new and innovative in the world of rail equipment and services.

3:30 – 5 p.m.          
Street Smarts: Managing Rail Operations in Traffic
 Streetcars and light rail transit have taken to the streets in many cities, introducing trackways and stations into urban streetscapes and often co-mingling traffic. How do transit operators and municipal traffic engineers work together to safely and successfully integrate street railways into an automobile-oriented environment and  manage joint operational issues on an on-going basis? Practitioners from some of the largest streetcar and light rail cities in North America offer lessons-learned and best practices on how cities and transit operators work together.

3:30 – 5 p.m.          
What Are We Learning from Emergency Preparedness Drills?
Virtually all transit agencies are fully engaged in emergency preparedness drills of various sizes and complexity. With all of this activity, what themes and lessons learned are evolving that will help us in strengthening our emergency management plans? What are the best practices that were learned from regional drills?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.          
Energy, Environmental, & Rail
Join this discussion on the efficient utilization of energy for railcar propulsion in  combination with the use of onboard and wayside energy storage applications; potential benefits of joint use of energy storage by transit agencies and electric utilities; off-wire streetcar operation experience, integration plans for utilizing renewable energy for battery charging, and technologies to maximize round-trip charging efficiency and minimize long-term charge loss.

8:30 – 10 a.m.         
Why You Need to Know about Rail Standards
When the National Transportation Safety Board investigated a rail incident, it discovered that the agency had used our industry standards – a more positive finding. When one agency was sued, it proved in court that it had followed industry standards and recommended practices – shoring up its legal position. Attend this session to learn more about using APTA’s Standards Program in procurement, design, and operations.

10:30 – 12 p.m.   
Cutting Edge Technology & Tools
The promise of new technology – lower costs, efficient operations, greater control – applies to all aspects of providing rail services. In this session, panelists will examine new-to-the-world or new-to-public-transportation technologies to discuss their applications, potential benefits, and issues encountered in working with them.

10:30 – 12 p.m.   
Planning for the Optimal High-Speed Rail City Pairs in the U.S.
Given the significant investment that it takes to establish a high-speed rail corridor in the U.S., it is critical to the success of the program that the correct city pairs are selected. What lessons can be learned from our international colleagues in determining which city pairs are best when considering population densities, optimal distances between city pairs, connectivity, economic benefits, and relieving traffic congestion?

12:15 – 2:15 p.m.  
GENERAL LUNCHEON: Rail Safety Excellence Awards
 A first for APTA’s Rail Conference, this recognition of exemplary achievement in safety management and building a safety-oriented culture will offer models for rail agencies to continue developing their programs. A core industry value, safety drives programs for riders, employees, and the public. Come hear the stories showcased today of commuter rail, heavy rail, and light rail practices, solutions, and their impact.     

2:30 – 4 p.m.   
Integrating World-Class High-Speed Rail Equipment Design into the U.S. Market   
As Amtrak and the State of California look to procure high speed train sets capable of operating up to 220 mph the U.S. has the opportunity to benefit from world class technology and integrate it into the U.S. market. The session will examine what it will take to integrate such designs and look at the unique features and challenges that U.S. high-speed rail presents to the equipment designer.

2:30 – 4:30 p.m.  
Funding, Financing & Revenue
Innovative approaches to developing new revenue streams, funding opportunities, and financing programs are top priorities for rail CEOs. Attend this session to hear from rail executives about their programs and the regulatory and political constraints that may make implementing innovative approaches more difficult.

2:30 – 4:30 p.m.  
SEPTA Technical Tours
SEPTA is offering these three tours on Tuesday afternoon, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Sign up on site at the host information desk in the Foyer, Level 4 in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for the tour(s)/day(s) of your choice.

    Tour 1: Multi-Modal Transportation and Maintenance Operations at SEPTA's 69th Street Transportation Center
    Tour 2: Hyundai Rotem’s Regional Rail Car Manufacturing Facilities
    Tour 3: SEPTA’s Control Center Operations

3 – 4:30 p.m.    
Converting to Driverless Technology
Driverless or Unattended Train Operations (UTOs) for fixed guideway systems have been installed around the world in over 25 cities since the 1980s. UTOs are now the norm for new grade-separated systems, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. An emerging trend is converting systems that currently operate using on-board operators to driverless operations.

3 – 4:30 p.m.   
Transit Oriented Development or Development Oriented Transit?
This session will showcase TOD efforts for commuter rail stations that are not      necessarily in urbanized areas as well as TODs in established neighborhoods and      urban environments. The design challenges in mature, urbanized areas, given      engineering and operational criteria, will be contrasted with the experiences for      commuter rail stations in suburbs and exurbs.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.   
Preventing Platform, Pedestrian & Trespasser Fatalities
Successful application of safety countermeasures in our rail systems remains contingent upon our ability to detect and deter dangerous behavior. From suicides to accidents and mishaps, let’s take a fresh look. For example, hoodies, earbuds, and electronic devices create an environment that isolates the world around the user. What are the best programs rail agencies have now?

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  
State of Good Repair for Infrastructure and All System
To provide safe, reliable rail services, we agree that systems must be in a state of good repair.  Funding, planning, and even definitions of what that means will be the themes for this discussion. Topics will include investment, capitalization, finance, maintenance, asset management practices, research, technology, and more.

9 – 10:30 a.m. 
The Prices Go UP and the Prices go Down
As the cost of energy has consumed more and more of the budget and with growing volatility in energy markets, finding a way to bring some degree of budget certainty is an important consideration for transit managers. This session will inform you about the different fuel purchasing strategies available, how you can implement an effective fuel risk management program, and the lessons that transit agencies have learned in the process.

10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
CLOSING GENERAL SESSION: Hurricane Sandy - Managing the Disaster - Managing    Resilience
Hurricane Sandy brought one of the most devastating natural disasters to ever hit the northeast U.S. This special forum will enable us to hear first hand from the leadership of those transit systems that were most impacted by the storm and its aftermath. Please join us to understand the extent of the impact; how they were able to recover, and the challenges they faced to access needed resources.

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.






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