Media Advisory



Virginia Miller

Public transportation industry experts from across the country will meet in Charlotte, NC May 15-18, 2016, for the Bus & Paratransit Conference which will be held at the Westin Hotel and Charlotte Convention Center.  Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and hosted by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), this conference will focus on operations and maintenance, accessibility and paratransit, diversity and inclusiveness, integrated mobility and transformative technology, first and last-mile transportation, safety and security, planning and sustainability, funding and finance, capital programs, procurement, and workforce development. A bus display and a bus and paratransit products and services showcase are also scheduled and are open to the media. (See below)

The 2016 International Bus Roadeo, which will be held on Sunday, May 15, at The Park Expo and Conference Centerfrom 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., highlights the best bus operators and bus maintenance teams in North America.  Local bus roadeo competitions are held in North America to select the competitors in this prestigious competition.  Additionally, the finals for the Customer Service Challenge will be held at the Westin Hotel on Monday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m. The winners for both the International Bus Roadeo and the Customer Service Challenge will be announced at an awards dinner on Tuesday, May 17, at the Westin Hotel from 7-9:30 p.m.  
​​What: International Bus Roadeo ​What: 2016 Bus & Paratransit Conference
​Where: The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Blair Creek Road
Where: Omni Fort Worth Hotel
1300 Houston Street
​When: May 15, 2016 When: May 15 – 18, 2016
​Time: 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


*** Registration for the media is FREE! To pre-register, send an email to APTA Director-Media, Virginia Miller, at and she will send you the media registration form.  To register onsite, bring your media credentials. ***

Events:  Some conference events are highlighted below and will be at the Charlotte Convention Center, unless otherwise noted.  For a complete listing of sessions, visit:

Sunday, May 15

4:30 – 6 p.m.
Ballroom Level

Ballroom AB

OPENING GENERAL SESSION: Where Public Transportation Goes, Community Grows


-Valarie J. McCall, Chair, APTA; Member, Board of Trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland, OH


Richard A. White, Acting President & CEO, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC

Host Welcomes

-John M. Lewis, Jr., Executive Director, Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte, NC

-Jennifer W. Roberts, Mayor, City of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC

2016 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards Ceremony

-Valarie J. McCall, Chair, APTA; Member, Board of Trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland, OH



Monday, May 16

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

Ballroom Level


The Power of Diversity: What it Means to Be an Inclusive Industry (Roundtable)
North Carolina has been the epicenter of a national controversy after state lawmakers passed HB2, a law that bars municipalities from establishing non-discrimination ordinances that cover entire communities, including the LGBT community.  Join APTA’s Diversity Council, transit agency and business members, for a frank conversation about the effects of such laws, what the transit industry can and is doing to ensure full non-discrimination and the challenges and opportunities for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the industry.



11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Charlotte Convention Center

S. Brevard St. & E. MLK Blvd.


Bus Display (Media: Good Visual Opportunity)

Different types of transit buses will be on display outside on S Brevard Street and E Martin Luther King Boulevard, adjacent to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and across the street from the Convention Center.

2:30 – 4 p.m.

Ballroom Level

Ballroom AB

Customer Service Challenge

Join us as the industry’s best bus operators compete in a test of customer service sills at this entertaining event. Come see who walks away with the title of transit’s ‘top ambassador.’


4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Ballroom Level
Ballroom AB


The USDOT’s senior leadership team will talk about how the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are preparing to meet the challenges of the next 30 years, dealing with aging infrastructure and growing demand, investing in workforce development and new technologies, and the FTA’s safety role. 


-Doran J. Barnes, Vice Chair, APTA; Chair, Diversity Council; Executive Director, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA



-Carolyn Flowers, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Washington, DC


Tuesday, May 5

8 – 9:15 a.m.

Ballroom Level
Ballroom AB

GENERAL SESSION: Breakthroughs & Building Blocks: A Roundtable Discussion on Mobility & Partnering

The ability to conveniently request, track, and pay for trips via mobile devices is changing the way people get around.  New technology-driven mobility services are providing travel options for the public that engender new partnerships for transit agencies. The discussion will focus on cutting-edge perspectives and approaches on service delivery.


9:30 – 11 a.m.

Ballroom Level

Ballroom AB

APTA-COMTO Assembly: Public Transportation: A Symbol of Civil Rights, It All Started on a Bus

The very mention of the name Rosa Parks summons an image of this great American hero riding on a bus. Public transportation has indeed been the backdrop for American Civil Rights. This session provides a historical perspective on how transportation helped pave a path of inclusion and the role it plays today in keeping the path open for all.


9:30 – 11 a.m.

Ballroom Level

213 D

Improving Mobility through Increased Coordination

New research shows that coordination among multiple public and private transportation providers results in many benefits for customers. However, partnerships among transit providers is just one way to improve mobility. With the passage of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, transit agencies have a greater opportunity to play a role in the coordination of transportation services and innovative technology.  Join this session to learn about new strategies to improve mobility and coordination.


9:30 – 11 a.m.

Ballroom Level

217 BC

Small Operations’ Best Practices and Ridership Models

Join APTA’s small transit operators for a deep-dive discussion on ridership trends.  The session also features a presentation on how the Mass Transportation Authority assisted the Flint, Michigan community with the distribution of water filters and water supplies for residents during the recent water emergency.


10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Exhibit Level

Hall C1

Bus Products & Services Showcase

The latest in bus products and services will be showcased in the Charlotte Convention Center.  Expert personnel are on hand to answer your questions as you inspect what’s new and innovative in the world of bus and paratransit equipment and services.



11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Ballroom Level

213 A

Operator Assaults

Safety is a top priority at every transit agency and we’ll exchange methods for protecting operations personnel that include physical barrier systems, closed-circuit television (CCTV), law enforcement, and other techniques. Hear from transit agencies, law enforcement staff, and other safety and operational professionals.



1:30 – 3 p.m.

Ballroom Level

217 BC

Essential Ingredients in Establishing a Sustainable Safety-First Culture

A central feature of the proposed National Safety Plan and the Agency Safety Plan is the development of a positive safety culture. The Federal Transit Administration’s effort to prescribe Safety Management Systems (SMS) and the framework for the future hinges on working and communicating collaboratively in all areas, and safety is at the top of that list.  This session will address what you should be doing to enhance your efforts in making a more positive and visible safety- first culture and how to sustain that level of achievement.



1:30 – 3 p.m.

Third Floor

Sundance 1

Walk and Roll Wellness Event

This special event celebrates good health, diversity and inclusion and supports accessible transportation for people with disabilities. After remarks, everyone is invited to partcipate in and celebrate the Walk and Roll Wellness Event – walking or using one’s wheelchair through Charlotte near the hotel. Hosted by APTA, Easter Seals and the Charlotte Area Transit System, participants will unite in support of accessible transportation that benefits people with disabilities in our communities.



3:30 – 5 p.m.

Ballroom Level

213 A

Creating Accessible, Sustainable & Transit-Oriented Communities

Across the country, the demand to live in transit-oriented communities with access to a variety of transit options is growing exponentially. To support this shift in the demand, transit agencies are strengthening partnerships with key stakeholders in order to promote good design around transit and implement policies to improve access and connections to stops, expand shared-ride options through technology and tailor transit services to customers of all abilities. 



Wednesday, May 6

8 – 9:30 a.m.

Second Floor

Fort Worth 1-2

Implementing Title VI/Environmental Justice Requirements

Federal regulations, through requirements in Title VI and environmental justice implementation, aim to prohibit discrimination and adverse human health and environmental impacts on the basis of race, color, national origin, and income. Understanding the best ways to comply with these regulations, however, can pose challenges and opportunities to transit agencies that receive federal funding. Hear from these speakers as they discuss these challenges and successes in implementing circulars from the Federal Transit Administration on both Title VI and Environmental Justice, engaging diverse communities in the public involvement process, and conducting fare and equity analyses.




11:30 – 12:30 p.m.

Ballroom Level

Ballroom AB

CLOSING GENERAL SESSION: Transcendent Trends Reshaping the Future of Transportation

Drawing on his experience providing marketing insights and advice to transit agencies, state DOTs, and metropolitan planning organizations, John W. Martin will map the future landscape of the public transportation industry. Based on data from more than 14,000 marketing research studies, Martin will offer practical, actionable steps to implement today, in order to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.


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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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